A quick glance through all 2016 cloud gaming related news and articles is enough to realize how fundamentally divided game pundits are towards the streaming delivery model.
On one side are the bulls. They espouse the sheer beauty of the concept: the world tends to digitalization, globalization, simplicity, rapidity, cross-screen and multi-device gaming, services vs. products, subscription models replacing traditional sales. Consumers have already switched to Spotify*, Netflix*, and the like, so it seems only natural to add a streaming games subscription and this shift is inevitable.
On the other hand are the bears, mainly influenced by the turbulent history of some past ventures, the reliability of a user experience closely linked to a steady Internet connection and, especially, to the cost of the hardware involved. Cost efficiency is the Mother of All Battles, as we, in PlayGiga, are well aware.
Cloud gaming demands custom servers equipped with multi GPU cloud graphic cards, fed, in turn, by high-end CPUs. On top of that, high-speed 10 Gb interfaces are required to enable the necessary number of concurrent users per server. The complexity of this solution is probably the reason why there´s only a new generation of servers every 2 or 3 years, and why these servers cannot be easily leveraged for other purposes. Unfortunately, customization reduces monetization opportunities for the 95% of the time servers are underutilized when not being accessed by online gamers.
And here’s where Intel® HD Graphics technology, featured in the Intel® Xeon® processor E3 family, comes to the rescue. In PlayGiga we are testing the use of general purpose and high density servers with integrated mainstream GPUs, like the Intel® Iris™ Pro graphics P580 available in the brand new Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1500 v5 product family. We believe this is the right approach to make cloud gaming scalable while delivering cutting-edge performance per watt and more efficient rendering in the cloud. Plus, through server optimization, we are able to vastly reduce the amount of server space and infrastructure required in our datacenter.
The concept is simple enough: mainstream cloud gaming access is achieved through mainstream hardware. The inflection point will be reached once we start seeing the next generation of cloud-optimized video games, which will drive efficiency to an unheard-of level and, with the scalability and cost-efficiency guaranteed... nothing’s gonna stop us now!
For more such intel resources and tools from Intel on Game, please visit the Intel® Game Developer Zone