World of Warcraft's Lead designer Rob Pardo on the Role of the Cloud in Games
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:15AM
Todd Hoff in Strategy, cloud, games

In a really far ranging and insightful interview by Steve Peterson: Game Industry Legends: Rob Pardo, where the future of gaming is discussed, there was a section on how the cloud might be used in games. I know there are a lot of game developers in my audience, so I thought it might be useful:

Q. If the game is free-to-play but I have to download 10 gigabytes to try it out, that can keep me from trying it. That's part of what cloud gaming is trying to overcome; do you think cloud gaming is going to make some inroads because of those technical issues?


Rob Pardo: I certainly think there's a lot of potential in cloud gaming, it's just picking the right games. There's a lot of hurdles for cloud gaming to overcome, one of which is having to have all these servers to be able to host all these games, since it's not like you need any less computing power to play these games. First of all you need someone with the infrastructure that can have all those games up there. Another issue the latency of the games themselves. I think certain types of games have the potential to be fun cloud gaming experiences, but there's a lot of games I'm not sure we'll ever see in the cloud. Take first-person-shooters; there's just a basic physics problem with how long it takes for you to get instructions into the cloud and back to the client again. I don't know how you'll ever be able to deal with those sorts of latency problems with cloud gaming.


Q. Parts of the games like cinematics could be easily streamed without concern for latency, couldn't they?

Rob Pardo: Totally. That's where the real power of the cloud comes in, is trying to enhance the experience, rather than trying to play entirely in the cloud. You could stream certain elements, you can hold people's save profiles, there's a lot of things you could put in the cloud. At least it could make you computer-agnostic, help with how much space you take on your hard drive, how long it takes you to get up and running, or download patches and things like that.

The whole interview is full of interesting bits that any game lover should enjoy.

Some other interesting points: 


Thanks to Greg Linden for the link.

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