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Develop 2009: David Perry: 'Gaming Should Be More Convenient'

Kicking off Brighton's Develop Conference, Acclaim creative director David Perry detailed the role that ease of access plays in a game's success -- and how his Gaikai streaming tech hopes to address that.
In the future, says Acclaim creative director David Perry, gamers could have limitless power at their potential thanks to cloud computing. Instead of collecting games on their shelves, they could have them distributed across the web. "Facebook is a really good example of how data ownership is changing," said Perry, who works on non-Acclaim projects as well, as he kicked off the Gamasutra-attended Develop Conference in Brighton, England. "People don’t really care if they own a version of Texas Hold’em or Yoville as long as they can access it easily.” And the stats back up the importance of ease of access, Perry said: "The companies that begin convenience and simplicity to users are starting to show some really impressive numbers," he said. According to Perry, over 82 million plays had been delivered just within the first page of independent gaming service Kongregate. It happens that way in other media too, Perry said. "YouTube didn’t try and drive everyone to their portal," he noted. "Instead, they allowed videos to be distributed across the web." "How many videos would you watch if you had to register with every video maker? How many videos would you watch if you had to download the entire video first? And yet that’s something we ask our consumers to do.” Perry admitted he was just as guilty of this himself in his ventures -- Acclaim’s own The Chronicles of Spellborn requires registration and a full download before users can play. But his most striking example was Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Though he praised the small download, he took the audience through the thirty-one clicks -- not including form and Captcha-filling -- required to begin to play the game. "I get twenty clicks in before I see a play button; but then I still get another legal agreement!" he cried. That's why, Perry says, Acclaim's new Gaikai game streaming technology intends to allow users to begin playing games within literally one click. He presented video examples of games such as Spore launching without install, the game downloaded and powered by the servers most local to the player. Believing this kind of ease of access absolutely critical, Perry said technology like Gaikai, which was further showcased in video recently and is in closed beta, is important for all game companies to get behind. "If Eidos wanted to do this, they couldn’t cover the world in game servers," he said. "But if all our companies worked together, we could." Perry intends to defy the old argument that streaming triple-A games could "never work," an accusation raised at rival streaming game service OnLive, with one major strategy: "Get as many servers as closer to the users as possible, right in their town."

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