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Kinect, Gaming Converging on Technology

At the end of 2010, I wanted to make a set of predictions but got preoccupied and missed my chance. One prediction I wanted to make was that the gaming industry will significantly influence the technology sector in a positive way.

Take, for instance, the very successful gaming franchise that Microsoft built in Xbox. Microsoft came late to the game and it managed to climb the charts and become number one, even against rivals as big as Sony. Microsoft's gaming division keeps reinventing itself. Its latest creation, Kinect, allows you to interact with games by leveraging multiple cameras that can track the movement of your hands. The prediction I was going to make is that at some point in the near future, Microsoft will incorporate the Kinect technology in its core operating system.

OSes have been very static, very 2D for a very long time. It's almost inevitable that for Microsoft to stay ahead, it would have to come up with something very creative, and what better than to interact with your computer with your hands, without a keyboard or mouse, something a la Tom Cruise in Minority Report?

You have Kinect on the one hand, and on the other we're seeing many new gaming companies, such as "Gaikai," which are building gaming clouds. These companies want to deliver any game, no matter how graphic intensive via the cloud. This means no portion of the game would be installed locally and would run completely centralized. This requires a very robust remote protocol, something more advanced than Citrix's ICA/HDX. However, if the likes of Gaikai are investing in ways to deliver graphically intensive games without any local installs, that sounds a lot like desktop virtualization infrastructure to me. The advantage is that now you have the creativity of the gaming industry investing in research and development to create a very low latency remote protocol. If they succeed, in collaboration with technology companies like Citrix or without, it would have a significant effect on technologies like desktop virtualization.

Since some of the challenges of desktop virtualization is dealing with graphic-intensive applications and latency issues, the advent of cloud is now lending a helpful hand into the creation of a more robust remote protocol. If Gaikai can deliver a game like Activision's Call Of Duty: BlackOps without installing any portion of the game locally, then we surely can use desktop virtualization to deliver any application, intensive or not, to any device with a phenomenal user experience.

Cloud computing certainly started as a buzz word, as just another marketing term, but it has since evolved into an identifiable framework which is bound to change the way we use technology in every aspect. Google's push for browser-based bare metal computers, Microsoft's RemoteFX integration with Internet Explorer and cloud gaming companies like Gaikai will surely reshape and change our industry for better and forever. The only question is, how quickly will these changes materialize?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 01/26/2011 at 12:49 PM


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