NVIDIA Announces Cloud Gaming Platform

In a keynote speech today at the GPU Technology Conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsung Huang announced the startling news that the company is breaking into the cloud gaming world. But before you wonder if they’re gunning for Steam’s place in the gaming ecosphere, hold up: They’re actually trying to get money from Steam; or so it would seem.

The newly announced service, NVIDIA GeForce GRID, is based on the same technology behind the ass-kicking Geforce GTX 680. NVIDIA promises it will allow gaming-as-a-service providers, which we take to mean companies like Onlive, Steam and so on, to offer faster streaming to, they claim, ‘virtually any device’.

Admittedly, this sounds like a brassy move. If we’re not mistaken, GeForce GRID will depend on service providers anticipating sufficient consumer demand to justify the expense of transitioning services over, or on startups with sufficient capital deciding to spend it on the cadillac treatment from the get-go. NVIDIA is also betting that the market for gaming-as-a-service will only go up. That’s a pretty big risk, though considering the way NVIDIA currently bestrides the tech industry like the Colossus of Rhodes (if the Colossus owned a huge number of Italian sports cars), it’s probably a risk with a high potential for reward.

You can watch the full speech here, and judge for yourself. In the meantime, as always, here’s the official press release.

Cloud Gaming Moves at the Blink of an Eye with NVIDIA GeForce GRID

New Offering Enables Gaming-as-a-Service Operators to Stream Even the Most Advanced Games to Connected TVs, PCs, Tablets and Phones

SAN JOSE, Calif.—GPU Technology Conference—May 15, 2012—Gaming enters a new era today with the launch of the NVIDIA® GeForce® GRID cloud gaming platform, which allows gaming-as-a-service providers to stream next-generation games to virtually any device, without the lag that hampers current offerings.

With the GeForce GRID platform, gaming-as-a-service providers can deliver the most advanced visuals with lower latency, while incurring lower operating costs, particularly related to energy usage. Gamers benefit from the ability to play the latest, most sophisticated games on any connected device, including TVs, smartphones and tablets running iOS and Android.

“Gamers will now have access to seamlessly play the world’s best titles anywhere, anytime, from phones, tablets, TVs or PCs,” said Phil Eisler, general manager of cloud gaming at NVIDIA. “GeForce GRID represents a massive disruption in how games are delivered and played.”

GeForce GRID was introduced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), as part of a series of announcements from NVIDIA, all of which can be accessed in the GTC online press room.

The key technologies powering the new platform are NVIDIA GeForce GRID GPUs with dedicated ultra-low-latency streaming technology and cloud graphics software. Together, they fundamentally change the economics and experience of cloud gaming, enabling gaming-as-a-service providers to operate scalable data centers at costs that are in line with those of movie-streaming services. Cloud Gaming Moves at the Blink of an Eye with NVIDIA GeForce GRID Page 2

NVIDIA GeForce GRID GPUs

Using the highly efficient NVIDIA Kepler™ architecture, NVIDIA GeForce GRID GPUs minimize power consumption by simultaneously encoding up to eight game streams. This allows providers to cost-effectively scale their service offerings to support millions of concurrent gamers.

Featuring two Kepler architecture-based GPUs, each with its own encoder, the processors have 3,072 CUDA® technology cores and 4.7 teraflops of 3D shader performance. This enables providers to render highly complex games in the cloud and encode them on the GPU, rather than the CPU, allowing their servers to simultaneously run more game streams. Server power-consumption per game stream is reduced to about one-half that of previous implementations, an important metric for data centers.

Fast Streaming Technology

Fast streaming technology reduces server latency to as little as 10 milliseconds – less than one-tenth the blink of an eye – by capturing and encoding a game frame in a single pass. The GeForce GRID platform uses fast-frame capture, concurrent rendering and single-pass encoding to achieve ultra-fast game streaming.

The latency-reducing technology in GeForce GRID GPUs compensates for the distance in the network, so gamers will feel like they are playing on a gaming supercomputer located in the same room. Lightning-fast play is now possible, even when the gaming supercomputer is miles away.

GeForce GRID Enables the Virtual Game Console

Also at GTC, NVIDIA and Gaikai demonstrated a virtual game console, consisting of an LG Cinema 3D Smart TV running a Gaikai application connected to a GeForce GRID GPU in a server 10 miles away. Instant, lag-free play was enabled on a highly complex PC game, with only an Ethernet cable and wireless USB game pad connected to the TV.

Leading Gaming-as-a-Service Providers Companies Endorse GeForce GRID

A number of leading gaming-as-a-service providers announced their support of the GeForce GRID. Among them: Cloud Gaming Moves at the Blink of an Eye with NVIDIA GeForce GRID Page 3

“Not so long ago, engineers said cloud gaming was impossible, and that it was not possible for cloud gaming to be as fast or high-quality as local, console-based gaming. Obviously, they didn’t know that Gaikai and NVIDIA would be working together. We’re proving the doubters wrong.”

— David Perry, CEO, Gaikai

“Just like iPhone games have taken over the handheld games market because of ease of use, cloud gaming will expand gaming by making it incredibly convenient.”

— Guy De Beer, CEO, Playcast Media System

“We have worked closely with NVIDIA to use the GeForce GRID processor architecture in Ubitus GameCloud®. Ubitus delivers highly scalable cloud gaming solutions with a native-like gaming experience for service providers.”

— Wesley Kuo, CEO, Ubitus

Game Developers Endorse GeForce GRID

A range of leading game developers also announced their support of GeForce GRID. Among them:

“At Epic, we’re really excited about NVIDIA’s announcement of the GeForce GRID platform. NVIDIA’s GRID technology, with its latency reduction and improved image quality, combined with higher density and power efficiency, are significant steps toward making cloud gaming a true console-like experience today, and bringing that high-quality gaming experience to more people.

Cloud has the potential to deliver an even more powerful experience in the future by enabling ultra-high-end GPUs like the GeForce GTX 680 to stream ultra-high-quality graphics such as those made possible by UE4 to a huge range of devices, well beyond console capabilities. The result will be that more people can enjoy EPIC’s games on more devices at higher quality.”

— Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO, EPIC Games

Cloud Gaming Moves at the Blink of an Eye with NVIDIA GeForce GRID Page 4

“The compelling advances that GeForce GRID introduces to cloud gaming are especially beneficial to Capcom game fans, as we are focused on delivering AAA action games that are reliant on low latency for the best experience. We are, therefore, very excited about NVIDIA’s contributions in this space.”

— Masaru Ijuin – Deputy General Manager, Technology Research and Development, Capcom Co., Ltd.

“Online gaming with underlying cloud infrastructure is an important part of modern games. Cloud gaming is an exciting new way of delivering games to streaming customers. In reviewing NVIDIA’s GeForce GRID, I see the potential for this technology to reduce some of the latency issues that affect game streaming. This is an exciting development.”

— Juancho Buchanan, vice president of Technology, THQ Inc.

For more information about GeForce GRID, please visit: http://www.nvidia.com/geforcegrid.

About GTC The GPU Technology Conference (GTC) advances global awareness of GPU computing and visualization, and their importance to the future of science and innovation. View the latest news from NVIDIA and its partners in the GTC press room.

About NVIDIA NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Today, its processors power a broad range of products from smartphones to supercomputers. NVIDIA’s mobile processors are used in cell phones, tablets and auto infotainment systems. PC gamers rely on GPUs to enjoy spectacularly immersive worlds. Professionals use them to create 3D graphics and visual effects in movies and to design everything from golf clubs to jumbo jets. And researchers utilize GPUs to advance the frontiers of science with high performance computing. The company has more than 4,500 patents issued, allowed or filed, including ones covering ideas essential to modern computing. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.

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4 Comments on NVIDIA Announces Cloud Gaming Platform

user

On May 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Interesting. I await to see what happens with it.

Tiagonal

On May 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

So the ones behind the gaming power decide to take the empire as a whole.

Ross Lincoln

On May 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

Dammit, Tiagonal, you make me realize I should have used a picture of Pepin the Short for this post!

Tiagonal

On May 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

Gaming Souls

At first there was a card and a core, and all souls were emblessed by at focus, wars were fought and lost indeed. Then the clouds of connection appeared in the foreground. OnLive, the ring of vanguard. Gaikai, the vapor of greed. And Kusangai, with the dark phylum. A sight of the oncoming digital storms of the north. Blind of the card and core, a hurricane comes, the GRID. Thus all the souls will be blown with digital wind and the emblessing shall be imperial to all.