Big Fish goes to the cloud

Big Fish goes to the cloud
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

July 4th 2012 at 8:15AM

New casual game-focused service to work on PC, iOS and Android

Cloud gaming services have targeted the core market with triple-A titles streaming to PCs and tablets, but Big Fish has other plans, and is currently developing a multiplatform service for casual games.

The news of the unnamed tech comes on the heels of Sony's aquisition of Gaikai, one of the two major competitors in cloud gaming alongside OnLive.

"There are others looking at core streaming,” Big Fish Games VP Will O’Brien told Venturebeat.

“The technology behind that needs to be super-low latency and high bandwidth. They’re trying to solve a different problem than we are. We’re really excited about what we have here. We know it’s something you can play today.”

Big Fish's cloud will work on PC, iOS, and Android devices, but the list of supported platforms has not yet been finalized.

Using a tablet connected to a 4G hotspot, O'Brien showed two different games: a tile-matching puzzle game and a hidden-object title.

"What’s happening is that the game’s initiating a session with the server and streaming,” O’Brien said.

“So the device is locally decoding the video. When I tap, it’s sending a click signal to the [servers]…it’s taking this game that was originally built for the PC and now making it work on a tablet without changing the source code.”

The software automatically adjusts video quality according to signal strength, similar to video streaming service Netflix.

Games played on one device can be played on another where the user left off.

The tech has been under development for 18 months, but O'Brien said that it wasn't until recently that faster connections made it truely feasible.

"We can meet the mainstream customer’s profile today," he explained. "The average Internet speed in the U.S. is about 3.2Mbps, and we’re targeting a 1 to 2Mbps. So we can meet that. This is bleeding edge, but also viable.”

Only about a hundred of Big Fish's 2,500 game catalogue will be available at launch, but new games will be added every week.

The company is still considering pricing and business models, O'Brien said the usual "all you can eat" subscribtion was likely, along with a free to play model with in-game purchases and ad support.