Proud of the Cloud

I’ve pretty much always worked in an office so a constant throughout my working career has been access to a computer with browser access to the internet.

Plenty of browsers = plenty of games!
Plenty of browsers = plenty of games!

Now, the time was when browsers were just for reading stuff (look, you’re doing it right now) and watching porn but the times have changed my friends.  Browser games are all the rage and, through sites like Facebook, they’re continually becoming more popular.  Well that’s all good if you’re satisfied by Flash or Shockwave games but what if you want a real fix?  What if you need a blast on an FPS to tide you over on your lunch break?

Technology, as always, has provided an answer.  Through sites like and you can now play some fast paced, 3D shooters through a browser for free.  Not only are they as good as any FPS that you’d need to spend time installing and patching they are – for the most part – problem free and always up to date.  So, aside from a few browser plugins, you could be good to go within a matter of minutes.

Only got 60 minutes for lunch, this install takes 2, plenty of time for carnage!
Only got 60 minutes for lunch? This install takes 2, plenty of time for carnage!

I’ve spent many hours playing through Quake Live and Battlefield Heroes and I’d be lying if I told you there was any real difference in the game’s performance between playing an installed version and playing a browser version.  So the question is; what is next?

I work for a company that promotes cloud based computing solutions so I’ve had an insider’s peek at what’s achievable and what lies ahead.  It may well be that in the future all you will need to be a ‘PC Gamer’ will be a generic computer with a browser.  The time for turbo charged gaming rigs may well be drawing to a close.  For me, this is probably a good thing.  For my bank balance, this is definitely a good thing!






6 responses to “Proud of the Cloud”

  1. Del Torro El Sorrow avatar
    Del Torro El Sorrow

    The day Cloud gaming takes over will be a sad day indeed. The end of second hand purchase, the end of chain gaming stores.

    Quake Live isn’t really a good example of Cloud Gaming as the game itself is still running from your own PC. It still uses your GPU, Processor and your RAM. The beauty of Quake Live is that its system reqs are pitifully low so most any computer can run it solely in software mode. Battlefield Heroes is more power hungry in that it wouldn’t run on your average office computer.

    Summing up my input: These things still use your computer, so if Crysis became browser based you’d still need a kick ass rig to run it.

  2. John avatar

    So is this Cloud Computing? Err define that please! SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and acronyms that mean more (when you know them) than the consumer term ‘Cloud’. The reality is that we’ve been using ‘Cloud’ services for years but no-one gave them a good generic name.
    In terms of gaming I remember a bunch of hype a few months ago about how consoles were dead duck and Internet-based gaming with a simple set-top box was the future. This Software as a Service model only works is the service is a genuine alternative to on-site installations, look at WoW, Internet based, fits the definition of SaaS but needs a bunch of local horsepower to operate not a simple, low-cost consumer unit.
    WoW is SaaS. Live (Arcade, MarketPlace etc) is PaaS – Platform as a Service – in that it delivers a set of frameworks in which folks can publish and provide service items of their own without needing to worry about the ‘how’ this happens.
    The final of the accepted definitions rolled into ‘Cloud’, Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS isn’t something that, as a consumer of games, we should ever really care about as it basically is buying CPU, RAM, Storage, network and all of the other ‘computing’ elements on demand.

    Hmm… I wonder if anyone can tell what MY day job is! 😉

    Digital delivery IS interesting however and, as has happened with Music, I’m sure that the consumption of games through this channel will only increase.

  3. Walter avatar

    It was more an example of how we are progressing towards a slimline gaming hardware experience, at the moment there are some downloads you require to run games like QL and BFH, but thats not to say in the future we won’t just need a low resource like Googles Chrome OS and a netbook.

    The cloud aspect in relation to QL and BFH is where the settings and preferences are saved, they will be the same for every machine you play on using your account, so in this instance, Cloud based storage which you could argue is a SAAS platform offering (or cloud application) as it offers a multi-tennant solution to game preferences, etc.

    There are a whole load of common definitions set by sticking the world ‘cloud’ infront of things, here are a few;

    Cloud Application — The “top” layer of the Cloud Pyramid where “applications” are run and interacted with via a web-browser. Cloud Applications are tightly controlled, leaving little room for modification. Examples include: Gmail or

    Cloud Center — A datacenter in the “cloud” utilizing standards-based datacenter-like infrastructure.

    Cloud Computing — On-demand self-service Internet infrastructure where you pay-as-you-go and use only what you need, all managed by a browser, application or API. Cloud computing is broken up into multiple segments including: Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud Platforms and Cloud Applications. (see “Cloud Pyramid”)

    Cloud Hosting — A type of internet hosting where the client leases virtualized, dynamically scalable infrastructure on an as-needed basis. Users frequently have the choice of operating system and other infrastructure components. Typically cloud hosting is self-service, billed hourly or monthly, and controlled via a web interface or API.

    Cloud Infrastructure — The “bottom” layer of the Cloud Pyramid is the delivery of computer infrastructure through paravirtualization. This includes servers, networks and other hardware appliances delivered as either Infrastructure Web Services or “cloudcenters”. Full control of the infrastructure is provided at this level. Examples include GoGrid or Amazon Web Services.

    Cloud Platform — The “middle” layer of the Cloud Pyramid which provides a computing platform or framework (e.g., .NET, Ruby on Rails, or Python) as a service or stack. Control is limited to that of the platform or framework, but not at a lower level (server infrastructure). Examples include: Google AppEngine or Microsoft Azure.

    Cloud Providers — Providers whose product/platform is based on virtualization of computing resources and a utiliy-based payment model.

    The Cloud PyramidCloud Pyramid — A visual representation of Cloud Computing layers where differing segments are broken out by functionality. Simplified version includes: Infrastructure, Platform and Application layers.

    Cloud Servers — Virtualized servers running Windows or Linux operating systems that are instantiated via a web interface or API. Cloud Servers behave in the same manner as physical ones and can be controlled at an administrator or root level, depending on the server type and Cloud Hosting provider

    Most of these have appeared through various industry RFC documents, I have to admit, these are far from a fun read.

  4. Celeste avatar

    The topic of your blog is feature-worthy, Walter. It’s an interesting concept, especially as, presently, games requiring high spec PCs kind of shoot themselves in the foot somewhat.
    During my lunch hour, I have been tempted many a time to participate in the cooperative slaughtering of my fellow workmates within the pleasantly constitution-free confines of Call of Duty. I am yet to do so, however.

  5. John avatar

    Walter, I can see that you and I are – at some point – going to have a few very geeky beers together! 🙂
    Celeste is right though, there’s definately some meat here and I’m happy to work with you on the research if you want to pursue it.

  6. Walter avatar

    I can let you into a secret … I’ve seen a clientless WOW being run 😉

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