Louis Castle isn't sure that services like OnLive and Gaikai will ever be appropriate for all videogames.
When Louis Castle isn't raging against the used games industry, he's busy as the CEO of InstantAction, a unique digital distribution portal that basically streams game downloads to customers' computers. It's sort of like a mix between Steam and OnLive. However, Castle recently talked about how InstantAction differs from cloud gaming, and why he thinks that services like OnLive and Gaikai aren't really made for the games of today, or the future.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, Castle said: "Gaikai and OnLive are great technologies, but it's going to be a while before they're a good experience for everybody." He believes: "It'll certainly be a long time, if ever, that they're appropriate for all games."
His reasoning boils down to latency, and though broadband is making its way into more and more homes daily, that doesn't necessarily mean that network speeds will increase for consumers. "I think that the idea that the network speeds are going up all the time and latency is going down... that's true on average, but the actual latency is getting worse and worse because there's more and more people online," he says. Castle does believe that everyone will eventually have "ubiquitous high speed connections," but isn't sure modern videogames will always work with cloud gaming.
On one hand, Castle has good reason to question services like OnLive because they're one form of competition to InstantAction. On the other hand, he could have a point. OnLive works pretty well right now in my own experience, but it'd be extremely frustrating if latency issues came into the mix.
And latency issues might be something that OnLive or Gaikai have no control over. Even if these services are able to provide a perfect connection that never drops from their ends, they have no control over the internet connections of their users. While there's no guarantee that latency will eventually become an issue as Castle says, he does make a fair argument that the biggest releases could someday not be appropriate for streaming play.