Thursday, 26 November 2009

Console Games on Demand Without Consoles

Playcast, a new company based in the UK/Israel have purportedly developed a system which will allow for any game to be played at home via existing cable networks minus the need for consoles, or any extra hardware for that matter. All it will require is a set top box of on-demand providers.

Chief Operating Officer Alon Shtruzman, at a demonstration in London on Wednesday, told The Times that the new system will operate as a subscription channel and offer a selection of games from leading publishers.
“We see ourselves as a pay TV operation, engaging with companies like Virgin, Sky, BT in the UK and Cablevision in the US, offering video games on demand as part of the TV mix. The games portal will appear like a channel on the EPG [electronic programme guide].”
The major issue with a service like this for gamers however is of course latency. Unlike pausing television or films, any noticeable delay from pushing a button in a game is completely unacceptable. However The Times reports that Playcast claim to have overcome this problem with a proprietary video compression which supposedly cuts the delay down to 100 milliseconds which is faster than the human eye can register.

At the exhibition on Wednesday The Times reported that the demonstration of PS3 and Xbox 360 games on the new system was “virtually indistinguishable” from that offered by the actual consoles. Of course this was a closed demo with the server in the same room.

It is planned that Israel will be the first country to experience the service commercially in January/February time and for Britain and Spain Playcast should be available later in 2010. Mr Shtruzman finally added:
“We could be looking at the last generation of separate gaming consoles.”
Source: TheTimes

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