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Web 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons

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Cloud Expo: Interview

Cloud Computing Key to Global Online Game Growth

Analyst & Producer Les Thomas Offers Some Views

Gamers are overlooked by enterprise IT managers as fonts of wisdom about high-end computing. Yet the world of online computer games-particularly MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games) and MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games)--represent very complex computing challenges.

With tens of thousands of players online simultaneously in some instances, the games' administrators often face challenges above that of the typical IT department.

I recently went back and forth a bit with Les Thomas, a gamer, videogame journalist (Nintendo World Report & Critical Gamer UK) and analyst. Les recently added the title of producer to his portfolio, as he works with science-fiction and action/adventure film legend Sybil Danning on a Cloud videogame.

I caught up with him just after he had attended the annual CES in Las Vegas, where the gaming industry was part of the multi-ring circus.

"Gaming needs to be a worldwide affair, no matter the discrepancies in standard," he told me. "(And) Cloud is the most viable choice for developing nations."

"(In general), MMOGs have legs I would say," he added. "So many analysts are yelling 'browser, browser, browser,' as if it's a cinch for the next generation in gaming," ie, as if games delivered straight through the "thin" medium of browsers are going to seriously compete with current online leaders and their thick, downloaded interface software.

"(But) the possibility of cloud gaming and expansive MMOGs is to increase the area of play exponentially," he said. "And really, only Cloud gaming can effectively meet this need."

The key to MMORPGs success today is that people pay for them, first for the installation software (typically about $20), then for monthly service (typically about $15). So their multi-million-dollar development and operating costs are funded by upfront cash from their users; a nice, old-fashioned business model.

I'll follow-up with Les to get his views on Cloud business models within the gaming world, and how they might work.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.