After OnLive

After cloud gaming leader OnLive ran out of money in August, the future of cloud gaming became, er, cloudy. Rival cloud gaming service Gaikai had sold itself to Sony for $380 million, but OnLive’s failure to gain enough consumers to offset the costs of its cloud infrastructure raised questions about whether cloud technology was economical for games. Cloud gaming let a user play a high-end game on a low-end PC simply by logging into OnLive, which executed games in web-connected data centers that computed the game and sent images to the user’s machine in real time. OnLive launched in 2010, but too few subscribers materialized. Surrounded by free-to-play games, OnLive tried to sell consumers on instant access to the cloud and the capability to log in from any machine.
But Phil Eisler, the general manager of GeForce Grid Cloud Gaming at Nvidia, told us in an interview that he believes the technology is “hugely disruptive.” And he thinks it’s ready and numerous cloud gaming projects will appear in 2013. Nvidia is adding cloud graphics technology to its graphics chips and making graphics cards available for cloud gaming data center servers. In doing so, Nvidia enables service providers to accommodate multiple gamers per server and thereby make more economical use of their server infrastructure. Here’s an edited transcipt of our interview with Eisler.