Cloud Gaming Onward: Research Opportunities and Outlook


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Cloud gaming has become increasingly more popular in the academia and the industry, evident by the large numbers of related research papers and startup companies. Some public cloud gaming services have attracted hundreds of thousands subscribers, demonstrating the initial success of cloud gaming services. Pushing the cloud gaming services forward, however, faces various challenges, which open up many research opportunities. In this paper, we share our views on the future cloud gaming research, and point out several research problems spanning over a wide spectrum of different directions: including distributed systems, video codecs, virtualization, human-computer interaction, quality of experience, resource allocation, and dynamic adaptation. Solving these research problems will allow service providers to offer high-quality cloud gaming services yet remain profitable, which in turn results in even more successful cloud gaming eco-environment. In addition, we believe there will be many more novel ideas to capitalize the abundant and elastic cloud resources for better gaming experience, and we will see these ideas and associated challenges in the years to come.

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Cloud Gaming Onward: Research Opportunities and Outlook

  1. 1. Cloud Gaming Onward: Research Opportunities and Outlook Kuan-Ta Chen, Chung-Ying Huang, and Cheng-Hsin Hsu
  2. 2. Cloud Gaming is Hot Cloud gaming is expected to lead the future growth of computer games: 9 times in 6 years [CGR] [CGR] T5-Labs
  3. 3. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 4 Limitations of Existing Services OnLive demands for 5 Mbps for reasonable quality OnLive dictates a server rendering/processing latency of 100+ ms, and partially copes with it by setting up 5 data centers (CA, VA, TX, IL, GA) Only people who live in 1000 mile radius from a data center can play the game and more… We, researchers, have tons of ideas to improve cloud gaming services, but all existing cloud gaming systems are proprietary and closed
  4. 4. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 5 Solutions: GamingAnywhere is the first OPEN cloud gaming platform for researchers, service providers, and users
  5. 5. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 6 GA Has Lower Response Delay Low response delay
  6. 6. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 7 Support of Android Devices Implement three proof-of-concept controllers, designed for Nintendo 64 Nintendo DS Limbo Nintendo 64 Controller Limbo Controller
  7. 7. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 8 Demo
  8. 8. • 25k+ visitors, 70k+ downloads, and 400+ forum discussions since April 2013
  9. 9. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 10 Research Opportunities Game Integration Video Codec Virtualization User Interface QoE Measurement and Modeling Server Selection Parameter Adaptation Resource Scheduling
  10. 10. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 12 Game Integration Two facets When/how game screens are captured How game inputs are replayed De facto approach Use API hooking to intercept events related to screen rendering Use API hooking to emulate user inputs Goal A general framework to bridge cloud gaming middleware and games
  11. 11. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 13 Video Codec H.264 is commonly used, but not necessarily the most efficient codec for gaming Network bandwidth is always scarce (e.g., continuous & stable 5 Mbps avail BW cannot be assumed) Considering the huge variety in graphics style…
  12. 12. Video Codec (cont.) E.g., [8] proposed a layered coding approach that can reduce bandwidth usage significantly [8] S.-P. Chuah and N.-M. Cheung, “Layered coding for mobile cloud gaming,” in Proceedings of ACM MMVE 2014.
  13. 13. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 15 Virtualization GPU virtualization is not as mature as virtualization of other resources (e.g., CPU, memory)  Scalability problems  financial difficulty of service providers Mediated GPU pass-through technology might be the solution
  14. 14. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 16 User Interface Mapping ?
  15. 15. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 17 QoE Measurement and Modeling Challenges Low cost continuous QoE assessment Large parameter space (network delay/bandwidth/packet loss, codec, game, display, control, and so on) Common approaches not sufficient Absolute Categorial Rating (ACR) SSCQE, DSCQE Possible solutions Paired comparison [14] (not continuous and still costly) Physiological approach [15]
  16. 16. Facial EMG Measurement The corrugator supercilii muscle Negative emotions The amount of annoyance caused by latency [15] Y.-T. Lee, K.-T. Chen, H.-I. Su, and C.-L. Lei, “Are all games equally cloud-gaming-friendly? An electromyographic approach,” in Proceedings of the IEEE/ACM Annual Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games (NetGames’12), October 2012, pp. 3:1–3:6.
  17. 17. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 19 Quantifying QoE Degradation due to Latency in Cloud Gaming
  18. 18. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 20 Server Selection The closest server may not be available due to Overloaded Not powerful enough for particular games Not installed with particular games Also, we need to consider Multi-user games where multiple players participates in a game session simultaneously Online games that both (player <-> cloud gaming server delay) and (cloud gaming server <-> online game server delay) need to be considered
  19. 19. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 21 Parameter Adaptation for Real-time Graphics Streaming Control-theoretic algorithms are required to adapt to changing network conditions Huge parameter space Video codec  Layer design: MDC, SVC, among others  Various parameters associated with video codec Network delivery  Network condition measurement  Path selection (overlay?)  Multi-path delivery Playout  Error concealment  Playout buffering And lots more…
  20. 20. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 22 Resource Scheduling Different games have different requirements on CPU, GPU, memory, and disks Car racing games are disk read intensive Realistic shooting games are normally GPU intensive RPG games are normally memory intensive Such requirements may change over time  CPU, GPU, memory, and disk co-scheduling
  21. 21. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 23 To Make Cloud Gaming Scalable… In terms of # cloud-enabled games Game integration framework User interface mapping In terms of # concurrent players GPU virtualization Resource scheduling In terms of market adoption (UX) User interface, Video codec QoE assessment and management (including parameter adaptation and server selection)
  22. 22. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 24 Conclusion Cloud gaming shares similar fundamental problems with many interesting applications Screencasting Mobile smart lens Tele medicine Immersive remote communications Thus, cloud gaming can be seen a rewarding entrance to fundamental multimedia system challenges!
  23. 23. Cloud Gaming Onward / Kuan-Ta Chen 25 Kuan-Ta Chen Academia Sinica cloud gaming rocks! Thank You!