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Gaming as a service -- GaaS

‘Tis the yuletide season, so let’s have a little fun today. Let’s talk about games on the cloud. Not surprisingly, cloud gaming platforms are here. It’s a GaaS. It’s Gaming as a Service.

You’ve built all kinds of apps for cloud and mobile — retail, medical, financial, navigational, IoT and more. Most have sign-ons with security and authentication. Almost all integrate data from numerous disparate sources and combine to create something entirely new. You’ve designed user interfaces. You’ve streamed music and video. You’ve built user experiences.

But, have you built a game for the cloud? Way back in 2010, it was a concept big enough to be covered by CNN. Even Forbes magazine said cloud gaming would be a “game changer,” and the Wall Street Journal called gaming the killer app of cloud computing. Would you believe that IBM is “creating a business infrastructure for games? Serious stuff, this game playing is.

Graphics card maker NVIDIA has a section of its website devoted to GaaS. Called NVIDIA GRID it promises the ability to stream video games like any other streaming media. It “renders 3D games in cloud servers, encodes each frame instantly and streams the result to any device with a wired or wireless broadband connection.” The company already lists nine middleware suppliers and four IaaS providers that are playing along. An SDK is available, if you’re ready to get into building cloud games.

GamingAnywhere describes itself as an open-source clouding gaming platform designed to be extensible, portable, and reconfigurable. In this environment, games run on cloud servers while players interact via networked thin clients. The biggest challenge may not even be technical: The site notes that gamers are hard to please. They demand high responsiveness and high video quality, “but do not want to pay too much.” Truer words may never have been spoken.

The giant on the block, Amazon Web Service is a player, too. To quote from the AWS gaming website, “Amazon offers a comprehensive suite of services and products for game developers in any games industry vertical, for every major platform: Mobile, Social/Online and PC/Console.”

Sure, you’re building great cloud apps for the bank or insurance company you work for. But, inside of many of us lurks a cape-wearing superhero who wants to save the world. If that’s you, share your experiences about building games for the cloud.  We’d like to hear from you.

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You might want to check out LiquidSky (liquidsky.tv) on the cloud gaming front. They have great performance and say they will come out of beta in January.
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