"Cloud computing" isn't a new concept but, the meaning of the term is still currently very ambiguous in the IT industry at the moment and has only been getting more attention of late thanks to the increase of affordable high speed internet access in homes.
Everything done on home computers are currently processed on your own machine but with cloud computing, the processing is all done on an external network of servers (i.e. the internet or the "cloud") before the results are sent back to your home computer.
The advantages are pretty obvious because...
- You are not limited to your own computer's hardware.
- Access software from anywhere in the world with a network connection.
- No need to install software.
- Seamless, invisible updates can be made.
- Less technical support required for set ups.
- No (or less) piracy.
I never thought about it but, this could work for gamers too which means you don't have to buy a new console or upgrade your PC's hardware every few years. At the Game Developer's Conference this year, such a service has been revealed as OnLive.
It'll be just like streaming High Definition video to your computer or TV using a paid service except it's much more interactive and, all the input signals from your controllers will be sent somewhere on the internet.
It may even eliminate the lag in online gaming because instead of having a constant stream of multiple connections trying to send information to the servers, the servers can do all it locally before sending the resulting images back to the gamer's computers.
However, cloud computing isn't without its downsides which is why we have yet to see many cloud computing services being rolled out.
- Costs - How much will you pay? Will it be like your utility bills? Pay for what you use?
- Data security - Your information will be held online so it will be important to secure personal details.
- Ownership - What happens once your contract is up? What happens to your data?
In any case, it will be interesting to see how this turns out.