From GeForce to Stadia to xCloud, cloud gaming promises a lot for the future of how we play games: a streamlined experience without the need for costly hardware, timely installation, or tricksy updates. However, as Josh noticed when he attended a Stadia show and tell last year, cloud gaming is shackled by issues with latency. Fog Gaming, the new cloud gaming service set up by Sega, might be able to bypass this with the company’s revolutionary research and development.
Frontline has picked apart the report about Sega’s new service found in the latest issue of Famitsu, and the impressions are… impressive. “The [latency] seen by players is a result of the cloud being too far away from them: the physical distance between players and data centers,” it explained. As a result, Sega’s aim is to bring the “cloud” closer to the players, turning it into a “fog,” by renovating old arcades into makeshift data centres. In doing so, the machines inside the arcades, most of which are already computers with network capabilities, would become cloud computers.
Sega apparently owns or is affiliated with approximately 200 arcades in Japan, and there are more than 4,000 arcades in the country in total. Nevertheless, the column in Famitsu also states that the process to get Fog Gaming going would not be quite as easy as renovating arcade machines. These old machines will require the development of next-generation arcade system boards, which would be prototyped and finalised in the next year or so.
Regardless of the time taken to get the service off the ground, the column also suggests that Sega wants to offer the Fog technology to new industries, not just gaming. This would see these repurposed arcades used not just as a means for speedy cloud gaming for Sega and other game companies, but as data centres for other purposes, such as virtual machines for businesses, or render farms.
It sounds pretty darn cool if you ask me. Yet, this technology is only fiscally feasible in countries with a lot of video game arcades. Seeing as Fog Gaming is in its infancy, we’ll keep you updated when we know more about the cloud gaming service.