March will bring us two content-intensive conferences, and we heard from Nvidia that they will have a lot of clarifications. At the upcoming Game Developers’ Conference (March 25-29), Nvidia will show the GeForce GRID to the army of game developers, banging the cloud gaming drum with no compromise in quality.
Last years’ GPU Technology Conference had several cloud gaming companies stirring the pot, while Nvidia and the associated investors were trying to measure the pulse of what companies can deliver, and who can’t. The first company to cash out on the whole deal was Gaikai, whose charismatic leader Dave Perry spent seven month on a hype-raising tour, ultimately selling the company for $380 million to Sony (it was rumored that Samsung came $50 million short).
However, GAIKAI will not be utilizing the GPU technology in its entirety, as Sony wants to use those several million unsold PlayStation 3 consoles to offer a cloud gaming service for PlayStation 4, removing the need for backward compatibility. For Nvidia, that meant only one thing – go alone with their own service, and have products that align nicely to that.
According to an Nvidia representative, GRID is "the upcoming on-demand gaming service from NVIDIA. It’s like Netflix’s video-streaming service for games, so you can enjoy them wherever you are on your connected device." The company has six partners right now, Agawi, Cloudunion, CyberCloud Networks, G-Cluster Global, Playcast and Ubitus.
However, time will tell is Nvidia’s "controlled ecosystem" approach the right one to go with – the company had no design wins on Mobile World Congress with the Tegra 4, Tegra 4i (Project Grey, Tegra 3 with LTE Baseband) had a single design win (ZTE), while the strategy around Project SHIELD is unknown. The upcoming GPU Technology Conference (San Jose, CA) on March 18-21, and the subsequent Game Developer Conference (San Francisco) on March 25-29 will shed a lot of light on what’s going on with Nvidia.