IMAGE – India’s first Centre of Excellence for Gaming, VFX, Computer Vision & AI, launched in Hyderabad- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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IMAGE, India’s first Centre of Excellence for Gaming, VFX, Computer Vision and AI, opened in Hyderabad today. This is also the first Incubation centre for companies focussed on IP in Gaming, VFX, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision set up by Software Technology Park of India.
STPI-IMAGE also signed MoU with 5 partners TVAGA (Telangana VFX, Animation and Gaming Association), Hyderabad Angels, HYSEA, IIIT- Hyderabad, and TiE Hyderabad with an objective to nurture and promote start-ups and budding entrepreneurs by offering resources like mentoring, technology support, infrastructure like Plug & Play Incubation, Mocap, CVAI labs and funding.
The 10000 Sq ft, IMAGE-CoE, inside the existing STPI facility targets to incubate up to 25-30 start-ups per year for the next five years. A total investment of 19. 68 Cr shall be spent over a period of 5 years for the CoE in addition to existing infrastructure in the STPI facility.
The start-ups will be mentored by a group of accomplished industry and academic pioneers, led by the Chief Mentor and aided by a strong Governing Council (GC) & Project Management Group (PMG) consisting of top technology industrialists, investors and academicians.
Applications to get on board in the CoE (image.stpi.in) is open and closes on March 31st, 2020. The start-ups will undergo various levels of evaluation before selection. On selection, they will be assisted with a seed fund of Rs. 5 lakhs after due diligence by the PMG. This fund will be released to start-ups during the structured accelerated program, at regular intervals, based on achieving set milestones.
In the first year, 20 start-ups will be chosen for on boarding this program. Each start-up will be given access to best-in-class infrastructure and R & D lab facilities, for development and validation of solution from design to prototyping to democratize innovation, including the newly set up first of its kind Motion Capture Lab. They will also be provided access to funding, mentorship, and marketing.
Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) said, “Hyderabad is fast emerging as the best global destination for Gaming and AI landscape. That’s one key reason we believe STPI chose to set up its CoE in Hyderabad, and as partners, we are fully committed to this initiative. ” “We have a strong eco-system, as the city of Hyderabad hosts established world-leading-gaming companies, global scale events such as IndiaJoy, The India Game Developers Conference (IGDC) plus India’s biggest IMAGE towers readying to open in Hyderabad.”
(L-R) Dr. Omkar Rai – Director General STPI and Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan  
Stating that Hyderabad was a natural choice to set up the IMAGE CoE due to its inherent industry strengths, Omkar Rai, Director-General, STPI expressed, “The CoE will bring a paradigm shift in revving up research and innovation in Gaming, VFX, Computer Vision & AI through a robust ecosystem in collaboration with tech partners, industry, investors, industry associations and government, and will bolster indigenous product development while propelling the growth of tech entrepreneurship in the country. By collaborating with industry associations, academia, and angels, we have ensured the IMAGE incubation model is built on a solid foundation to realise our mission to build world-class gaming, Animation and Deep Tech providers to the world.”
“Setting up STPI-IMAGE CoE is great news for the Gaming sector, especially startups as they now have access to game development, funding, foster strategic partnerships with game development companies and global gaming publishers, TVAGA will play an active role in promoting the gaming sector and support IMAGE mission .”Rajiv Chilaka, President, TVAGA & Founder and CEO of Green Gold.
Congratulating Software Technology Parks of India, Hyderabad, for setting up the Centre of Excellence in animation and gaming as well as in computer vision and AI, Shashi Reddy, Chief Mentor of IMAGE CoE and VP Engineering, Qualcomm India, in his address said, “Hyderabad has a lot of animation and gaming companies, and the industry has been maturing over the years. This is a great opportunity for new start-ups to build, nurture innovation at STPI-IMAGE and accelerate the growth of gaming and animation in the city.”
“I am really excited about the future, as the new Computer Vision and AI at CoE will propel Deep learning techniques and help grow the CV and AI areas, as well as augment new Startup,” Shashi added.
I am very happy to see the STPI CoE become operational. We have been working on it for many months now. It is a very unique endeavour where we have STPI and the Telangana State, we have IIIT, we have industry association HYSEA, we have a large company like Qualcomm and the gaming and animation association TVAGA, all involved. We will be supporting the start-ups from IIIT, from both research and as well as the innovation centre stand point. We are hoping to find very interesting start-ups that are using Computer Vision & AI to solve different problems for different industries. The opportunities are huge from medical solutions to industry for point solutions to safety and security related. Expressed, Ramesh Loganathan, Professor of Practice, Co-innovations at IIIT-Hyderabad.
IMAGE is a collaboration between industry associations, academia, and angels, the model is built on a solid groundwork.
TVAGA will lend support in funding game development start-ups and fostering strategic partnerships between game development start-ups and global gaming publishers. In addition, TVAGA will be sponsoring Gamelab related resources such as cloud and advertising credits for gaming start-ups being accelerated at CoE. HYSEA will help provide seed funding, strategy guidance, market access besides helping the start-ups on matters related to Product definition. On their part, Hyderabad Angels will provide strategy, mentoring, and help to raise funds for the start-ups. IIIT-H: will extend technology mentoring support.
The State Government will aid in strengthening the CoE goals with industry-friendly IMAGE policies and may also consider providing grant-in-aid to meritorious start-ups.
Gaming Industry’s Market Potential
Year 2020 will see social interactive gaming and eSports become mainstream. India ranks fifth among the world’s top mobile gaming markets and is expected to move to the top 3 in the next 3 years. Mobile gaming is anticipated to be a $105Bn opportunity by 2023 and outpace China which is estimated to be at $73B. From 2MM gamers in 2016 to 100MM gamers by the end of 2019, the momentum will likely continue.
The average gamer spends 60 mins on mobile games with OTT platforms seeing 45 mins spent. Add to the fanatic user engagement is the repetitive behaviour where 40% of men and 35% of women play mobile games at least five days a week in India.
60% of online gamers are in the 18-24 age bracket who want to make quick money and also don’t hesitate to spend. Tencent’s PUBG makes a mind-boggling $7MM a month from India.
Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence Market Potential
According to a market research report, the global Artificial Intelligence (AI) market size in 2018 stood at USD 20.67 Billion, and it is projected to reach USD 202.57 billion by 2026. The report also stated AI based services to gain momentum during the forecast period in India also.
AI in Computer Vision Market Overview: AI in Computer Vision Market alone was valued at USD 3.32 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 68.11 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 46.64 % from 2019 to 2026.
The Computer Vision market is expected to reach approximately USD 48.32 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 31.65% from 2017 to 2023. The market has been divided into hardware and software, it is based on components, applications, verticals, and region. The rapid development of technology, declining chip prices, and with the growing connectivity are other major factors, for propelling computer vision technologies. APAC region is expected to hold the largest market size during the forecast period.

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Jensen Huang: Nvidia-powered gaming laptops will become the most popular gaming console – Blog – 10 minute

A hot potato: What will be the most popular game console over the next few years? The Xbox Series X? The PlayStation 5? The Switch? According to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, it’ll be none of these; he says gaming laptops featuring the company’s graphics cards will become “the largest game console in the world.”
In Nvidia’s Q4 earnings call, Huang compared gaming laptops powered by Nvidia hardware to consoles. “Our notebook business as Colette [Nvidia’s Chief Financial Officer] mentioned earlier, has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive quarters and this is unquestionably a new gaming category. Like it’s a new game console,” he said.
Huang obviously has a lot of faith in these PCs and believes they will become the most popular ‘game console’ around. “This is going to be the largest game console in the world I believe. And the reason for that is because there are more people with laptops than there are of any other device.”
While there’s going to be a lot of debate over whether a gaming laptop can be classified as a console, Huang has a point about the popularity of the devices. CFO Colette Kress said that retailers were stocking 125 laptop models featuring Nvidia’s graphics, up from 94 models the previous year. She added that the number of Max-Q designs had doubled.

Would you rather have one of these or a console?
“The fact that we’ve been able to get RTX into a thin and light notebook … is really a breakthrough. And it’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing such great success in notebook,” said Huang.
IDC reports that gaming notebooks continued to hold the largest share of the gaming device market in the second quarter of 2019 and grew 12.7 percent YoY. It’s estimated that 19.4 million gaming notebooks were shipped throughout last year, and that number is predicted to rise to 26.8 million by 2023.
Huang also talked about RTX tech and the lower price of the cheapest card—the RTX 2060, which recently had a $50 reduction. “One more thing about RTX, we finally have taken RTX down to $299. So, it’s now at the sweet spot of gaming. And so RTX is doing fantastic. The sell-through is fantastic all over the world.”

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Lenovo Legion Could Make The World’s First 5G Gaming Phone – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Lenovo.

A press image posted on Weibo implies that Lenovo is launching a gaming smartphone that uses Qualcomm’s 865 5G chip, reports My Broadband.
While the image is not yet confirmed to be completely genuine, it does show branding for Qualcomm’s 865 5G chip, otherwise known as Snapdragon, and indicates that Lenovo is planning on launching a Legion smartphone that supports 5G.
According to Tech Radar, the new Legion device is expected to offer high-end specifications such as improved cooling to maximize the Snapdragon 865’s clock speeds. This as well as new 120Hz refresh rates will completely optimize the phone for the newer mobile titles (especially those that have high graphical outputs) to run perfectly, titles like The Elder Scrolls: Blades.
A 5G connection, that boosts internet connections speeds and stability by a massive margin, could provide a big advantage during the rise of cloud gaming services – cloud gaming services being currently shackles by slow internet connections. With a 5G phone and unlimited data, gamers will be able to stream games more often and with better results.
Lenovo is also apparently thinking about launching more affordable gaming laptops in the South African market as the gaming market in SA is growing exponentially with Lenovo South Africa GM Thibault Dousson saying that the size and demand of the region have multiplied about 5 times in the last 2 years. Lenovo has “positioned a lot of products in the market” to match this growth.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Microsoft’s xCloud Gaming Services Comes to iOS but Apple is Making the Rules – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Cnet.

Microsoft, who has just recently announced a cloud gaming team-up with Samsung, has expanded its Project xCloud gaming service to iPhone as well, but the software colossus has had to abide by some of Apple’s stringent rules, meaning the service may not run or appear as it does on Android.
The beta of xCloud has been launched on iOS through Apple’s TestFlight service – which allows iPhone or iPad users the opportunity to try to test the xCloud service on their devices.
The Verge reports that it is the first time we’ve seen a cloud game streaming service on iOS since the days of the ill-fated OnLive in 2011. OnLive’s iOS app was never approved by Apple, and the service has since been forgotten with the company going defunct in 2012, and being liquidated in 2015.
Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now are likewise unavailable on Apple devices either, with neither company expecting any changes soon.
So Microsoft’s tweaks in order to “comply with App Store policies” might allow for the xCloud service to be the only long-term and successful cloud gaming app iOS has ever supported. However, Apple’s necessary tweaks have affected xCloud’s performance. Microsoft’s Larry Hryb writes, “the preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android.”
Apple’s nebulous policies and Microsoft’s tweaks, which remain unexplained, only allow for a single title to work with iOS devices for testing. Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Though packaged as a single game, the collection is in fact a bundle of all 7 major Halo games, including Halo 1 through 4 and spin-offs. The iOS app is limited to xCloud and does not include Xbox Game Streaming, which allows for games to be streamed straight from your console, similar to Playstation Now.
It remains unclear why Apple continues to restrict cloud gaming services. Google Stadia launched last year with an iOS app that doesn’t support streaming, and Microsoft seems hopeful that the xCloud’s current iOS beta testing will lead to Apple finally approving these types of apps.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Online gaming can lead to lasting friendships, and much more – Blog – 10 minute

Up for discussion: Online gaming is a pastime that many of us enjoy but for some, it can lead to lifelong bonds, romantic encounters and even marriage. Have you ever met someone special while gaming or know somebody that has? Feel free to chime in below!
I often turn to the Holstee Manifesto for inspiration. One particular line in the motivational poster – a framed copy of which hangs in my office at my nine o’clock – stands out. “If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”
One of the activities that I know a lot of TechSpot readers are into is online gaming and according to a recent survey from PubNub, it’s not uncommon for relationships of all sorts to blossom through this common interest.
In a survey of 500 gamers, PubNub found that 36 percent of respondents developed a lifelong friend through chat while gaming. More than 20 percent of those friendships have lasted at least five years and over three percent have persisted for more than two decades.

A full eight percent said they have found marriage or partnership via conversations had while gaming and 10 percent even admitted to having an affair that was sparked by gaming chat.
Monika Jurczyńska, a lifelong gamer and graphic designer, met her boyfriend of five years while playing Quake Live. “We now live together after I moved to Finland to be with him. The connection we have is strong, and if it wasn’t for the ability to chat through gaming, we never would have met and formed the bond we now have,” she said.
Whether or not a game offers a sound chat infrastructure can impact its overall success, too. More than 33 percent of players polled said good chat functionality can affect the likelihood of them playing a game.
Guy and Girl courtesy aslysun

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Samsung and Xbox Tease Cloud Gaming Co-Op | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Samsung’s Unpacked event was not without gaming news as the Korean tech juggernaut revealed that they would be teaming up with Microsoft on the video game front, reports CNET.
David Park, director of strategy at Samsung, speaking at the worldwide event, says that they are working with Xbox on a new “premium cloud-based game streaming experience”. He didn’t offer any more details, alluding only to future revelations about this new team project.
However, newer details via Video Game Chronicle, seemingly confirms that the service will be related in some way to Microsoft’s Project xCloud, another Cloud Gaming service that Microsoft is currently previewing – which is expected to release and tie-in with their new ninth-generation console, the Xbox Series X, later in 2020.
“We believe players around the world should have access to great, high-quality games on the device of their choice”, a Microsoft spokesperson is quoted by CNET via email. “Working with partners like Samsung is an important step in our Project xCloud journey and will help make game streaming more accessible to gamers. We look forward to sharing more later this year.”
Park also revealed that Microsoft’s Forza Street is coming to Galaxy devices via Android. The two-button racing game, which initially released last year to Windows, will no doubt be a visually stunning attraction for Android gamers. The game could be included in the line-up for the new gaming service.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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The Future of Tech: Gaming Consoles, the Xbox and PlayStation of Tomorrow – Blog – 10 minute

Consoles have come a very long way since the arrival of first-generation machines from Atari and Coleco in the seventies. Even the original PlayStation (1994) and Xbox (2001) look dated compared to the 4K/HDR-capable machines of today, and that divide will grow even larger once the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X arrive at the end of 2020.
But what about the future?
More than once console makers have tried to break new ground, by focusing on functionality beyond gaming, but for the most part those attempts have failed. Nintendo has found the most success with specialized hardware that still focuses on games first, while Sony and Microsoft have seemingly understood that building powerful general purpose machines that are akin to PCs is their best and safest bet. Not unlike PCs, it’s that fast hardware that has let them update their consoles accordingly to the times, adapting and adding features via software updates throughout the consoles’ lifecycle.
So, how much more advanced will the next-next-gen consoles look next to the upcoming machines from Sony and Microsoft? In the second of our “Future of Tech” series, we predict what hardware the PS6 and Xbox series Z (placeholder names) might sport.
The processor: 3nm or smaller?

AMD is providing the computational and graphical power for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Sony and Microsoft have confirmed their consoles will feature a custom, eight-core CPU based on the 7nm Zen 2 architecture. The Xbox Series X promises performance four times that of the Xbox One X, so expect something similar from the PS5.
Looking to the future, the main question is whether console makers will stick with AMD or turn to Nvidia or Intel for their processors. Judging from recent history, Team Red will likely remain the manufacturer of choice when it comes to providing the hardware.
AMD is rumored to launch its Zen 4 consumer processors in 2021 or 2022 — it’s said to be one of the first three companies locked in by TSMC for the manufacturer’s 5nm process. And while AMD hasn’t revealed any long-term roadmaps, TSMC has already started to focus on manufacturing 3nm process nodes and beyond — the Taiwan firm has started construction on its $19.5 billion fab that will manufacture 3nm chips, which are scheduled for mass production in 2023.
While there will doubtlessly be problems to overcome when going so small, expect the technology to appear in future PCs, mobile devices, and consoles, bringing with it high-efficiency performance and low power draw. With console generations lasting between five and eight years, 3nm could be the standard by the time the next generation of consoles arrive.
A dedicated discrete GPU, faster refresh rates as the norm

Xbox Series X and PS5 come with GPUs from the Radeon Navi family, with Sony’s machine said to feature 36 compute units running at 2,000MHz, while its rival reportedly has 56 units at 1,700MHz. Despite technological advancements, many console games are still locked at 30 fps — something PC gamers won’t stand for. With the next-gen machines, we’re promised 120 fps at 4K, 8K support, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate (VRR).
While more TVs support 120 fps+ and VRR, these are still a relatively new addition to home televisions, and the number of 8K sets owned by consumers is minimal owing to their very high price and lack of content. The PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely encourage more people to invest in high-end TVs, but will everyone eventually follow?
4K televisions are only just becoming the standard in most countries. Technology moves fast, but it’s hard to imagine that in, say, 10 years, 8K will be as popular as 4K TVs are today, yet tomorrow’s consoles may offer 8K at refresh rates higher than 60 fps.
The machines may even support 16K — a resolution Sony already offers in its Crystal LED display system and is supported by DisplayPort 2.0 (at 60 fps). This will obviously require a monstrously powerful graphics processor and could even result in the first console to have a dedicated GPU.
Custom graphics options, PC-style

One of the biggest advantages PC gamers have always had over their console cousins is the slew of graphical options offered by games. Resolutions, textures, aspect ratios, effects, frame rate caps, they can all be altered in the majority of PC titles, but with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, it’s usually a choice between ‘Performance’ or ‘Quality.’ That, however, could change.
Samsung has confirmed it is “pushing” Microsoft for the Xbox to support widescreen monitors, which are becoming increasingly popular among PC gamers. It might arrive as a feature of the Xbox Series X, but if not, expect it, and many other settings, to be part of the machine’s successor, especially as Microsoft strives to make its consoles more like PCs.
The main reason for having graphics settings on PCs is because of the differences in each system, meaning those with beastly rigs can set everything to max, while potato-owners can drop things to Minecraft-style levels (without the ray tracing). So why include them in consoles? It could allow for much higher frame rates. Those who want 60 fps+ at 8K on the console of the future can lower the textures. Or maybe they’ll be happy dropping to [email protected] fps with full effects enabled. Whatever happens, more ample options are always a good thing.
Fast storage = Shorter loading times

Loading times have been one of the worst elements of modern consoles, but this year they’ll feature a big upgrade to PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives. It’s difficult to predict what the future will hold in this area, but we can at least expect to see capacity and speeds improve over the coming years as hardware costs drop.
As we wrote in our Future of Tech: The Desktop PC feature, it’s also possible that the consoles of the future may rely on the cloud for their storage needs — the machines do often follow in the footsteps of their PC counterparts, after all.
As multi-gigabit internet plans start to become the norm, we might see the next-next-gen consoles storing most of their content in the cloud, while featuring smaller capacity but super-fast local storage. They could even use universal storage such as UltraRAM, which combines the best aspects of flash storage and DRAM into one.
Virtual reality accessories. Sony: Yes. Microsoft: Who knows.

Virtual reality has been a relative success on Sony’s current console, thanks to its popular PSVR, and that commitment will continue with the PS5 where a PSVR 2 release is expected. Conversely, Microsoft has said VR won’t be a focus for the Xbox Series X — Phil Spencer, the software giant’s VP of Gaming believes “nobody is asking for virtual reality.”
After some stagnation, VR headsets have improved drastically in recent times, with cutting-edge units such as the Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, and HTC Vive Cosmos. We can expect to see the technology to keep improving with per-eye resolutions of 4K and above, 165Hz+ refresh rates, and better controllers that offer more interaction. But the most compelling feature will be for these headsets to connect to a console wirelessly — a technical challenge, but it could be a game-changer for the industry. It’s rumored that the PSVR 2 will have this ability, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Whether Microsoft does finally embrace VR on its consoles remains to be seen — it could all depend on whether headsets experience a surge in popularity and some must-have games are made. But one thing’s for certain: the prospect of ultra-immersive VR gaming is certainly something to look forward to.
Will there still be physical copies of games?

It’s long been said that physical games will disappear completely, replaced with their digital versions. It’s almost happened on the PC, so shouldn’t consoles go down the same path in a few years?
Microsoft has tried this already with the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (above), which omits the standard 4K Blu-ray drive, relying on digital downloads only. While it’s $50 cheaper than a regular Xbox One S, it hasn’t set the world on fire. Many believe its price should be lower, especially as it removes the option of buying cheaper, second-hand games from stores.
While not everyone is a fan of disc-free consoles, it’s appears to be the direction the industry is going. Games-on-demand subscription services such as the Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are gaining popularity, companies are pouring millions into their streaming services, and more console owners are purchasing games digitally rather than going out and buying a physical copy. The same thing is happening with digital TV shows and movies, which are eroding the DVD and Blu-ray market rapidly.
In 2018, a few analysts predicted that all games would be digital by 2022. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will ship with disc drives though, so that’s not going to happen, but it’s not unrealistic to think that discs and cartridges will have gone the way of the VHS tape by the time 2030 rolls around. If they are still with us, perhaps an 8K disk drive will have become the standard for consoles.
Controllers & add-ons: Bring back the lightguns!

Nintendo has been the major driver of innovation here for the past couple of generations, but in the case of Sony and Microsoft’s console controllers, other than some minor changes and a few extra bells and whistles, they are not very different from their predecessors — and we’ll likely find the same thing in the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
A drastic design change for future consoles is unlikely. We can expect to see certain improvements such as better connections, improved battery life, and a few new features, but they’ll still be recognizable as a PlayStation/Xbox controller.
What we’ll probably get, however, are some new accessories. Remember when Guitar Hero ruled the world before the genre faded away? Advancing technology will mean new, innovative products of the same ilk. How about full bodysuit controllers that work in conjunction with VR?
A gaming chair that can simulate G-Force (like a more practical version of this)? And, it might not be innovative, but we’d like to see the return of lightguns — imagine how technically advanced they could be, while sitting in front of today’s inexpensive 70-plus-inch TVs. And yet, many console owners would probably settle for better mouse and keyboard support.
Design and looks

The design of consoles tends to be influenced by their hardware. We know the Xbox Series X looks like a small form factor PC, but we’ve only seen the PS5’s alleged dev kit, and those often differ vastly from the final product.
The Xbox Series X’s size is almost double the volume of the Xbox One X, and it’s said to pack the largest console processor ever made at around 405mm, which is about 11 percent larger than the one found in the Xbox One X. Microsoft’s upcoming console is hefty, but high-end hardware needs high-end cooling — the company doesn’t want another Red Ring of Death horror show.
Historically, consoles had been considered smaller and more discreet than PCs, but with increasingly small form-factor computers packing the likes of RTX 2080 Ti cards, that’s no longer the case. So, will future consoles get even bigger?
With Microsoft’s years-long quest to close the gap between console and PC, it’s likely that a future version of the Xbox will be slightly larger, especially if — as mentioned in the previous section — a dedicated discrete GPU is finally introduced. We could, however, see Microsoft repeat what it did with the Xbox One and introduce later iterations that are smaller (Xbox One S/Xbox One X).

Future PlayStation designs are harder to predict, especially if the PS5 dev kit does bear any resemblance to the console’s final design. Barring the original PlayStation, the console has always maintained a similar rectangular shape. It’s likely that Sony will keep with that style rather than going the PC-esque route; if the PlayStation 5 logo is anything to go by, the company’s not one for major design changes.
Additionally, Sony has released “slim” versions of its consoles since the PS2, so don’t be surprised to see that trend continue.
Game streaming… the future?

Most game streaming services are in their infancy, which means we’re still seeing plenty of teething problems, but we can expect the industry to grow and improve as internet speeds and the technology powering the likes of Google Stadia improve.
But will consoles go the same way? A few years back there were rumors that part of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox lineup would include a streaming-only version of the console, one that was less powerful but a lot cheaper than the Xbox Series X. Phil Spencer put those rumors to rest in 2019, but perhaps there will be a streaming-only option offered alongside a future machine — assuming the game streaming industry doesn’t collapse.
It’s certainly interesting to think how streaming will influence machines of the future. In our PC feature, we predicted the rise of a desktop PC as a dumb machine with limited capabilities, the heavy processing work being carried out in the cloud and streamed back to the machine — which could mean cheap PCs that perform better than what we have today.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2018 said that within the next ten years, game streaming would replace all platforms, eliminating the need for distinct gaming hardware. That does seem highly unlikely, and right now developers are focusing much more on next-gen consoles than streaming services, but then many people thought video streaming wouldn’t kill off much of the physical media market — and look what happened there.
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3 Reasons why Cloud Gaming Devices will fail, for nowIT News Africa – Up to date technology news, IT news, Digital news, Telecom news, Mobile news, Gadgets news, Analysis and Reports – Blog – 10 minute

February 6, 2020 • Cloud Computing, Gadgets and Gaming, Top Stories
The future of gaming is… Now?
According to several articles reviewing the latest and greatest Cloud Gaming device releases, such as the Nvidia Geforce Now and the highly publicized Google Stadia, the consensus is all very similar. The sentiment is usually summed up with “We’re not quite there yet”.
It is a technological wonder at all that these devices are even working to begin with, but it may still be too early in their development to find any actual hold on the market that is dominated with in-house, disk-driven consoles and the undeniable reliability of the personal computer.

Images sourced from Tech Radar and Game Revolution.

Here are 3 reasons why Cloud Gaming isn’t going to be anything huge just yet:
1. You need a good internet connection:
The basic premise of all Cloud Gaming devices hinges on the fact that the gameplay can be streamed real-time from a cloud service to your display device of choice, be that a PC or otherwise. This, coupled with the need for the player to be able to actually – play – the game, that is, affect what is happening on the screen simultaneously as it is streamed. This is a tall order, one facilitated by the quality of one’s internet connection.
According to Android Authority, the Google Stadia requires a minimum internet speed of 10Mbps to be able to play any Stadia title at all, and at that, you will only be able to play it at a resolution of 720p with normal stereo sound.
The Nvidia Geforce needs a minimum of 15Mbps for 720p. You also require a hardwired Ethernet connection or 5GHz wireless router.
While 10Mbps is the average internet speed in South African homes and 15mbps is the average speed of South African mobile phones, most SA gamers could be dissuaded by the lacking visuals, stutter-ridden gameplay and steep pricing, and while other countries, such as in Europe, the average internet connection speed is far higher, countries in the Middle-East and South America, and even the United States, will most likely be unable to play the Stadia in no comparable way to modern consoles or PCs, at least for some time.
Speed isn’t everything either, with the consistency of connection and more importantly – Data caps being the ultimate litmus tests. With the internet connections of many South African homes and smartphones capped at specific data usage totals, it will likely be improbable to support streaming from the Cloud for any reasonable length on time, especially as the Stadia consumes 6.5 – 11.5GB of data an hour on its highest settings, that amount plus all your other data usages can effectively cripple your internet sometime in the beginning of the month.
2. There are still very Reliable Alternatives:
The Playstation 2 is now the highest-selling console of all time, and a part of its success comes from its reliability – its reliability to serve as a plug-and-play alternative to PC, its reliability to release the most important or sought after titles again and again.
The Google Stadia lacks in this department, as Sean Hollister of the Verge writes in his review, “All you need is a decent internet connection, a good Wi-Fi router, and your pick of Google’s Chromecast Ultra Dongle, Pixel phone, or the Chrome web browser on a laptop or desktop. Oh, and a lot of patience”. Many could be dissuaded by the Stadia’s list of set-up instructions, or the unreliable graphics or stuttering gameplay. Even the Geforce Now seems cursed with performance issues, issues that are non-existent in the very same titles running on the PS4, PC or Xbox One.
Modern consoles may be more expensive than the starting asking price for the Google Stadia as of right now (Google does plan on making the Stadia free and only charging a monthly subscription on top, similar to how Nvidia’s Geforce Now is working), with the Playstation 4 retailing at almost double the price of the Stadia, but internet isn’t required for most games. Gamers have also grown attached to the plug-and-play sensibilities of modern consoles, and the concrete-in-your-hands feel of buying an actual game.
There are rumbles about the dangers of Google simply closing the door on Stadia if it doesn’t push enough units or something bigger and better blows it out of the water. Products like Google Buzz, Google Glass, Google Plus and Youtube Music have all fallen to the wayside with Google no longer supporting them.  If the Stadia is abandoned, what happens to all of your games? Your saves?
The Geforce Now fills in this gap, using your existing library as its library of games – allowing you to play your games from anywhere on anything – smartphone, laptop, etc. – if it were to be abandoned by Nvidia your games remain with you. It is worth noting that Sony has only recently begun dropping support of the Playstation 3, a console that was released in 2006.
3. Competition:
Gaming is a highly competitive market, with game releases scheduled around each other to allow the best competitive advantages, and passionate fans zealously sticking to their favourite consoles and gaming devices, newcomers to the market like Stadia and Geforce Now will have to deal with tenured veterans dipping their toes in Cloud Gaming, like Sony’s Playstation Now and Microsoft’s xCloud. Support for these developers already has a stronger base. To stand out in such a competitive market, companies hoping to get their Cloud Gaming system up and over will have to make quite a large and consistent splash, something that has yet to occur.
Competition could see only one, or even none of the upcoming cloud gaming services find homes in the market, with the monopoly set firmly on in-house devices.
Prepare for the future
All of the above points come with a simple caveat:
“For now”.
Technological advancements could see internet restrictions be lessened immeasurably. With the way human beings are heading towards a more integrated world where immediate satisfaction is king, it is no stretch of the imagination to say that Cloud Gaming will be a thing and it will be huge, whether some die-hard purists like it or not.
The only thing stopping pioneering companies is time.
By Luis Monzon
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Nvidia opens next chapter of cloud gaming with GeForce Now, set to challenge Google’s Stadia – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Cloud-based gaming is expected to be one of the most important trends of the new decade. Not only does it offer the potential to drive large amounts of income for many different companies, the technical demands required are going to have a big impact across a number of different areas. Everything from cloud-based computing services, to 5G and other wireless network infrastructure, to individual device components and architectures are now being optimized to enable high-quality, cloud-based gaming services.
It’s not often you find something that people do just for fun to be tremendously impactful from both a revenue and technology perspective, but that’s exactly the case for the many options that people are going to have for playing games over the internet.
Gaming has become a huge global phenomenon, and interest in gaming across multiple devices has grown tremendously—a point that my 2019 study on Multi-Device Gaming made abundantly clear (see “PCs and Smartphones Duke it Out for Gaming Champion” for more). As a result, companies are eager to create solutions that can tap into the enormous interest in gaming in a way that gives consumers more flexibility (and better performance) than they’ve had before.
Not surprisingly, graphics chip leader Nvidia has been involved with several of these efforts, but none as directly as its own GeForce Now game streaming service, which just became generally available across the US and several other nations around the world starting today.
The basic idea with GeForce Now—which has been in a private beta period for several years—is that it enables people to play high-quality, graphically intensive PC games across a range of different devices including PCs, Macs, Android Phones, Nvidia’s own Shield device, and certain smart TVs via an internet connection. Support for Chrome-based devices is expected later this year.

Importantly, the games are running on cloud-based servers in Nvidia’s (or a few regional partners’) own dedicated data centers and are powered by the company’s high-end GeForce GPUs. As a result, the quality of the gaming experience is nearly what you’d expect it to be on one of today’s best dedicated gaming PCs. However, you can achieve that quality consistently on any of the different device types—even on older devices without any dedicated graphics acceleration hardware. Plus, you have the ability to start a game on one device and then pick up where you left off on another one, a capability that my previously mentioned research suggests is eagerly prized by many gamers.
Technologically, Nvidia is leveraging its ability to virtualize GPUs in its data centers and is using a variety of compression techniques and screen-sharing protocols to deliver remote access to its super-powered cloud-based computers. One nice improvement that the company is bringing to the GeForce Now service with its public launch is the ability to support its RTX real-time ray tracing technology (in games that use it). Until now, that capability has only been found in their highest end graphics cards, like the RTX 2080, so this should bring it to a much wider audience.
Nvidia is taking an interesting, and different, approach to the games available on the GeForce Now platform than some of the other cloud-based game services that have been announced. Because it’s actually running PC games on PC hardware, it allows customers of the service to play their existing library of PC games—they simply have to provide proof of ownership of the title and they can access it via their GeForce account. In addition, there are hundreds of free-to-play games, and consumers can use their existing PC game store accounts. Also, because it’s all being stored and run in the cloud, game patches and driver updates (two common banes of PC gamers’ existence) are taken care of automatically, without any interventions on the user’s part. In other words, Nvidia is trying to make the process of using the service as seamless as possible for both casual and hardcore PC gamers.

From a pricing perspective, the company is providing two options with its public launch. You can have an unlimited number of up to 1 hour gaming sessions for free, or you can sign-up for the $4.99/month Founders account (the first three months are free), which gives you priority access to the service, lets you have up to 6-hour sessions, and turns on the RTX ray-tracing support.
In some ways, you could argue that GeForce Now is a bit of a risky business proposition for Nvidia, because, if enough consumers find the service to be sufficient for their needs, they could end up buying less dedicated gaming hardware. Plus, given the high cost of building out and maintaining the data centers necessary to run GeForce Now, especially in comparison to its very low pricing, it seems like profitability could be a challenge—at least initially.
Ultimately, though, Nvidia seems confident that GeForce Now won’t replace dedicated gaming PCs for hard-core gamers and could even entice more casual gamers to better appreciate what high-quality PC gaming experiences can enable, which may in turn get them to purchase their own dedicated PC gaming rigs as well. If that proves to be the case, it could end up being a nice bit of incremental revenue as well as a technological showcase for what the best of PC gaming can offer.
Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting and market research firm. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech. This article was originally published on Tech.pinions.

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Facebook Gaming unveils tools for streamers to fight online trolls – Blog – 10 minute

Cutting corners: Watching streamers can be fun except when internet trolls try to disrupt the fun. Facebook is trying to give video creators more power to enforce community standards to make watching a little more bearable for most people. Tools include the ability set up rules ahead of time that viewers must accept before posting. Violators can be muted or banned while given notice as to why they were banned.
Those who have spent any time in Twitch streams or even YouTube comments know how toxic some communities can be. Facebook is hoping to combat trolls by empowering streamers with tools to enforce community rules. The social media giant partnered with the Fair Play Alliance to set rules and guidelines that streamers can use.
The tools include a dashboard that features a ‘Chat Rules’ button which will allow streamers to access the chat rules, make them more visible, and provide a baseline of eight rules to start with. Facebook says those will expand and update based on the feedback it gets from content creators. The feature will roll out to a limited set of users first before it’s available to everyone in the coming months. The rules include:

Be accepting: Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, or ability.
Respect boundaries: Don’t make advances or comments on appearance that might make someone uncomfortable.
Don’t criticize: We all have different styles — don’t judge someone’s gameplay or game choice.
Don’t be rude: Don’t intentionally provoke, threaten or insult anyone. We’re all here to have fun.
Don’t flood the chat: Keep the conversation going, but don’t repeatedly send the same comments
Don’t self promote: We’re not here for a sales pitch. Stay focused on the stream
Keep it clean: If it’s shocking, obscene, vulgar or inflammatory, leave it out.
No profanity

Content creators can create custom descriptions to show along the guidelines for participating in the chat. Viewers will have to accept the rules before they can leave a comment. However, if someone breaks the rules, creators can immediately remove the person along with all of their comments. Additionally, moderators can give feedback to the banned person about which rules were violated.
There is also a new moderation dashboard that helps mods remove harmful comments, mute trouble-making viewers for a short time or just outright ban them. Banned viewers will still be able to watch the stream but will be unable to comment or react.

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