CES 2013: Hands On Impression with NVIDIA GRID


As a gamer myself, I have my own suspicions of cloud-based gaming. The idea of simply streaming the footage of the games controlled from a server sounded like a gamer’s worst nightmare. The lag, the variable picture quality, and lack of configuration was completely out of the question for people who want the full experience. Despite this, I took the time to check out Nvidia’s devised cloud-gaming server called NVIDIA GRID at CES2013. I walked up to the screens running grid and decided to pluck down and see what it was all about. The demo had selection of 20 games, which included Asassin’s Creed 3, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 3 and Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition off the top of my head. The demo guy mentioned to me that the game was running off an LG SmartTV with the Grid application connected through Wireless internet.

All the games were lined up on “grid”. The first game I started up was Borderlands 2. The game boots up a little bit slow trying to load up the game, but once that’s done. the game works just as if it it was on your own PC. The controls felt smooth, something the Nvidia demo guy really wanted to hit home. There are a few restrictions that will be implemented with the service, most notably a locked graphic setting. The reason for this is so the cloud servers can handle the amount of traffic and processing needed to stream to all of its users. While they don’t plan to scale all the games down to its lowest setting, it will still look reasonably pretty. All these factors will be dependent on the user’s internet connection.

Next, I fired up Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. This was a game that required that frame-by-frame accuracy. The game loaded considerable faster than Borderlands 2. To my surprise the game ran a comfortable 59-60FPS, the time between my inputs and the movements on the screen were snappy and responsive. ¬†Whether or not this is consistent over real-world situations leaves to be seen. Nvidia hopes to implement GRID on as many platforms as possible. The GRID itself won’t be run by Nvidia but will be licensed to other cloud-based services.

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