Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Gaikai Introduced a Non-Linear Progressive Download Technology Named Gaikai Cloud Delivery
The full name of Gaikai's introduced non-linear progressive download technology is Non-Linear Progressive Crowd-Sourced Proximity-Accelerated File Delivery and Gaikai gave the feature the name Gaikai Cloud Delivery. This feature allows gamers to start playing downloaded games in a fraction of the time that it takes for services like Steam or Origin.
Gaikai will offer their non-linear progressive download technology to those digital delivery services that want to complement Gaikai's cloud gaming video streaming service with local downloads and want to offer the gamers the choice to start gaming in mere minutes, that way removing the friction of long waiting times for gamers. This tech is advantageous for customers in regions where internet speed is too slow for the high connectivity demands of video streaming games. Gaikai is business-facing, partnering with game publishers that can license the company's technology to deliver games and playable demos via web browsers. Publishers pay per install, per registration or per gigabyte delivered.
"The goal is to try to not let you leave your machine while a game demo or trial is downloading," said Gaikai CEO David Perry. "What really happens today is a lot of gamers start a download, then go to bed. That's the problem, that's where you see the drop-off. Because when they come back to their computer, they come back to do something else."
Gamasutra was able to test the new feature on behalf of Gaikai. They downloaded the Dragon Age II demo which is 2GB in size and would normally take 40 minutes to start playing on their internet connection. With the help of Gaikai's non-linear progressive download technology they were able to play the demo in 3 or 4 minutes.
The download happens fully in the web browser, with no downloader to install. During the download a window shows a timer and a progress bar, as well as a video box that can show trailers or developer interviews.
That the Gaikai Cloud Delivery downloader tech is non-linear is an important distinction, as Gaikai isn't the first company to try to speed up entry into a game by delivering it in pieces. InstantAction -- a now-defunct company that Gaikai teamed up with back in 2010 -- was one firm that developed progressive download technology, which delivered a game in predetermined chunks. The problem with that is that games today are often non-linear, so downloading level 1, then level 2, 3, etc. just won't accommodate many modern video game experiences. Not only that, but that method is more of a burden on game developers and publishers.
Perry explained that the loading statistics from games are gathered from Gaikai's customers. That data is used to determine what parts of a game need to be pre-loaded on a hard drive for maximum time efficiency. "It uses sort of a self-learning algorithm that basically finds the optimal path of data for you, based on your play style," Perry said. "You're already playing, and there's only a fraction of the game that's downloaded. It's just what you need for you to play, based on what you're doing," he said.
"Basically, what it's doing is that we start off with the concept that nobody plays games in a linear fashion anymore," Perry continued. "We set a whole team of people on research to try to work out how to do it crowdsourced, so we'd be automatically learning from the players all the time."
Gaikai's looking to take its business everywhere, so to ignore video game consoles would be remiss. Perry has said before that console makers "would be insane" not to consider streaming tech for the next generation of hardware. Asked if Gaikai's new download tech could make it to future consoles, he said, "Yes, you'd use the same code, and you just basically reassemble it for a console. That's exactly what I'd like to do for a console -- offer all three methods of delivery": streaming, non-linear downloads and full-on traditional downloads.
"My expectation is that games are just going to get bigger -- you even see that on Flash right now," said Perry. "When you see games coming out that are 28GB like Star Wars: The Old Republic, and currently the only option is to download the whole thing, it's not very practical, all of a sudden."
Gaikai's CEO David Perry said he hopes that Gaikai's non-linear progressive download technology will go live sometime this year. In theory, a company like EA (already a Gaikai streaming partner) that already has a download platform -- Origin -- could embed Gaikai's downloader code into its App in a licensing deal, according to Perry.
Posted by John Anderson at 04:00