The digital distribution of games is constantly evolving. In just over a half a decade it has gone from being a flimsy second-option to becoming a prime delivery medium. However, a digital retailer is – and has always been – reliant on the speed of a consumer’s Internet connection. A slow download is a slow download, no matter how intuitive or economical a service is. And that’s where Approxy steps in.
At GDC 2012, the company unveiled a potentially revolutionary piece of techonology called Cloudpaging which aims to drastically improve the download experience for HD gaming content. The tech works by dividing up a downloadable game into small fragments called pages, which are then fetched on demand over HTTP/S by a Virtual Memory Management Unit on the client machine. What this all means, is that a user can actually start playing the opening levels of their chosen game while the rest of it continues to download unobtrusively in the background. Think of it like the structure MP3 download. Approxy claim that, “time-to-gratification” can be reduced from anywhere between 10x to 50x for a large game. This approach to delivery also allows titles to be played offline and without a network connection- something that potential rivals Onlive and Gaikai can’t offer at present.
It’s admittedly still a little confusing at this stage. Were not quite sure whether Cloudpaging is a form of cloud gaming, a new advancement in digital distribution, or a mixture of both. Some basic questions need to be answered by Approxy if they’re to really dazzle people with the technology.
In any case, behind the science and long acronyms seems to lie a genuinely exciting piece of gaming technology that has the potential to dramatically shift the digital market- streaming or otherwise. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on how Cloudpaging unfolds.