There are some things that take you by surprise. One suspects poor Taylor Swift had no idea Kanye West had set his sights on stealing her thunder during her acceptance speech at the MTV awards (and more recently, on our website too!). But yet, there he was, popping up in front of the cameras. Likewise, the recent revelation that some clever people have got Crysis running on the iPhone has been treated with equal amazement. In truth, many can barely get it running on their PCs.
But, as Ars Technica reports, all is not quite as it seems. Sadly, Crytek isn’t planning to release its FPS on the iPhone, a move that would make current graphical giant Real Racing look positively jaggy in comparison. Instead, Crysis was simply part of a demo designed to promote OTOY’s remote gaming service, with the shooter running on Apple’s device via a “render farm”.
Basically, much like OnLive’s planned gaming on demand system, the game actually runs on an equipped PC, streamed to the iPhone frame by frame over the internet, with input from the player sent back the same way. According to the website, OTOY also demoed Grand Theft Auto IV, BioShock and World of Warcraft at the same time. The lag on said titles was described as ‘discernible’, but not intrusive.
On the plus side, it would actually appear that the software works better from PC to iPhone rather than PC to PC. Ars Technica claims that ‘compression artifacts’ were fairly common in the latter, but barely noticeable in the former. The only problem is that OTOY’s system, at least in it’s current state, requires a fairly speedy connection and uses up a fair chunk of bandwidth during play; 20MB are needed in order to run 1080p for motion lossless gameplay.
Much like most of the on demand services, then, it’s not really a commercial prospect in its current state. But it is an interesting step forward in the quest to take the actual hardware grunt out of the hands of players, in order to give them access to a huge array of top quality software.