The cloud has become part of our everyday lives, be it for storing data, listening to music or backing up our contacts, we relish the fact that our data is secure, but is that where it ends? Up until now, the cloud has been graciously accepted and used by anyone who has ever lost precious data due to unfavourable circumstances. That said, few have ever considered the possibility of the cloud replacing expensive pieces of hardware and in some cases entire products.
That was up until 5 minutes ago, before NVIDIA announced the launch of the Grid, a cloud based gaming platform that not only allows you to save game progress in the cloud, but actually harnesses the graphic processing power of the cloud to physically run games, on a multitude of devices. They have even taken it a step further, by allowing users to save their game on a certain device, say for example your internet based TV, and then carry on from where you left off on your tablet or smartphone at a later stage. Insane.
What it is & how it works:
The Grid from NVIDIA is basically a server rack comprising of 20 Grid servers that pushes out roughly 240 NVIDIA GPU’s worth of power or about 200 Teraflops…that is the equivalent to about 700 Xbox 360’s. NVIDIA claim that a single server will be able to provide up to 36 concurrent gaming streams seamlessly.
The benefits for Game developers are enormous, so much so that 6 gaming companies have already jumped on board. The benefits for users are also 10-fold, imagine never having to install a game again, or never having to download another update (read that again Battlefield 3 players). The downside…well, in order to fully harness the power of the Grid within the cloud, speculation from NVIDIA is that users are going to need upwards of a 20mb/s line, which is still slightly out of reach for us South Africans at this stage. Obviously Pirating games will not be possible at all, making user account details as valuable then as your internet banking details. Think about it.
The question on our mind though, is why would an established hardware company like NVIDIA launch a service that effectively renders their core business redundant? The inclination is that this could be because this is where the future of gaming lies. With services like OnLive poping up, one can only assume that companies like ATI and Sony are not far behind. Time will tell.
NVIDIA have not yet announced a release date for the Grid, but we will keep our ears to the ground on any updates and news in the coming weeks.