Nintendo has no faith in Cloud gaming

2 min read


Is cloud-based gaming the future? Companies like OnLive and the now Sony-owned Gaikai seem to think so. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is less convinced, arguing that cloud-based gaming is hindered by the laws of physics.

"The term ‘cloud gaming’ is one of the words we have lately heard so often, but I would like people to understand that there are certain things that cloud gaming cannot achieve," Iwata said during an investors Q&A.

"Since the time to transmit data over an Internet connection is never negligible, there is always some latency before you receive the result of your input.

"Of course, there are types of games on which delays have no effect. On the other hand, for some highly interactive games, action games in particular, the time required to reflect the push of a button on the screen is critical and the frame rate (the number of times a screen can be updated in a given second) determines the fluidity of the movements. This means that there are some types of games that can be put on the Internet and others that cannot."

Of course, these sort of problems will largely dissipate over time as internet speeds increase, while latencies decrease – but Iwata’s convinced they’ll never go away completely.

"By the laws of physics, it always takes some time to transmit data, and given the current level of Internet technology, there is bound to be some latency during the processes of a server receiving data, producing images instantly and sending them back."

"There are many things that cloud gaming cannot do by design, but this fact has not been communicated well to the public, and I find it strange that many people claim that cloud gaming is the future," affirmed Iwata.

While I’m happy to watch movies and TV series from the cloud, I’m just not quite as sold on its application in gaming – mostly because no matter what you do, there will always be some inherent latencies that would completely destroy twitch-based action titles and First person shooters that require as little input as possible. What do you think? Is gaming’s future up in the cloud?

Last Updated: February 6, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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