What if Nvidia subsidized PC gaming?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by fathamburger, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. fathamburger

    fathamburger New Member

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    I came up with this on another forum, but I've been doing the rounds and reconnecting with a lot of my old friends in other countries. Countries not named the United States of Americaland or Japan who are more or less ex-hardcore gamers now. Maybe mainstream gamer might be a better term, they played some of the same games, but didn't care enough to argue about them on the internet and don't know who Peter Molyneux is. Aaaanyway, Ive noticed that there is a bit of a perception that one *should* steal PC enginefest games just because of a) made in America/some far-away-land-that-is-not-us so it is harmless b) they have to pay so much in video card costs and upgrades that the games should be 'free'.

    It's the b) that interested me. The attitude is that the developers are more or less in the pockets of the video card manufacturers and are just extended employees. It's true that Nvidia sells cards because developers make games that require them and were profiting even as everyone was paying for the cards but pirating the games. What if instead, gamers paid a subscription fee to Nvidia for a regular supply of PC games, but Nvidia in turn subsidizes PC development and the fee may also help to reduce the cost of the cards, or maybe they could even give away the cards eventually and sell the games if the subscription revenue becomes high enough.

    Would you guys pay?
     
  2. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    b) is just bullshit dreamt up by people who want to feel good about theft. Nobody forces you to have a stupidly fast SLI video card setup.
     
  3. GeneralGrant

    GeneralGrant New Member

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    So instead of a publisher deciding which games to greenlight now Nvidia is basically doing that because they choose which games to subsidize? If so, I can’t see Nvidia greenlighting games that don’t require the very latest hardware because what would they gain by that? So we get more games focusing all effort on graphics and none on gameplay. Yes, yes I know this is a very old complaint of today’s games but I don’t see Nvidia stepping in and promoting gameplay over graphics.
     
  4. fathamburger

    fathamburger New Member

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    I mostly agree with you GeneralGrant but along these lines I was thinking about *how* the financial model might work for those poor sods who slave away on engines aiming to only cater to 1-2% of the market :) and in general the trickle down effect of keeping PC game quality up. Right now I think we're all forced to cater to Intel GMA 950's and at the highest maybe a 6600 if we want to sell.
     
  5. Spore Man

    Indie Author

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    The real future of gaming will be centralized gaming servers delivering the rendering in real-time to your TV or PC screen. Your hardware won't matter anymore, just a net connection fast enough to support 60 fps video, and an interface to send your control input to the server.

    Think I'm joking? Let's talk in 10 years.
     
  6. Rainer Deyke

    Indie Author

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    Nvidia has to make their profit somewhere. If they use profits from their graphics cards to subsidize games, then their graphics cards will become even less affordable. If they use profits from a game subscription service to subsidize their graphics cards, the games will be even less affordable.

    Either way, I won't pay for a game subscription service that's mostly games I don't like, just like I won't pay for Nvidia's ridiculously expensive state-of-the-art graphics hardware.
     
  7. vjvj

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    Not to mention that the whole "I don't have $500 for a new video card" excuse is bullshit, anyway.

    No one needs to spend over $200 for a video card. I routinely purchase $150 video cards and I primarily program graphics for chrissakes.

    Even the po' folks can buy a sub-$100 card and run games at acceptable/playable settings.

    Of course NVIDIA loves the margins that they make on the high-end hardware, but they know that's a small market. They make a crapload of money off of $150 class hardware (6600, 7600, 8600, etc.), and are in a heated battle with Intel for the low-end.

    Ok, sorry for rambling. It's a pet peeve of mine :)
     
  8. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I don't think you are joking but I don't believe time will prove you prophetic.

    I'm betting a bacon cheeseburger, gravy on my fries and a chocolate milkshake that the summer of 2018 doesn't have the majority of PC gamers getting their games via a video feed from a centralized game server. I drive past Ontario twice every summer and figure we could meet somewhere in the middle or just Paypal the winner the cash or send the other a Mr. Mikes gift card. Are we on?
     
  9. princec

    Indie Author

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    That's not entirely as far-fetched as it sounds... if cable can deliver streaming video to individual televisions, it can probably do the same for computer games. The real question is whether anyone's going to actually want it that way. I wouldn't - my gaming experience piggybacks on top of the useful tool I use every day (the PC) - but the console manufacturers might be thinking along those lines.

    Cas :)
     
  10. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    The video card manufacturers DO subsidize games which meet thier requirements in terms of pushing new features or being "mainstream" popular.

    Ever seen the "The way its meant to be played" logo? Thats not something a publisher/developer is going to do for free.


    Usually its a quid-pro-quo arrangment where NVIDA provide marketing funds for the title alongside its own marketing. But I've heard of decent deals for smaller teams who do card demo's.

    An example was Cryteks early "dino island" demo for the GF4?? Basically a LOD terrain renderer with some env mapping on the dino. Not exactly a big deal but secured them some funds from NVIDIA and got them into the view of publishers. From there Crytek then got funding for Far Cry because they had shown thier capability for next-gen (at the time) graphics.

    Thats what drives a lot of people to do cutting edge techniques on PC. It seels you as a capable next-gen studio to do that. Meaning publishers are more likely to think you have the chops to deliver a next gen game.

    Its definitely an expensive gamble though and you better be sure youre tech has some good hooks into potential gameplay ideas I think.

    These days video cards are so powerful that it just screams out to play with them. If youre in any way a graphics whore (like me) you just cant help but want to do it.

    My own playing right now is on the notion of using graphics cards to speed up AI for crowds. Indeed I'm considering proposing this as an entry to NVIDIA's latest competition (about novel uses of GPU's for games).

    That is again, a bit of developer subsidy, but I'd be doing the work without it anyway :)
     
  11. Karja

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    Actually, I do think it's pretty far-fetched as things look right now. The problem isn't bandwidth - it's latency. What good is getting 60 fps if it takes a second for the character on the screen to react when you press the jump-to-avoid-certain-death button?

    But that's only how things look right now, of course. The game server could be located closer to the customer; it's feasible to think of a future where network providers have dedicated game servers close to the customers, and publishers rent timeslots for games. (Or publishers themselves supply the servers.) But I don't really see that as THE future of gaming - just one way among many others to play games in 2018.
     
  12. BarrySlisk

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    Hmm..so the pubisher has to maintain thounsands of gameservers around the globe in order to "get close to the customer" and still the latency will be worse than 0 which is what a local game would provide. I'm skeptical.
     
  13. Karja

    Original Member

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    Yup, same here. But I was giving the thought the benefit of doubt. :)

    And the latency might possibly be improved in other transport media (like PON) which might become the next thing. And there could emerge a "standard gaming platform" for remote gaming; in a scenario like that it could be common for network operators to have servers like that already in place, and publishers would only enter a deal with the operator to place their game on the server. I'm sceptical either way, but it's fun to speculate....

    [And if that "standard gaming platform" was a software solution it could be applied on normal hardware - no need for a specific hardware to be installed by all network operators. But not likely either way.]
     
  14. Spore Man

    Indie Author

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    I'm glad you guys are skeptical. That just validates my idea. :D
     
  15. HairyTroll

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    It won't happen. The technology enabling cable and fiber to deliver the large number of channels into your home also adds a second or two delay to the incoming video in order to compress it down to bitrate low enough to squeeze into the limited bandwidth available.

    I don't think anyone would like a two second delay between moving the mouse and seeing the video update. It is this video compression latency that causes the problem.
     
    #15 HairyTroll, Mar 27, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2008
  16. Rainer Deyke

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    I think it's plausible that local server CPU time gets commoditized. IOW, the local ISP hub will be responsible for running the game servers. I don't think it'll happen in the next ten years though.
     
  17. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Please ignore, just bumping myself into this to remind me I have a killer post to make tomorrow...
     
  18. Spore Man

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  19. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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  20. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Yeah, thanks for the reminder.

    I can't remember the company details now, nor am able to find anything on the net, but about three years ago someone put me on to a Scandinavian company who were all about running games on server farms and delivery content as mpeg onto your TV set. All you need was a special remote with a WiFi widget in it to send your control commands out on.

    I wanted to fix up SporeMan's
    With a "Keep up man, I turned this down 3 years ago" slammer :)

    Still, the fact that I almost dealt with them and still can't find them on the net a while later does kinda indicate where this technology is leading! lol :)
     

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