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Default Online PC Game Console Ap @ Joystiq

February 20th, 2008, 19:37
Joystiq has posted some surfacing news from the 2008 Games Developers Conference regarding a new application from Wild Tangent called ORB, which will supposedly allow PC gamers to download console titles and play them on their PC's. The company plans the service to be ad supported and potentially free to users:

WildTangent announced today Orb, a new PC service aimed to give a game console experience. Orb will act as a portal for "console games," defined here as games designed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and let you download and play games in its entirety or in play sessions, which will cost you via tokens or free through watching advertisements. THQ and Sierra have signed on, with Sierra promising to bring titles to the service "day and date" with console launches, according to WildTangent CEO Alex St. John.

In an interview with Joystiq, St. John explained how the cost per play session will depend on the game, but that it would be priced "fairly" based on statistics they derive in testing. That said, he presumes most will opt for the advertiser route. (In their casual portal, he said, 98% of the users opt for watching advertisements and playing for free.)

Games can be queued up for download in the background, but there's also an option for taking the games you want to play and having them sent to you for the cost of burning the DVD and shipping. The program will be offered in eight languages, including Chinese and Korean. No community features will included at launch, but St. John said he'd consider it in the future. It's a shame, too, because we think it's a key reason that programs like Steam and GameTap thrive.
There's more coverage of this subject as well as the GDC and PC Gaming Alliance in this online article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
More information.
Last edited by magerette; February 20th, 2008 at 23:05. Reason: changed wording
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February 20th, 2008, 19:37
So am I interpreting this correctly that I will be able to play NCAA Football or Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction on my PC?
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February 20th, 2008, 19:37
They what? I don't understand a word of this article. They're gonna emulate console titles on PC… online? What? Are they going to stream the graphics to your PC, or something? The whole idea seems crazy, or am I missing something?
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February 20th, 2008, 19:42
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
They what? I don't understand a word of this article. They're gonna emulate console titles on PC… online? What? Are they going to stream the graphics to your PC, or something? The whole idea seems crazy, or am I missing something?
It seems outrageously crazy. Emulation is so resource-heavy that I can't see anything later than the original XBox being emulated. Even that might be pretty hard. An XBox 360 has got to be impossible.
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February 20th, 2008, 20:28
I assume that the emulation takes part on special servers. Only input & output are connected with the PC.

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February 20th, 2008, 20:58
I don't think the actual article says anything about playing the emulated game online, does it? It seems to be heavily implied that you download the game first.

Sounds to me more like a locally installed set of emulation software that can be fueled by online downloads of the games themselves.
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February 20th, 2008, 21:35
I agree it's confusing, and maybe 'emulation' wasn't the best word to use. I'm getting the idea from this and the SF Chronicle article I linked that ORB is a software service aplet that lets you manage downloads of console game ports to your pc, where you then can play them either as the whole game or in free sessions that are paid for by in-game or pre-game ads:

Under WildTangent's business plan, users can pay for games outright or pay for gaming sessions. Or, they can watch a video commercial and have the advertiser pay for that particular gaming session, which can last as long as the gamer keeps playing.

WildTangent CEO Alex St. John said the company has signed agreements with PC-makers Dell, HP, and Toshiba and others that enable it to embed its service on 85 percent of computers being sold today.
(SF Chonicle)

2 doctor_kaz: That article also says
"The WildTangent Orb turns any PC into a game console with the same user experience, content and even the same game pad," said St. John. "This creates a bigger distribution for console games."
so I think it does mean you could play those games on your PC. That's what I'm getting anyway.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 20th, 2008, 21:38
Sounds like a good idea. Nintendo 16bit, playstation and gameboy advance emulators are quite popular. They work perfect on PC and provide better game than the original could (i.e higher resolution + anti-alias etc).

I wouldnt need to buy playstation3 just to get the newest final fantasy. Suits me!
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February 20th, 2008, 21:43
This is definitely sending up a lot of red flags. I've been heavily into emulation for most of my life and this sounds *very* suspect. I'm going to assume it's either:

1. Early April fools
2. Bad communication

The only way they could get current-gen games to emulate on a PC is to have the PC act as a remote client to the console. Which would require a crazy amount of space to store all of the consoles. Plus the bandwidth and low latency required to get a good experience would be insanely expensive for both the end-user and the provider.

It just doesn't seem feasible.

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February 20th, 2008, 22:15
I agree, this is nuts. An add-in card that lets a PC play console games is feasible, but this one's a Chewbacca.
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February 20th, 2008, 22:34
What they are probably doing is a basic port of games (only a modified code to allow it to play on the PC) and you would use a controller to play the games. Why most ports take awhile is because they have to change the control and interface and they usually like to add extra content to the port.

By doing it this way they would just have to have a group of programmers porting the code over from the consoles to the PC.

They could also have a client you run the game in that would have native support for file formats and codecs that are specific to the consoles.
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February 20th, 2008, 22:41
Well, I'm definitely confused—still this is a legit announcement I think. I get the feeling it isn't as simple as they would like you to think, perhaps…

Here's another article with a little different take at webware.com:

This morning at the Game Developer's Conference here in San Francisco, Alex St. John, the CEO of WildTangent, will announce a new version of the company's gaming software that he hopes will make people think twice about buying a video game console.

Taking a cue from the growing number of casual gamers buying consoles, St. John, who is most famous for helping create Direct X specification for Microsoft, figures that people are itching to get their hands on video games, but that they shouldn't have to buy a proprietary piece of hardware and pricey software titles, or even relegate gaming to one room in the house.

His solution is to take WildTangent's gaming marketplace software and tune it to work on the go, or in the living room on large televisions. The application, called "Orb" (not to be confused with the Orb media-sharing software) is designed to let anyone with a laptop and a gamepad navigate the various games available for play without having to use a keyboard or mouse. St. John notes that a majority of machines that have shipped out in the last year or so can more than handle the graphics capabilities of the Wii and original Xbox, and if users are looking to take part of that software ecosystem, they don't need to buy anything new.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 20th, 2008, 22:43
Quote "CNN Money"
The WildTangent Orb will launch with popular AAA titles from Sierra Online including 3D Ultra(TM) Mini Golf, Assault Heroes(TM), Battlestar Gallactica(TM) and Switchball(TM) as well as popular PC titles from Sierra Entertainment. THQ titles will include Juiced(TM) 2 Hot Import Nights(TM), Company of Heroes®, Company of Heroes® Opposing Fronts(TM), Red Faction®, Red Faction® II, Full Spectrum Warrior®, MX vs. ATV Unleashed(TM), Full Spectrum Warrior Ten Hammers®, Titan Quest(TM), Warhammer® 40,000 Dawn of War Gold and Warhammer® 40,000 Dawn of War Dark Crusade(TM). Also included in Orb will be more than 55 enthusiast titles from THQs Valusoft.

OMG! Bestest game collection EVAR!!!!111

Mhhh, hello? Aren't those PC games anyway?

I think Wild Tangent just makes PC games playable over the internetz like turning on a console - no installing - no configuration.

Awesome idea - NOT!

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February 20th, 2008, 22:51
I think you must be right. I don't think it would work very well for a PC. If they can pull it off somehow, it may be a fun little app— but only for those having a PC hooked up to their home theatre system, I'd think. A gamepad isn't really that suited for sitting behind a desk.

Sounds like steam with some extra menus, or something. Marketing trick.
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February 20th, 2008, 23:01
Here's the wikipedia entry on the company.

Wild Tangent

I'd say being a little skeptical might not be a bad thing. They seem to be pretty focused on tracking personal info and such in what they've already done.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; February 21st, 2008 at 16:09.
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February 20th, 2008, 23:54
Most RPG players probably know WildTangent from FATE, by the way.

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February 21st, 2008, 00:43
Taking a cue from the growing number of casual gamers buying consoles, St. John, who is most famous for helping create Direct X specification for Microsoft, figures that people are itching to get their hands on video games, but that they shouldn't have to buy a proprietary piece of hardware and pricey software titles, or even relegate gaming to one room in the house.
Uh … That quote could also be easily directed against Microsoft …

Or maybe even Microsoft is behind this to get more people to the PC … Just to reduce competition of other consoles with their xbox …

Is this the new "gaming alliance for PCs" ?


Apart from that I would really like to play "Jedi Power Battles" on my PC …

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February 21st, 2008, 05:24
I'm very skeptical of anything Wild Tangent does. They are a notorious spyware distributer starting on AIM.

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February 24th, 2008, 05:50
When I installed Fate, I went and researched the claims of spyware and looked at what was installed on my pc, and found no spyware.

Then again, I'm not playing any web-based games thru them…
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