Thursday, 18 February 2010

THQ: "Gaming Can Come ‘Roaring Back’ With Cloud Computing"

THQ CEO Brian Farrell believes "gaming can come roaring back" with the further integration into the digital world. Emergent technologies such as cloud computing and growing services with downloadable content and social gaming, a reformation of the industry could soon see it pick up and take off once again leaving behind the recent decline in revenue.

Cloud computing enables the rendering of graphics remotely which are then sent to the players computer however this technology has not reached the mainstream yet. Having said that, the service is not that far out as competing firms like OnLive and Gakai are massively determined to bring the tech into the homes of the mainstream user, more quickly than their competitor. Farrell commented in a much quoted interview with IGN:
"We like this idea of games in the cloud."

"Why do consumers need to pay for that computing power [of a dedicated console]? If the consumer is comfortable with digital delivery, why doesn't that concept work where we can deliver great games and lower hardware investment in a digital world? I like that world, frankly."
Us too! Whilst acknowledging that a certain level of retail will still need to exist and that console manufacturers might resist this trend, he claimed that the "traditional cycle of massive upgrades for graphics... is over."
"If we can get the hardware away from the TV and in the cloud and then start delivering small- to medium-sized bites for the right price point, gaming can come roaring back."
Farrell also gave away that THQ had its eye on Facebook and the social gaming world, but apparently not measuring up the market for which to take the company in the direction of, rather to use social gaming as brand extensions, i.e. to use platforms like Facebook to promote games developed on real machines like the Xbox 360, PS3 etc.
"It's just a matter of keeping that gamer engaged with your brand in each of those environments."
It was already reported earlier this month, that the company would significantly scale down two studios and that these studios would be directed to downloadable gaming. Farrell has indicated that the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC will be the major platforms for focus.
"There's a lot of things to like about digital. Piracy can be more effectively dealt with. Used games, which has been a huge threat to the industry, you know. [If] you own it digitally, hopefully at a lower price point, everybody can win."

"We're doing it obviously on Steam now with all of our PC games. If first parties allow that, we'll certainly embrace that, because if that's what gamers want, that's who we're going to serve."
Sounds like Farrell hasn’t heard of Green Man Games, a service which will enable gamers to resell or trade in their digital games. We’re anxious to learn the costs involved in providing a service such as cloud computing; will you have to pay continuously for every game you want to play? Watch this space.

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