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B. 5 of the Best Cloud Gaming Services [106]

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Distributed System Report

2) GeForce Now [108]

Nvidia GeForce Now originally launched as a remote streaming service with subscribers

streaming any number of offered games to a PC or an Nvidia gaming device. The newer service,

available for Windows and macOS users, does away with the games while keeping the backbone

– it’s a remote gaming PC for hire.

Using a service like Steam or Epic, you can download and install the games remotely and

play them on a PC, Mac or Nvidia device. The service is currently free for users during beta

testing, but you can apply to join the waiting list.

If you have a Shield TV device, you should be able to sign up straight away.

3) Vortex [109]

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Distributed System Report

If you don’t want the hassle of installing games, Vortex would be a good alternative. It lets

you stream a selection of PC games to a Mac or to a lesser-powered PC or laptop. Its killer feature

is mobile streaming, however, as it lets you stream PC games to Android and iOS devices using

the Vortex app.

Vortex offers around 100 existing games, with some big names like Fornite and GTA 5

included. New games are added regularly, too. Some are ready to play, while others might require

you to prove ownership using your Steam account login.

A subscription will set you back $9.99/month.

4) Shadow [110]

The Shadow cloud gaming service is more like GeForce Now than Vortex. Rather than

providing you with limited game streaming, you can hire your own remote, high-powered gaming

PC. This will let you stream almost any game or program you like on their platform.

That includes streaming to a low-powered PC, a Mac, mobile devices or TV. The

downside is ultimately the cost, with a one-month package costing $34.95/month, or an equivalent

of $24.95/month if you pay for it in full upfront.

There’s no trial, but you can try the service out for $9.95 for 10 days.

5) Parsec [111]

Parsec offers a DIY approach for gamers who want to build their own streaming service

for games. It’s free to download and use, but you supply the gaming hardware yourself, which

you can then stream remotely.

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Distributed System Report

It supports multi-play, so you can share one game with multiple players, even if the game

doesn’t support online play itself. You can also turn it into a fully cloud-based solution using an

Amazon GPU-powered virtual machine (although this will cost you).



This article has closely examined the framework design of state-of-the-art cloud gaming

platforms. We have also measured the performance of Onlive, one of the most representative and

successful cloud gaming platforms to date. The results, particularly on interaction latency and

streaming quality under diverse game, computer, and network configurations, have revealed the

potentials of cloud gaming as well as the critical challenges toward its widespread deployment.

For a future work we would like to further investigate the effect other network conditions such as

packet loss and jitter have on the end users cloud gaming experience.

Cloud gaming is a rapidly evolving technology, with many exciting possibilities. One

frequently mentioned is to bring advanced 3D content to relatively weaker devices such as smart

phones and tablets. This observation is made even more relevant by the fact that both Gaikai and

Onlive are actively working on Android apps to bring their services to these mobile platforms.

However, recent large scale research indicates that it is not uncommon to find cellular network

connections that have network latencies in excess of 200 ms [7], which alone may already cause

the interaction delay to become too high for many games. Seamless integration between cellular

data connection and the lower latency WiFi connection is expected, and the switching to LTE may

help alleviate the problem. Other potential advancements involve intelligent thin clients that can

perform a portion of the game rendering and logic locally to hide some of the issues associated

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Distributed System Report

with interaction delay, or distributed game execution across multiple specialized virtual machines

[8]. This will likely require creating games specifically optimized for cloud platforms.

Besides software and service providers, hardware manufacturers have also shown a strong

interest in cloud gaming, and some have begun working on dedicated hardware solutions to

address the prominent issues of cloud gaming. NVIDIA has just unveiled the GeForce grid

graphical processor, which is targeted specifically towards cloud gaming systems [9]. It is

essentially an all in one graphical processor and encoding solution. The published specification

shows that each of these processors has enough capability to render and encode four games

simultaneously. NVIDIA’s internal tests show that it can significantly mitigate the latency

introduced in current cloud gaming systems [10]. It is widely expected that this type of

specialized hardware will usher in a new generation of cloud gaming.



Jansen, W., & Grance, T. (2011). Guidelines on security and privacy in public cloud computing. NIST special

publication, 800-144.


Hu, F., Qiu, M., Li, J., Grant, T., Taylor, D., McCaleb, S., Butler L & Hamner, R. (2011). A Review on cloud

computing: Design challenges in Architecture and Security. Journal of Computing and Information Technology,

Vol.19(1), P. 25-55


Carroll M.; Kotze P.; Merwe A.; (2011) Secure virtualization: benefits, risks and constraints, 1st International

Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands


W. Cai, M. Chen, and V. Leung. Toward gaming as a service. IEEE Internet Computing, 18(3):12–18, May



W. Cai, Z. Hong, X. Wang, H. Chan, and V. Leung. Quality-ofexperience optimization for a cloud gaming

system with ad hoc cloudlet assistance. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology,

25(12):2092–2104, December 2015.


W. Cai, V. Leung, and L. Hu. A cloudlet-assisted multiplayer cloud gaming system. Mobile Networks and

Applications, 19(2):144–152, November 2013.


asm.js web page, March 2013. http://asmjs.org/.


Y. Chang, P. Tseng, K. Chen, and C. Lei. Understanding the performance of thin-client gaming. In Proc. of

IEEE InternationalWorkshop on Communications Quality and Reliability (CQR’11), pages 1–6, Naples, FL,

May 2011.


K. Chen, Y. Chang, H. Hsu, D. Chen, C. Huang, and C. Hsu. On the quality of service of cloud gaming systems.

IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 16(2):480–495, February 2014.

[10] K. Chen, Y. Chang, P. Tseng, C. Huang, and C. Lei. Measuring the latency of cloud gaming systems. In Proc. of

ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM’11), pages 1269–1272, Scottsdale, AZ, November 2011.

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