Monday, 13 August 2012

John Carmack Mentioned OnLive in his QuakeCon 2012 Keynote - Cloud Gaming will be an Inevitable Part of the Future of Gaming

I hate listening to people that deliver information to you in a snail's pace. The more I like id Software legend John Carmack who is capable of saturating the information gathering capability of most men, and no exception was his QuakeCon 2012 keynote speech that lasted over three and a half hours. Fidel Castro has certainly got some competition. Not only was John's speech long, it was also very interesting to listen to as he touched on many subjects related to the evolution and revolution of gaming technology, and had many very interesting thoughts and ideas to convey. Most of his speech revolved around the Oculus Rift and virtual reality, as he is strongly backing and very excited about the Oculus Rift head-mounted display. He also had a lot to say about his research of virtual reality and head-mounted displays. It was a really interesting speech with many sensible predictions about the future of gaming technology and virtual reality, and you should really watch the whole keynote.

As part of his keynote speech John also mentioned OnLive as a key player in cloud gaming. He is of the opinion that it is inevitable that cloud gaming will be a strong part of the future of gaming. He said that everytime he meets Valve's head honcho Gabe Newell, he mentions to him that he should really look into cloud gaming as Valve has the Steam ecosystem and customer base. He didn't want to predict a time frame when cloud gaming will really take off, as it's dependent on many factors and the quality of it is now barely enough for a bunch of people. Games would have to be designed from the ground up for cloud gaming services to optimize the latency and leverage the strengths of cloud gaming. He had some ideas like doing some things in one game engine pass for what consoles require multiple passes and therefore lower the latency of games.

Of course John didn't forget to mention the current problems that mar cloud gaming like the inadequate broadband internet infrastructure which causes latency and picture quality problems. But he said that these things will be worked out as the broadband infrastructure improves. He compared the latency of cloud gaming to the latency of TVs and head-mounted displays, and in many cases cloud gaming services to which users connect over long distances through the internet have better latency than TVs and head-mounted displays that are connected to the users' computer or console over a short cable, which is telling about how bad some TVs and head-mounted displays are.

John had many good things to say about cloud gaming. The one thing he was very excited in his speech is how being connected to cloud data centers could remove loading times from games as these data centers can use a lot of RAM and fast SSDs. Game worlds and levels could also be preloaded on other servers and the gamers wouldn't notice any loading times because all they are getting is the video of their gameplay.

In a Q&A session towards the end of his speech John said that problems regarding bandwidth caps and cloud gaming should go away in the mid-term, though there might be some painful problems in the short-term. He also said that he would be very interested to bring id Software's games like Doom, Quake and Rage to cloud gaming services like OnLive and they might actually do something about it.

Below is the video of John Carmack's keynote speech at QuakeCon 2012. I've moved the timer to the part about OnLive and cloud gaming, but as I already wrote it's worth seeing the whole speech.

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