The writing may be on the wall for console hardware following Nvidia’s unveiling of a cloud gaming solution dubbed GeForce GRID.
The technology combines a number of essential features for cloud-based gaming including GPU virtualisation, appearing as more than one GPU to clients, as well as integrated hardware video encoding.
Nvidia claimed that the solution has the capability to deliver lower "game latency" – that is to say, user input cause to on-screen effect, than existing consoles hooked directly to a television.
Much of Nvidia’s claim is based on the "game pipeline" taking just 50ms instead of the aging hardware in consoles taking 100ms. That leaves room for the 10ms of capture and encode, 30ms of network latency and 5ms of decoding the video stream.
The result of GRID is substantially better than the first generation of cloud gaming solutions such as Onlive, Nvidia claim. Not just axing game latency but also using just 75W per gaming stream, compared to the first generation 150W. GRID will also let operators cram 84 gam streams into a rack.
"It will now be possible for game-service operators to offer bundles of games for about $10/month, similar to movie-streaming services," Nvidia said.
Of course that means that gamers get access to the latest generation of graphics, no risk of failing hardware and presumably yearly updates as Nvidia rolls out future architectures.
It will not need a a high-end PC running Nvidia graphics hardware either, just a system capable of decoding H.264 video. Nvidia also highlighted the potential for so-called virtual game consoles built into smart TVs.
Of course the real question is whether gamers will take to streaming gaming in the same was as the world has apparently taken to streaming video.
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