The lights are on
Amazon has announced the availability of a software development kit for its AppStream service. The service will support a variety of application and games, though Amazon does caution that some things are not well suited to cloud-based computing.
In its frequently asked questions document, Amazon recommends against first-person shooters and fighting games for cloud-based delivery (despite showing a first-person shooter in its promotional video for AppStream). Latency remains an issue, and is compounded by user-side computing devices and peripherals, such as keyboards and mice.
Amazon is promoting the benefits of being able to update a single, centrally located version rather than multiple iterations on different platforms. The company is also offering flexibility, allowing apps to have a local machine presence with some components streamed.
As an example, Amazon is showcasing a conversation with CCP chief technology officer Halldor Fannar. The company isn’t using AppStream for all of EVE Online, but it has experimented with making the character creator available on tablets and other devices via the service.
Amazon recently purchased developer Double Helix (Killer Instinct, Strider), and we reported last year on the company’s plans to break into the gaming business. If so, Amazon will be stepping into an increasingly crowded space with OnLive recently re-emerging and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Now service.
Our TakeI’m still not convinced that streaming games as a complete solution is viable. Turn-based strategy titles and other methodical genres might work, but latency remains an issue for twitch-based experiences. I expect that Amazon will be leveraging Double Helix for this initiative, but the road to consumer confidence is an uphill battle.