Gamers might one day be able to enjoy the same graphics-intensive fast-action video games they play on their mobile devices without guzzling gigabytes -- thanks to a new tool developed by US researchers.
Named "Kahawai" after the Hawaiian word for stream, the tool delivers graphics and gameplay on par with conventional cloud-gaming setups for a fraction of the bandwidth, said the researchers from Duke University and Microsoft Research.
"That is a huge win, especially if your cellphone plan has a data cap," said one of the researchers Landon Cox from Duke University.
"You will be able to play a lot longer," Cox added.
Similar to video streaming services like Netflix, cloud gaming lets gamers stream high-end video games from the Web anywhere, any time, on any device. Under cloud gaming, it doesn't matter whether a smartphone or tablet meets the game's minimum system requirements.
Cloud gaming has its drawbacks, though. For one, transmitting high-resolution graphics and audio fast enough for smooth gameplay can eat up a lot of data quickly.
To reduce the amount of data that remote servers have to send during a game, the new technology relies on a technique called "collaborative rendering".
The researchers integrated Kahawai into the software behind Doom 3, a futuristic first-person shooter game about a space marine struggling to stay alive on Mars. Compared with conventional cloud gaming setups, Kahawai delivered the same visual quality while using one-sixth of the bandwidth.
The researchers presented the new technology recently at the 13th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys) in Florence, Italy.