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Cloud computing may curb video game piracy

By Sindya Bhanoo, The Industry Standard
March 26, 2009 06:50 PM ET

The Industry Standard - Cloud computing is best known for enabling small companies and start-ups to scale in an affordable way. The technology allows companies to access computing power and resources through the Internet, and pay for services based on usage.

The world of gaming, though, may reap an additional benefit from cloud computing: piracy protection.

If computers games were purely Internet-based, utilizing the power of cloud computing, then there would be no need to sell software or download programs, according to Denis Dyack, the founder of Silicon Knights, a video game developer. Dyack made the comment Tuesday during a panel discussion at GamesBeat 2009. Unlike the current industry model, in which games depend on PC or console processing, the cloud computing paradigm would enable users to play games using processing resources accessed over the Internet.

"The concept of the cloud is the future," Dyack said. "It's a fundamental shift."

In addition, downloadable games and game discs would be replaced with paid, online services. This could curb video game piracy that is rampant in some parts of the world. "It prevents piracy when you have countries like China and other countries in Asia that have very different rules about [intellectual property]," Dyack said. "There's nothing to download."

Dyack is not the only person thinking about cloud-based gaming. At this week's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, a company called OnLive announced the launch of a cloud computing-based gaming system that will allow players to access games instantly from any Mac or PC. OnLive has signed on major video game content providers to provide games for the system, including Electronic Arts, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Epic Games. The service will be available beginning this winter.

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