Is cloud gaming the future? It’s a complex question, with an overwhelming multitude of answers. Before the question can even be considered, however, it must be determined what exactly “cloud gaming” even means. Is OnLive cloud gaming? What about Sony’s Gaikai?
Regardless of the labels those services have been assigned by gaming’s in vogue journalistic coterie, I’d wager Square Enix has a different answer. No, those services aren’t cloud gaming, they’d say. Project FLARE is cloud gaming.
The thought of Square Enix — a company that, despite recent signs of life, has been operating at a loss for well over a year — choosing now of all times to announce a massively ambitious, supercomputer-powered cloud platform is more than a little bit mind boggling. Ask any life-long Final Fantasy fan: Does the name Square Enix carry the weight it once did? Though they’ll never admit to waning loyalty, you’d have a hard time racking up more than a few half-hearted yeses if you tallied all the votes. It then begs the question – what is a distinguished, beloved, but struggling RPG-house to do?
I honestly couldn’t tell you the answer, but the outline (or elaborate distraction: you decide) Square just recently brought to the table has me more excited than I really have the evidence to justify. That said, the company clearly believes in the platform, and with FLARE slated to begin a beta phase of some kind in just two years time, it’s not too early to begin speculating – even if it is just for the sake of doing so.