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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 17:05

Grid gaming needs more bandwidth

Written by Fuad Abazovic

Stable 4G to enable cool things

One of the things that popped up in many of our conversations in Silicon Valley was that we would be able to have much cooler things on our mobile devices if we had more mobile bandwidth.

One obvious example would be grid gaming where someone hosts a game in the cloud and you stream it to a mobile device. The future should bring PC or console game streaming from the cloud to your mobile devices, and this is the current goal. The most obvious limitation is bandwidth and the fact that many ISPS still fail to provide a fast and stabile Internet connection, especially at a reasonable price.

You would think that Silicon Valley has super cool internet speeds, but on average people we talked to had 15 Mbits on a mainstream side and 35 Mbit on the high end side. This is not bad, but you would expect much better.
Vienna Austria and many other cities in Europe offer 50 Mbits on a mainstream side and between 100Mbits and even 250Mbits on the high end of the scale. In fact, 15 Mbits is what you get with a basic digital cable package in Sarajevo, which doesn’t have much in common with Silicon Valley.

These places would clearly qualify for low latency high bandwidth that might be enough for Grid like gaming. 4G/5G internet and speeds between 100MBits and 150Mbits for your mobile device will remain a fairytale as most 4G users are seeing speeds closer to 20Mbits than anything else.

Getting faster internet, both wired and 4G/5G, is what Nvidia thinks it will need to give Grid a chance. The concept is rather nice as you would just stream game to your device. It should look something like Nvidia Shield PC gaming that is currently available for the console. It is really cool to see Lara Croft running on that 5 inch screen in more details than you could ever imagine on a mobile gaming console. Obviously, Nvidia is not the only vendor thinking along these lines.

The biggest issue with Shield is that you can do it in your house and you need a Geforce Kepler based GPU inside your PC, at least a Geforce GTX 660 or faster. In the Grid-centric future you won’t need that, this is how we understood the technology.

We are not sure about the business model as Nvidia will offer this trough many different business models and might leave some of its partners to try crack a new market. We just wanted to point on some obvious obstacles and the elephant in the room is definitely the quality of the internet connection you can get in your area. Investing in new routers and home hardware is one thing, but ISPs are another. Faster internet access across the board would be a clear catalyst for Grid gaming growth.

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