Google Chrome to do Console Gaming – OnLive and Steam in the Cloudy Post-Console Era

Google Chrome is now the No. 2 go-to Browser online, recently surpassing Mozilla Firefox as per the note by fellow blogger Kelroy in Chrome overtakes Firefox to Become World’s 2nd most Popular Browser. So what’s a browser to do, now that they are slowly cruising to ward the inevitable No. 1 spot, currently held by Internet Explorer according to Ireland-based research firm StatCounter ?

How’s about Console Gaming, with titles exclusively launched on the Google Chrome browser!! Sounds no different from the regular fare, you snort, thinking of Facebook Games like FarmVille or even Plants vs Zombies. Or even of Minecraft, of which I did my homage in the article MineCraft – Indie hit is Social Gaming’s Cinderella.

But you would be wrong, dear reader, as these popular Web-based examples are coded specific for the low-resolution low-intensity Gaming environment of the Web, non-gaming PC’s and Browsers, which is mainly JavaScript, HTML and CGI Perl scripting. This is very, VERY different, as it may mark the entry of the Search Giant into the Cloud Gaming space that I had predicted in my article Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds would be the ultimate saviour of Console Games.

Already Steam and Onlive have made their indelible mark in this arena since 2010AD, bringing classic Console games with the same level of graphics and experience to browsers all over the world and heralded as the future of Console Gaming via the cloud emulated in all its fulsome glory on a PC.

But though they [Steam and OnLive] are first to the Cloud Gaming arena, these foreshadowers of the future of Console Gaming lack a full integration and playability of games in the browsers and PC’s upon which they are ported.

And EA Games has been fighting back since June 2011AD by launching its answer to the Steam (and should I say Cloud Gaming?) threat in the form of Origins, their answer to Steam’s Cloud Gaming and PC Game Downloading service model to which many Game Developers are flocking, now threatening the very existence of Console Gaming.

At the same time, EA Games, a heavy-hitter in the Game Development arena for Consoles and Handhelds, have already dipped their toes into the Casual Gaming world. Their latest move: making a US$30 a year subscription Freemium version of the classic Tetris by Russian Game developer Alexi Pashitnov available on Apple iOS and Google Android OS for Apple iPhones, smartphones and Tablets as noted in my article EA’s Tetris on a US$30 yearly subscription: VIP for Casual & Smartphone Gaming Addicts.

Thus with EA’s troubles, Google saw an opportunity with their Google Chrome Browser and decided to jump into the Console Gaming melee like a screaming banshee.

Announcing the upgrade to the Google Chrome Browser recently at their Mountain View Headquarters in California, they also made it known that they have made partnerships with Console game makers such as Square Enix, Bungie and Unity Technologies for the exclusive release of Console Games playable in all their intense graphics glory via their Google Chrome Browser.

In essence, Google is now a Cloud Gaming platform like Steam and OnLive. But unlike these two 92), they have both the gaming Developer partnerships as well as the Platform, that being their now No. 2 Browser, Google Chrome.

They have been able to achieve this technical feat by upgrading their latest release of Google Chrome, aptly titled Google Chrome 14, with Native Language support for C++ and C, the languages most Console Games are coded. This Native Client support is to allow Console Games made by Google’s partners-in-crime to run without the game makers having to port their games to HTML or JavaScript. In essence, you are playing Cloud Versions of Console games without the inherent weaknesses of these web scripting languages.

And just as I had said, a lot like Steam and more a like OnLive, but with support at BOTH ends of the Cloud Gaming platform i.e. at the Browsers or Client End and at the Cloud Gaming Server end!

How sweet is that, Google Ice Cream Sandwich Style!

Square Enix CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Yoichi Wada during the Native Client Event at Google Headquarters gushes with the strength of conviction on the announcement by Google Chrome’s 14’s inclusion of Native Client, quote: “Gaming in the browser greatly expands the video game market to new consumers, devices and platforms. Native Client enables the same consumer experience in the browser as in a native application. With the power of this technology, Square Enix is pushing the boundaries of the browser Gaming market to include high quality games in addition to our popular portfolio of casual games.”

For those with their heads stuck in the Clouds, Square Enix, the creative geniuses behind Dragonquest and Final Fantasy series, plans to debut Mini Ninjas RPG, a 2009AD release on Consoles now coming on the Google Chrome 14 with Native Client support.

Thus if you PC is Quad-Core and is up to snuff, it can run these Cloud Based Console Games with little effort, making you wonder why would you want to buy a Gaming Console in the first place.

With more titles in the pipeline from Square Enix for this new platform sometime in 2012, one wonders how long this will be before Consoles are extinct, as appears to be the case with Portable Games the musing of my article Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets: Post – Portable Gaming Era, proving Hideo Kojima, a developer of video games for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) for the last twenty five (25) years and the Creator of the Metal Gear Solid series (1987) to be spot on in his prediction of Gaming anytime, anyplace.

But with Google Chrome OS on ChromeBooks, could the next major evolution of the Cloud Based NC (Networking Computers) that have the finish of expensive plastic toys, now celebrating their one year anniversary be as a Cloud Gaming Console?

And with Digicel Cloud Service now active in Jamaica, set to make Landline and PBX (Private Branch Exchange) extinct as per my article Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct, could Cloud Gaming be the next low hanging fruit for Digicel to port over their lackluster 10MBps 4G Broadband Network?

More reason why I dream of a Google ChromeBook this Christmas as note in my Christmas List article Yapper Zapper is the illegal must-have gift for the New Year, as the Gaming’s gonna be sweet on a device that can be both a work Laptop and a Cloud Gaming Platform. And there is already word of the coming of Google Chrome OS Tablets……but that is speculation for yet another article……

Stay tuned to the Geezam Blog and find out as the Chrome Browser is now No. 2 and the Chromebook celebrates is 1st anniversary since launch in December of 2010AD !!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.