More bang for your byte: Gaming without burning up your bandwidth?

Published May 24th, 2015 - 04:30 GMT

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.


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