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Gaming-on-Demand (GoD) technology vendor G-cluster, service provider Club iT, and Texas Instruments (TI) recently announced that IP-based set-top box manufacturers can now easily turn their products into genuine gaming consoles, using the G-cluster Gaming-on-Demand client to provide end users with access to hundreds of games over IPTV. No actual details are released.

According to the companies, the set-top box will connect to G-cluster’s grid of computer servers via a broadband connection, receiving game graphics and sound to display on a television screen in real time. USB-based gamepads or remote controls can be used by subscribers to play a wide variety of games.

Companies using TI’s DM642 programmable DSP-based architecture in their design can now add G-cluster gaming client software with TI’s Software Development Kit (SDK). With high-end 3D gaming applications embedded in the set-top box, service providers and operators will be able to deliver high quality online gaming services to their subscribers without any additional hardware or game discs.

“We are excited to make G-cluster Gaming-on-Demand software available on the TI DM642, further contributing to help manufacturers and service providers offer a radically new online entertainment concept and services to the end-users. Running G-cluster gaming software on our high performance and programmable DSP-based architecture will enable a high quality gaming experience and easy software upgrade, turning OEMs' set-top boxes into advanced gaming consoles,” said Arnaud Duclap, business development manager for TI’s Video/Imaging DSP group in Europe.

The approach the companies want to popularize is a relatively new way of letting people play games. The G-cluster Game System is based on broadband connectivity between the client devices and G-cluster game servers. When games are played using the G-cluster Game System, the actual game programs are run on game servers rather than the client devices themselves. The game servers transmit the audio-visual output stream of the game to the client devices. The client devices only need to have enough processing capability to receive the stream, display the video and play back the audio of the game. Usually game consoles should employ relatively high-performance hardware to play games, but set-top-boxes are meant to be very inexpensive and usually cannot utilize modern hardware for gaming.

G-cluster maintains “a large and growing portfolio” of games that have been ported to work with the G-cluster Game System, the G-cluster Game Portfolio, according to the company. The success of the technology depends on the quality of games the system is capable to offer.

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