Square Enix unveils cloud gaming business Shinra Technologies

Square Enix announced its aim to deliver "revolutionary" cloud-based gaming with Shinra Technologies, a newly launched subsidiary helmed by Yoichi Wada, the former president of the Japanese publisher. Cutely named after the company in Final Fantasy 7, Shinra's goal is to "change the game industry ecosystem by offering new types of games experiences" through its own tech. Shinra appears to be an evolution of Square Enix's Project Flare streaming project (the service's web page now redirects to Shinra's) but set up as a separate subsidiary.

Shinra wants to deliver cloud gaming using what it calls a "virtual supercomputer." Rather than using one central processing unit (CPU) and one graphics processing unit (GPU) to stream a game, Shinra said its tech pools "hundreds or thousands of CPUs and GPUs in a datacenter" to boost processing power and deliver higher quality games. "It's like having a super-powered games console," Shinra's FAQ claims, "with no need to buy the console."

Shinra said its architecture allows developers to have just one version of their games running on the cloud-based virtual supercomputer, making it easier to deliver persistent effects.

"So let's say that you're fighting in a city block doing all of this damage," said Director of Partnerships Colin Williamson, "In a traditional game, if you drive a few blocks in the other direction and come back, everything has magically reset. Shinra technology allows for worlds to change dynamically and have permanence. It also takes the burden off the developers to figure out tricks and workarounds to give the illusion of a persistent world. Our worlds can truly have history."

The next step for the New York company's ambitious project is to attract developers prepared to take on its tech, and partners to bolster its server and network infrastructure. The company says it's in negotiations with "best-in-class" developers, and Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot has expressed an interest on his part.

"We are intrigued by the direction Shinra Technologies, Inc is taking," Guillemot said, "and look forward to seeing what their architecture and technologies can deliver."

There's no set date for when Shinra Technologies will launch its service, but the company said it intends to begin beta tests in United States and Japan in early 2015.

[Image: Square Enix]