Server-side rendering to push gaming to the cloud

Generally when something gets pushed to "the cloud", it seems the user experience gets depreciated or new limitations arise. Adobe Flash based games have been a step in the direction of the cloud, being at least delivered from the cloud but run locally. Quality of Flash games have gotten better, although I wouldn't equate them with high intensity DirectX PC games. And in any case, you need a platform which supports Flash.

Then along comes this idea of server-side rendering, using the browser as the canvas. This opens a whole new dimension for cloud gaming, virtual environments and other interactive 3D usage, whereby the rendering computation cannot be done ahead of time. Check out, for example, this excellent article about OTOY. What makes server-side rendering very interesting, is that it can unleash rendering capacity far greater than the CPU and GPU capabilities on the consumer device. So for example, if you're enjoying a game on a smartphone, the rendering might be parallelized across an array of servers and high-end graphics cards, giving resolution and effects quality not even remotely attainable otherwise on the smartphone (and certainly not within it's power envelope).

Making this all work of course, presupposes respectable networking bandwidth and latency. But offering respectable networking infrastructure pervasively, should be on top of any nation's list...

I believe this could really transform gaming and virtual world environments, truly pushing them to the cloud while making them accessible to many consumer devices. It could also re-shape game portals, allowing users to try and play any number of high-intensity games without any install or strict hardware requirements.

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