No, this is not a pre-Christmas prank. Apparently, it is now possible to play the hit (and very addictive, if we might add) MMORPG known as World of Warcraft on the limited device that is known as a smartphone. All it needs is an account with a certain provider, an Android-based smartphone and lots of patience to relearn playing a primarily mouse-driven game on a touchscreen.
Let’s face it: despite what OEMs love to claim, the smartphone is still quite a long way from taking over the notebook as the perfect mobile computing device. Sure, no one can deny that the smartphone can do just about all the basic tasks a netbook or laptop is capable of such as word processing, Youtube-ing, checking emails and most importantly, surfing the Internet.
In spite of all this, there is still one thing smartphones are completely incapable of – gaming. And by gaming, we are not referring to casual games like chucking Angry Birds into walls or cutting up fruits with a sword, but serious titles with breathtaking visuals that require a proper keyboard, mouse and a high-end graphics card.
However, it seems that things about to change very soon, thanks to the power of software-as-a-service. Apparently, a cloud-gaming company known as GameString has found a way to stream the popular World of Warcraft game out to Android-powered smartphones, and has even released a video to showcase their work-in progress.
Of course, it should be pointed out that the user does not actually load and run the game from their smartphone’s memory, and for obvious reasons. Instead, what actually happens is that the game is hosted in Gamestring’s servers, which will handle all heavy tasks such as 3D rendering and processing. The result is then streamed wirelessly to the recipient’s smartphone, whose interactions with the avatar gets sent back to the servers as data, and the process repeats itself.
But even then, the technology is still far from perfect. For one, the short video posted by Gamestring reveals that gameplay is incredibly choppy, no doubt due to the combined factors of a smartphone’s weak processor and data latency. In addition, gamers will also have to forget all of their well-memorized shortcut keys in favor of slide-out icons. And for a game where gamers only have a split second to respond to attacks, the extra time needed to slide out the icons and tap the appropriate action can mean the difference between defeat and…well, utter defeat. Fortunately, the smartphone client of the game is still well in its alpha stages of development, so this will give gamers something to look forward to while the developers focus on ironing out the bugs, latency and UI issues.
Still, the idea of being able to play the hit PC MMORPG on a smartphone is definitely good news for gamers all over the world, especially for those who cannot go without their daily gaming fix, even while on the move. At the very least, it will definitely make for much more bearable rides on the crowded train or bus after a hard day of work or in school. That being said, expect to see quite a fair bit of opposition to the game from people like parents and spouses who have a bone to pick with what is currently known as video game addiction. So don’t be surprised if news about this port alone is enough to result in a complete Android smartphone ban at home.
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