Thursday, 5 May 2011

Gaming services vs piracy

Gaming as a service (eg OnLive, aka "cloud gaming", aka "gaming on demand") is probably the only way big budget games will be produced in the next generation of consoles and desktops. You subscribe to a service for a flat fee and get access to their whole library of games, but you play over the network - it's like a highly interactive video stream. It's the only way you can truly prevent piracy in the sense of copied games, and it works because they're interactive. Capturing the video and sound that comes down the wire only gets you a demo video, not a game you can give to your friends.

While I think it's good that there's a business model out there for games in a post-copying era, it will also shape the direction our technology takes from then on, and will mean that you can never play games without a network connection again. You can't even deal with a slow connection, because it has to be big enough to support twitch-fast video and audio. So I'm a little conflicted about this, and I cringe to think of where it might end up, but I don't think I can stop it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I just hope there won't be too many competing services with exclusive games.
PPS - But I don't want one provider in a monopoly, either.

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