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Square Enix aims to redefine online gaming

Square Enix has announced a new, cloud-based gaming venture called Shinra Technologies that aims to open up new possibilities in online gaming.

The company is developing proprietary technologies that host games on distributed servers with cumulative power equivalent to a supercomputer, freeing developers to create enormous, consistent worlds that stream to users regardless of their particular machine’s specs.

The technology should allow for seamless, persistent worlds of a scale that has not been possible so far in gaming, when most of the calculations have been relegated to the user’s console or computer. The gaming industry is poised to take advantage of the bandwidth increases that have allowed streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu to revolutionize how we watch video. Sony’s PlayStation Now service is using that power to find new ways of delivering extant content, but Shinra looks to be the first major contender to look at the formal possibilities it opens up for new games.

Shinra has begun negotiations with major developers and publishers to explore ways that they can utilize this new tech. “Ubisoft has long believed that the cloud will play an important part in gaming’s future,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft. “We are intrigued by the direction Shinra Technologies, Inc. is taking and look forward to seeing what their architecture and technologies can deliver.”

Shinra derives its name from the villainous Shinra Corporation in Square’s Final Fantasy VII (Cloud-based — har har). The fictional company generated power by extracting the planet’s lifestream and parlayed that technology into becoming a world-dominating city-state, so keep a vigilant eye on what Shinra Technologies gets up to if this really takes off.