Move Over OnLive & Gaikai. A New Cloud-Based Gaming Provider Emerges.



Betamax versus VHS, VideoCD (VCD) versus DVD, HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray – the noted format wars of old have all arisen through a combination of technological and sociological factors. The ‘Videotape Wars’ of the 70’s was driven by companies’ hopes to find a standardised media format for recording TV. The dawn of the digital video era was contested between the cost-effective VCD and the superior quality of the DVD, while the transition to high-definition played host to the one of the fiercest format wars in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray’s tussle for supremacy. Now, we think we’ve found the cloud-gaming equivalent. 

In fact, it’s a three-way grudge match. With the rise of cloud computing, both Gaikai and OnLive (launched earlier this year, see our review here) have sought to deliver the most up-to-date titles on an online platform, all without the need for installs and, best of all, without your dusty laptop busting a metaphorical gut by way of processing the latest graphics-laden game from Crytek. But there’s a new kid on the block. California-based Approxy believes it has what it takes to become the leading force in cloud-based gaming. The company, just launched, boasts it will be able to deliver full 1080p, 3D stereoscopic games and provide publishers with better security for their most prized games. 

“As we stream game software, not video, your computer can render games in full 3D HD without any latency, no matter what your broadband speed. Games really play as if they are natively installed.”

Unlike OnLive, which streams all game data to the player, Approxy’s service partially streams a game as the consumer plays, and partially downloads and installs it at the same time. This makes it possible, it says, to play Approxy games even when not connected to the Internet. The company’s website details how the service will be available on PC, tablet devices and even straight from your HD TV, presumably through a Micro Console-esque set-top box. No news on release as of yet.