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Samsung plans to be huge in games


Published: 8 June, 2012


Samsung put out a headline this week at E3 which says it will become a major force in the video game industry - we'll have to see just how easy that is. Apple did it almost by stealth, getting in on a gaming revolution that moved from complex hand held controllers to touch, on the back of controlling most touch devices.

Today Apple probably makes more profit out of gaming than Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft put together, but ostensibly its control is virtually non-existent, because all of those developers could shift their games to other devices, and pay Apple nothing. And developers of touch based games could share the benefits across Apple and Android players equally well.

But Samsung is going one step better, and working with the second cloud gaming platform, a US company called Gaikai. The first was OnLive, which spent a while in stealth and stole a two years lead in cloud gaming, by redesigning operating systems and server hardware components to eliminate redundancy. The essence of cloud gaming is that only the image of what is happening in the game and the control commands are sent back and forth, using adaptive streaming, which most portable devices, even on slow broadband lines can support. The portable device doesn't play the game, but instead it is played on a specialized cloud server and the resulting video returned instantly. This is why OnLive has calculated that servers have to be within 1,000 miles of the players and why last week it announced a new processing center in Luxembourg for Western Europe.

OnLive started with games from EA, Ubisoft, Take Two Interactive, Eidos, THQ and Atari , while Gaikai so far has sold games on Wal-Mart and specializes in offering a free "play before you buy" service. Now Samsung plans to offer the same games on the 2012 range of Samsung Smart TVs

Clearly this US only delivery service is an experiment. If the Samsung brand and promises, and perhaps a bit of cash, can unleash console quality games on its TVs, then why not add them to its Blu-ray players, tablets and smart phones and why not take them global.

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