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Online gaming to crank up its bandwidth requirements
Wednesday 25 March 2009 10:22:51 by Andrew Ferguson

Any PC gamer will know the frustration of buying the latest and greatest game only to find that to get the best graphics from the game you need to splash out more money on another graphics card with some gamers spending £200 to £400 to get the best quality picture.

A solution appears to be on the cards in the yet to launch OnLive service which is due to trial later in 2009 in the United States. The service runs the games on central servers, presenting you with the action over a video stream, using your broadband connection to download the action and send back your inputs in real time.

Most people are used to watching online TV shows and will be familiar with the 'blocky' pictures you can get. The OnLine service is trying to reduce this by requiring a 1.5Mbps capable connection for its standard definition, or 5Mbps for its HD version which will be based on a 720 line resolution (i.e. 1280 x 720 pixels).

For broadband providers this represents a potentially massive surge in the usage of connections, most games run happily using less than 0.064Mbps currently. A 1.5Mbps stream would consume 675MB in an hour, and may shift the cost of that graphics card in to usage charges. Of course how popular the service would be depends on the quality of the games and the cost to play, if the picture quality is like trying to play on a 2 year old laptop then many gamers are going to continue to use their games consoles and PC's for the superior picture quality.

Comments

Posted by e102gamma over 8 years ago
And some people think the input lag on LCD monitors is high. O_O
Posted by sloman over 8 years ago
What happens if the company goes bust in 12months time and you have brought x amount of games?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
The same as happens now if you buy a game for its online play that uses firms servers to host the server, i.e. you lose out.

Suspect the model will be a monthly rental rather than buy a game outright.
Posted by bezuk over 8 years ago
Can see why it's US only, since for the lag issue the location of the server is surely critical.

It might well work if the server is in the same country, and preferably the same city as you, but I suspect it's a non-starter if you're connecting to a server in the US from the UK with 80ms or worse ping times.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
Wow, this is so not going to work!
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
It doesn't sound very practical to me either. It'll need a helluva fat pipe at the server end not to mention some seriously impressive rendering hardware behind /that/.

Oh well - we'l have to see how it turns out.
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
You need a lot less than 80ms ping times to negate the effects of input lag... even 8ms input lag is going to be noticeable to some people and most of the population would quickly notice even 50ms input lag... which is about best case for this kinda service...

As the game is processed and rendered on the remote host it can't work like traditional multiplayer games where the client can do some prediction to make movement/input feel better and more responsive.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
There's considerable doubt about this in the gaming development world.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
I doubt this would ever work over ADSL(2+) due to lag. Cable may be ok and full fibre (FTTH) would be best. Add to that the fact that if a lot of people are going to be doing this sort of activity/usage online we'll all start to need 10:1 or less contention ratios or 5Mbps+ guaranteed throughput. Lag is already a problem for rhythm games on LCD TV's!
Posted by kendal01 over 8 years ago
the whole concept seems doomed to failure. I can't see too many gamers wanting to technically go backwards when they are enjoying resolutions of 1920x1200 and upwards now!
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
this may attract inexperienced people but on the whole seems a bad idea.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Only any good if you have a fast connection, id personally like to see a 10Mb version in true HD 1080p in the UK. Unlikely of course as most are still in the BT slow lane which at times cant even get the minimum needed 1.5Mb. Dunno what everyone is on about regarding lag, you get that now anyway in games whether your ping is 100ms or 10ms. This is only really for Gamers with a topish end ADSL2+ or better service, im not a big gamer but have a more than good enough connection and would pay for a month atleast to see what its like.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
lol @ CB, you don't ask for much do you mate, the Xbox360 dosn't even have games that run above 720p native res, many run at less and even then the machine fries itself and you expect more. 10Mb won't be enough to stream 1080p and truHD audio anyway.

Yes there is always lag, funnily enough VM's fibre hybrid network is one of the worst offenders, strange then eh? lag or ping is the biggest hurdle for online gaming not upload or even download speed.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Carpet, there's a considerable difference between a client/server model and a terminal model like the one talked about here in terms of lag in twitch-based games.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"the Xbox360 dosn't even have games that run above 720p native res,"

The 360 is a toy with more faults than you can count and not even deemed worthy of discussion on this site.

quote"10Mb won't be enough to stream 1080p and truHD audio anyway."

The 10Mb figure i stated was based on me simply doubling their 5Mb for 720p claim. Real and true HD wouldnt be possible with anything anyway things like DTS are copy and stream protected. I imagine for sound the service uses bog standard stereo, given the bandwidths stated.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpet, there's a considerable difference between a client/server model and a terminal model like the one talked about here in terms of lag in twitch-based games."

True but i still say die hard online gamers are still used to lag anyway so moaning this will lag is a bit silly. Either way bandwidth intensive things like this are the future, lets hope BT get their fibre services right to support things like this, otherwise the UK are once again going to be left behind
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Pointless service, people will just revert to using it to watch porn in HD.

There is also the issue of how much traffic this service would use, larger packets have a larger ping time. So your image will be lagging quite a bit.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"The 360 is a toy with more faults than you can count and not even deemed worthy of discussion on this site." -CB

I agree that its a toy, but then so is online gaming, or is that somehow not a toy in your opinion? I find it strange that you dismiss the Xbox360 so readily when xboxlive is the most popular online gaming structure that exists today.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"The 10Mb figure i stated was based on me simply doubling their 5Mb for 720p claim. Real and true HD wouldnt be possible with anything anyway" -CB

Thats not at all what you stated in your earlier post:

", id personally like to see a 10Mb version in true HD 1080p in the UK." -CB

Since we agree that 10mb can't stream full 1080p why'd you even try to say that it could? Why mention it at all? At the moment you look like a clown back peddling on a unicycle, lol.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
True HD 1080p is around 1.6Gbps, usually compressed to around 160Mbps for editing, then compressed some more to fit on a blu-ray

Now consider whether you can call a 10Mbps stream HD 1080p? Maybe an adequate stream and good enough for some materail.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
Broadcasters are transmitting 1080i from satellite at less than 16Mb/s. It depends on the action of course but from what I can tell most people are very happy with that.

Of course direct from DVD is going to be better but quite frankly most people are hard pressed to tell the difference between SD and HD. Sad, but true. Visit DigitalSpy and you'll soon realise that.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
The market for true, high-bitrate HD is pretty small. 10Mb would be pushing it at the moment (although new CODECs make it feasible) but 20Mb would be more than enough for a single stream.
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
I wonder how well this will work on BT during peak time :D currently many media services are throttled to 6-8KB/s (I kid you not) if your deemed a "heavy" user.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"", id personally like to see a 10Mb version in true HD 1080p in the UK." -CB

Since we agree that 10mb can't stream full 1080p why'd you even try to say that it could? Why mention it at all? At the moment you look like a clown back peddling on a unicycle, lol."

You read it wrong i was saying if 5Mb (ACCORDING TO THEM) is enough for 720p then doubling that figure according to them would be enough for 1080p..... My statement of 'id personally like to see a 10Mb version in true HD 1080p' is called sarcasm, you obviously missed that?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
A 1080p stream when encoded into x264 or similar would be possible at 10Mb. The problem then is x264 is very system resource hungrey so that combined with running a game and online gaming probably wouldnt work unless you have a fast machine 1080p x264 just for video material can have issues on low end dual core systems and most single core systems (even the fastest) wont display it smoothly. Even if they could as i pointed out i bet the sound on this service is poor and only stereo at most, it certainly wont be DTS
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Probably nothing but hype and another service which attempts to fool people its only the resolution that makes something HD when technically it is not. If for example i capture a old VHS tape and encode at 1080p resolution that doesnt make it HD, though some stupid people would try to argue it does.
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Fed up of the tag HD. I've been using 1920x1200 for years. Just don't laugh at my lowly x300m though, she can push the pixels fast enough for 720p when coupled with p4m 2.13ghz :D
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"You read it wrong... My statement of 'id personally like to see a 10Mb version in true HD 1080p' is called sarcasm, you obviously missed that?"

BWAHAHAHAHAHA weak sauce bud, very weak sauce lol.

Don't back peddle too fast, you might hit someone.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I would like to see a 10Mb version in the UK, its not going to happen though. People have already explained technically it could be done, i would also waste my time talking to you about codecs like i started to with regards to x264 and the difference it makes when using 16bit, 24bit and 32bit display encapsulation for the content. Considering you are not only a BT fan but now we know a 360 fan also i suspect the substance between the ears wouldnt absorb what is and is not possible, i doubt you even comprehend lossless and lossy compresion, your mind obviously the later.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Run along and play some silly 360 shooter pish like a good little boy
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"People have already explained technically it could be done..." -CB

Thats what you got from reading their posts? lol okay, you realise the whole point of this idea was to reduce the cost in hardware for gamers, that the graphics horsepower would be at the gamer server end not the players. Only thing is your high compression arguement will only be exchangeing one set of hardware requirements for another, and also add even more lag as the video will have to be encoded - sent - then decoded, EVEN MORE LAG.
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Spectre, the video is already being encoded -> compressed -> sent -> received -> decompressed using a lossy codec. There is a first impressions preview floating around. Described the picture as 'blocky' in 720p.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
yeah sorry, not meaning to make out that there is no encoding going on, of course there is but rather not to the extent using the processor intensive codecs that Carpet its pushing for.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
Futher, what needs to be kept in mind is that an online game happens in realtime, its not a movie that just needs the sound to by synced to the video for acceptable viewing, as others have already stated earlier a few extra milliseconds of ping or lag can make it completely unplayable...

...unless your playing HD chess or something turnbased.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Spectre, the video is already being encoded -> compressed -> sent -> received -> decompressed using a lossy codec. There is a first impressions preview floating around. Described the picture as 'blocky' in 720p."

Spectre is clueless and doesnt understand the difference between lossy and lossless, also appears from his quote of "...video will have to be encoded - sent - then decoded" He doesnt comprehend all video has to be decoded no matter what the codec.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Futher, what needs to be kept in mind is that an online game happens in realtime, its not a movie that just needs the sound to by synced to the video for acceptable viewing, as others have already stated earlier a few extra milliseconds of ping or lag can make it completely unplayable..."

Again FAILS to comprehend some games already use codecs for video and audio... Lag is nothing new and happens with this just as much as it would on any otheer online gaming system. And unless you have used this system you dont know if its better or worse.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I suggest you stick to your 360, then again one of those things can suffer with lag far more than the PC version of the game.... Something else you have no doubt NOT noticed.
Posted by e102gamma over 8 years ago
You might as well back down now CB. You're clearly lost. x)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
It's been trialed, and the people doing so have reported precisely the expected - it's not overly responsive (the lag is far more noticeable than normal 1-way lag: and this is exacerbated by the layered rendering methods of many AAA games) and it suffers some nasy iage quality issues.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"He doesnt comprehend all video has to be decoded no matter what the codec." -CB

Exactly goes without saying dosn't it, when i'm talking about encoding I obviously mean with a codec to compress it, I could go on and spell it out but then we'd run out of space...

Hows that unicycle? going round in circles I see lol.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"when i'm talking about encoding I obviously mean with a codec to compress it"

Duh no poop sherlock, how do you think it gets encoded, magic wand.

Different codecs compress at different rates, different quality and Differing amounts of compression, Technically they could run a 1080 stream, though as ive already explained to you my little 360 owner. Dawn is right for once and i agree with them its the 2 way communication and sending of large data that causes the lag with this its nothing to do with because it is video, any large data packet back and forth will slow things.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
ANYONE commenting this is a silly idea though because of lag has no clue what they are talking about unless they have used the service. Different people have different expectations, i dont game online really and thus id probably notice issues it suffers from far less then a 360 dweeb
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
To me all these FPS which are the genre that suffer lag the most are a pile of tosh anyway which lag way before you even game online with them. I can think of several games this service would be good for, including turn based strategy, but then again im speaking to a 360 user, the machine which has been dubbed ONE GENRE WONDER due to its huge amount of repeative shooter rubbish.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
@ Carpetmark,

Sorry bud, I don't actually have a 360, was just using it as an example. Intresting your here telling us what will & will not work for online gaming when you fully admit knowing nothing about it, maybe just stick to subjects you know and leave gaming discussion to people it actually effects.

Anyway nice way to show your true colours there, always good to look down on people like 360 gamers [sarcasm], must make you feel a big lol.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Sorry bud, I don't actually have a 360"

Oh you so do, all those dimwits would address me as "Bud"
Turn based gaming on this would work absolutely fine, but you obviously dont comprehend games can also be code without a stupid big animated gun on the screen. Now away with you Galo is calling
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
I can't see people paying for this service to play Age of Empires / Red Alert 3 etc, those games scale alright.

Racing games like Grid and Dirt require absolute precision, so again this cloud computing idea doesn't work for games.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
lol CB you crack me up, I'm not saying I would never consider owning a 360 but being such a flawed piece of hardware I can't bring myself to get one anytime soon.

I've already mentioned turn based games, but everyone knows RTS is where its at. FPS is okay but i'm not really a fan - Halo3 wasn't enough to sell me on the 360.

Irony is the way you like to claim superiority and put people down, you'd fit right in on Xboxlive with the other prepubescents shouting 'FAGGOT' 'GAY' and 'OMG HAX!!!'

I'm a PC gamer BTW.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"I can't see people paying for this service to play Age of Empires / Red Alert 3 etc, those games scale alright."
Exactly it could work very well with some games. We dont all play look at my gun FPS pish.
Quote"find the 360 bashing in this thread amusing to say the least"
Im not bashing the 360 im being realistic, id comment more but i have a new E74 error and a scratched surface..... sorry
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Incidentally ive just seen a Technology TV programme with a brief news item about this service and apparantely its proving resonably popular...... Must be doing something right.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
QUOTE"Irony is the way you like to claim superiority and put people down, you'd fit right in on Xboxlive with the other prepubescents shouting 'FAGGOT' 'GAY' and 'OMG HAX!!!'"

I wouldnt know what they say i have the brains not to buy a 360 or ever use Live. If thats what they say ill take you, your 360 ownership and experience its true though, i gather you are the voice of experience?
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
You don't have to own a 360 to have had the experience of Xboxlive, just know someone that owns one and have a go. Guess that never occured to you, (try thinking outside the box chum).

You done with the self pwnage yet or can we move on?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Reasonably popular? It's not launched yet.

And again, most of the people trying it - direct, hand on reviews I've read - are less than impressed. It's very much a niche market, as they are using it.

(As say internet cafe's? They're missing a great business opportunity. Far lower ping...)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"You don't have to own a 360 to have had the experience of Xboxlive, just know someone that owns one and have a go. Guess that never occured to you, (try thinking outside the box chum)."

Chum?? If that isnt a retarded 360 owner phrase i dunno what is

quote"You done with the self pwnage yet or can we move on?"
Oh my god pwnage LOL so you are 12 and a 360 owner... Why am i not shocked.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"And again, most of the people trying it - direct, hand on reviews I've read - are less than impressed. It's very much a niche market, as they are using it."
Click onlines report about people having used it disagrees with your view... Then again who doesnt disagree with you.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"Oh my god pwnage LOL so you are 12 and a 360 owner..."

lol what are you, a 15 year old american school girl? OOOHHHH MYYYY GAAAWWWDDD LIKE YOU ARE SOOOO LIKE 12 OOOHH MY GAAWWDD.

Give it up, your making yourself look silly now. Your posting here is one Epic FAIL start to finish.
Posted by e102gamma over 8 years ago
"Click onlines report about people having used it disagrees with your view..."

All Click's brief news report said was that the initial reaction from 'industry insiders', who had only viewed a demo, was 'favourable'. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Posted by partymarty over 8 years ago
can we have a vote ban for CB? It may help him get a life.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
#VOTEBAN CARPETBURN
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
I think CB was banned for a while, then came back with polite postings. But now back to his usual pathetic words.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Your posting here is one Epic FAIL start to finish"

I was wrong must be 10 not 12

quote"#VOTEBAN CARPETBURN"

Actually make that 8 years old.

quote"I think CB was banned for a while, then came back with polite postings. But now back to his usual pathetic words."

I didnt start with the insults Mr chief of the grammar police.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
^ The fail is strong with you young Skycarpet.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
e102gamma - And reaction from other industry insiders is their 1% market target is wildly overenthusiastic.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
It will be interesting if this service comes to the UK to see how well it runs. Of course even though i and someone else have pointed out some games, would run very well on it, it wont alter the dullard 360 screem like children on live opinions. Then again they no doubt have a connection of 2Mb or less to match their own slowness.
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