Final Fantasy game publisher Square Enix is announcing today that it will deliver new game experiences through Project Flare, which the Japanese company calls a “technological breakthrough in cloud game architecture.
Square Enix is collaborating on Flare with game companies such as France’s Ubisoft, and it is seeking out other cutting-edge developers and partners. Like many other digital game companies, Square Enix believes the cloud will revolutionize the way that users interact with content and how that content is delivered to users. The company believes that new kinds of content should match the new methods of interaction and distribution.
To support this vision, Square Enix is providing a platform for developers and distribution partners to exploit the cloud.
“We are convinced that our ‘Project FLARE’ will open the door for a new era in gaming,” said Square Enix chairman Yoichi Wada, in a statement. “In the game industry, revolutions in both technology and business models have evolved content, and growth has come from the new game experiences born of that content. In recent years, growth has been driven entirely by business models such as F2P [free to play]. Finally, the technological breakthrough has arrived.”
The new experiences to be offered with Project Flare include “Hollywood-quality animation running in real-time to deepen the player’s immersion.” And in a nod to Microsoft’s “cloud processing” technology, Square Enix envisions the cloud “uncapping artificial intelligence and physics processing to realize the extremes of realism and fantasy.” Square Enix also believes video streams of games, such as that offered by OnLive, will allow existing games to be enjoyed in new ways.
Square Enix evidently wants to use the supercomputers of the cloud to deliver better games to users via Flare, which the company describes as enabling “cost-efficient scalability of processing power, through which images are streamed as video.”
Square Enix certainly has the content to put on the cloud. Its Final Fantasy series has sold more than 100 million units worldwide. Square Enix is showing demos of Project Flare technology, and it will make them available at the project’s web site. These demos are for projects that are best viewed on high-speed broadband networks.
Ubisoft is lending its Arcus technology and a team at its Quebec studio to develop new means of streaming Project Flare games directly to players.
“Ubisoft and Square Enix share a similar vision for how cloud gaming will drive our industry forward,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, in a statement. “The technical advances made by Square Enix and Ubisoft’s growing expertise in cloud computing infrastructure will eventually help us deliver gaming experiences that are more accessible and immersive than anything available today.”
Here’s some demos of the technology.