In my opinion, it's not a matter of if but when this switch to portable, cloud-based gaming happens. It just makes sense when you look at all of the ways we have switched to a more cloud-based world. I write these articles through the cloud; I do my banking on a website that is hosted somewhere far, far away. If you've ever bought a product online, you have trusted the internet in more ways than one.
So let's take a look at some of the exciting new mobile goodies I discovered this week!
OnLive has long been one of my favorite applications and services. Although MMOs haven't begun to utilize the service to stream their games to players, OnLive continues to push out new variations on the streaming service. In my opinion, it's only a matter of time until we look back and giggle at the fact that we once waited for downloads! In a recent announcement, the company said that it will be releasing a free, virtual PC client for the iPad and will move the service to other devices later.
Why would an iPad user want to stream a PC desktop? Simple: more power and more flexibility. At the time of this writing, I am still waiting for the app to be released into the app store for me to try, but I'm curious if we will soon be able to use the virtual PC OS for doing more than spreadsheets and browsing the web. Could we use our cloud storage (which comes with the app) for virtually downloading games or for playing browser-based games in the virtual browser? Whoa... this is starting to become an app within an app. Check out the official blog or keep an eye on the app store because by the time you read this, the service will have been released. There will be an initial free version with two gigs of cloud storage, followed by a more professional paid service that offers more storage and features.
Yes, this thing looks nuts. But I have been looking at technology long enough that when I see such a cool-looking device, I can only imagine that technology will be even cooler when that gadget is outdated. It's a sickness. Still, this new gaming tablet prototype will play PC games, and beefy ones at that. Although we are just hearing details about the device, Razer has shown us some pretty cool portable gaming options before. We'll cross our fingers on this one.
One of my favorite smartphone MMOs, Warspear Online, keeps rolling out the updates. The most recent one, Astral Labyrinth, adds a new dungeon, raises the level cap, integrates Twitter, and does a good deal more. It's a great game for poking around in while waiting for the dentist, standing in line at the circus, getting an oil change, preparing to file your taxes with an accountant named Stew, or just hanging out in your hammock. It's not exactly an action-based title, and the graphics are definitely from the 8bit school of design, but it's just charming enough to make me play it a bit every week. It's also free-to-play and is updated frequently. This new update is pretty large but not uncommon.
I recently found this adorable little MMOish game called Little Empire for the Android. It's actually pretty cool and borrows ideas from all sorts of genres. Picture a MMORTS combined with Facebook's social features, a tower-defense game, and a customizable housing sim. It can be a bit confusing at first, and frustration does set in as you are attacked over and over, but give it a chance and it does become fun. Like I mentioned, however, this is not really an MMO but a socially connected game. Still, it has some neat ideas and shows how connected play, and hopefully true MMOs, might be able to operate.
Now, I'm not exactly a fan of all of these vampire books, movies, and television shows that are spreading like wildfire. The only thing that is becoming more cliche is the zombie movement, but I guess it's all in good fun. You can understand my trepidation when I received in invite to look at Thirst of Night, a new post-apocalyptic, vampire-themed MMORTS by Kabam. Once I logged in, however, I was really impressed by the Flash-based animations and music. Lately I have seen some amazing things done in Flash, and designers seem to have found the sweet spot in the medium. Graphics scale with the size of the browser or device, and gameplay resembles a cartoon more than a game. Of course, the MMORTS part of the equation leaves something to be desired, especially since I have seen these type of designs before, but the unique setting and high quality of the graphics keep drawing me back to the title.
If you're a fan of location-based MMOs, look no further than Parallel Kingdom, one of the first titles to popularize the genre. In it, you are tasked with setting up a home area and defeating local monsters, gathering loot, and crafting items. With its recent move to Facebook, the game has broadened its playerbase. Be aware that the world is brand-new in this version, so if you wanted to start the game but don't want to try it out in a world that overrun by higher-level players, this might be a good idea. Simply log in or link an existing account and get to conquering the world around you!
Well, that's news enough to hold you until next week. If you have discovered anything new for the mobile market, feel free to contact me. It's growing faster than I thought it would, so I can always use help in keeping up! See you next week!
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.