Iwata doubts cloud gaming future

Iwata doubts cloud gaming future
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

February 5th 2013 at 11:15AM

'I find it strange that many people claim cloud gaming is the future,' says Nintendo president

Latency issues affecting frame rate and movement fluidity will hold back cloud gaming from making a big impact on the game industry, Satoru Iwata has said.

Speaking in a financial briefing Q&A, the Nintendo president said he found it strange that a lot of people see cloud gaming as the future as there are a number of problems it can not overcome.

He explained that given the current level of internet technology, there would always be some latency during the process of a server receiving data, producing images instantly and then sending them back, and felt some of these issues were not being communicated to the public.

Iwata said that while some games could work through the cloud, such as titles where delays have no effect, he felt that highly interactive games and action titles could not be effectively played through a cloud gaming service.

“The term "cloud gaming" is one of the words we have lately heard so often, but I would like people to understand that there are certain things that cloud gaming cannot achieve,” he said.

“A cloud is an attempt to process information online on a server, as opposed to doing so on individual machines in the hands of the users. What this implies is, since the time to transmit data over an Internet connection is never negligible, there is always some latency before you receive the result of your input.

“Of course, there are types of games on which delays have no effect. In such instances, it may perhaps make sense to have an input means as well as the ability to display images at hand and let all the information be processed on a server. On the other hand, for some highly interactive games, action games in particular, the time required to reflect the push of a button on the screen is critical and the frame rate (the number of times a screen can be updated in a given second) determines the fluidity of the movements.

“This means that there are some types of games that can be put on the Internet and others that cannot. By the laws of physics, it always takes some time to transmit data, and given the current level of Internet technology, there is bound to be some latency during the processes of a server receiving data, producing images instantly and sending them back.

"There are many things that cloud gaming cannot do by design, but this fact has not been communicated well to the public, and I find it strange that many people claim that cloud gaming is the future.”

Although in the past companies such as OnLive have struggled to provide a cloud gaming service on their own, Sony last year bought cloud specialist Gaikai for $380 million.

The console giant has yet to reveal exactly how it will use the service, but it is likely to be integrated into the PS4, which is expected to be announced on February 20th.