There’s a been a fair bit of a herd stampede across the blog savannah of late with regards to the new Gaikai game streaming service, especially the demo presented by David Perry which shows, among other games, World of Warcraft and EVE being streamed into a browser and looking rather splendid. In fact the technology looks stunningly impressive, and if the quoted average of 1Mb/s bandwidth usage holds true, then it also begins to look entirely feasible too.
My one thought – having only seen the demo so far – is that one of the advantages touted about the system is that there’s no need to install and maintain a client, it’s all there on the cloud server and ready to play. That’s an excellent feature when it comes to your standard PC game; however, for MMOs this isn’t necessarily a good thing, since very few people actually play an MMO without making modifications to the client in the form of AddOns and permitted second-party software. It will be interesting to see if Gaikai have considered this, or whether enough people will want to play MMOs on Netbooks and in their web browser to put up with a vanilla install of the game. One would think that Gaikai have considered a way to store ‘save game’ information and the like, but AddOns are another story entirely – my AddOns directory is huge, for example, not of inconsiderable size – and so I’ll certainly be reading around the topic some more to see if they’ve come up with a solution to this issue.
However, considering that (if the promotional hype is to believed) they’ve solved the more challenging issues surrounding the concept of streaming video games, I imagine that allowing players to customise their virtual MMO install is probably not going to be a massive problem.