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Nvidia unveils Grid Gaming System to jumpstart cloud gaming

Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang introduced the Nvidia Grid Gaming System tonight. That’s a mouthful, but the graphics chip maker says it will enable gamers to play in the cloud in a way that is much more convenient and efficient than can be done today.

It means gamers can log into high-end games on a Smart TV, even though the TV has no serious 3D graphics computing power itself. The game can access technology in a web-connected data center — which Nvidia calls the Grid — to do the computing in the data center, or cloud, and then send the results down to the gamer’s machine, wherever the gamer is playing. This means you could log into a laptop in your hotel room and play high-end games, even though your laptop is a relatively weak machine. The Grid, Huang said, will help fulfill the promise of cloud gaming.

Huang announced the news at the swanky Rain nightclub in the Palms Hotel on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Nvidia also made it a lot easier for gamers to play their games in the cloud, so that they could access their saved games from multiple devices. Huang said the Grid Gaming System will be able to support 24 users on one computing node. That’s more concurrent users on a server than many other solutions can do, and it makes cloud gaming much more practical.

Nvidia’s partners include Agawi, Playcast, G-Cluster, Cloudunion, Cyber Cloud, and Ubitus. Nvdia’s Grid technology is its first fully integrated system product and it will enable those partners to offer their own cloud-gaming services. The Grid taps a new graphics chip, new infrastructure, and services for the partners, Huang said.

“Cloud gaming is an industry that is about to come to fruition,” he said. “It’s taken us five years to make it possible.”

An Nvidia Grid Gaming System has 20 Grid servers in a rack. That system has 240 Nvidia graphics chips and 200 teraflops, or as much computing power as 700 Xbox 360 game consoles.

PC gaming is bigger than ever, especially with the advent of free-to-play online games, Huang said. But it’s still a hassle.

Nvidia has taken the trouble of understanding all of the complex settings for 3D technology, and it now has the software that simplifies PC gaming so you can just focus on playing the game. The technology, GeForce Experience, automatically detects the hardware in your system and the game you’re playing. It then automatically sets the 3D graphics and other technologies for the best results.

“It comes up with the most beautiful and playable settings that your PC will allow,” he said.

Nvidia will provide the GeForce Experience software with its graphics hardware. The goal is to demystify PC gaming and get users to buy more gaming hardware.


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