Intel Atom CE4100, the future of gaming

Intel Atom CE4100

I have written about this before, how soon consoles and PCs will not be needed to play games because televisions will be smart enough to do the job on their own.

The Atom CE4100 is what is known as a “System on a Chip” (SoC). So adding just this one extra chip to any media device (a set top box or the television itself) puts a whole computer system inside it. One effect of this is to bring the internet to your television. And with the internet comes games. Another effect will be to hasten the demise of DVD and Blueray players, why store bits of plastic and cardboard in your house when everything ever recorded is available for instant streaming?

The humble television is about to undergo a revolution. The current LCD devices are just an interim technology, they are large and flat but they are over complex, use excessive energy and have poor picture quality. OLED technology, which is just hitting the market, is vastly simpler, uses a fraction of the energy and gives a far better picture. Because they can be manufactured by lithography they will become very cheap, they are also ideal for making 3D displays.

The low power usage of OLED (and of the Atom CE4100 and future such devices) mean that TVs will become truly portable, they will merge with the tablet netbook into one device. Also the low cost means there will be several televisions per person. Moving pictures will be everywhere in our lives.

For gaming this will accelerate our move onto the cloud. Not only will paper and cardboard distribution disappear, the dedicated gaming platforms will also go. Because every television will be a gaming platform, connected to the internet and with significant processing power of its own.

Interfaces will be interesting. Small screens can be the interface themselves by physical movement of the whole screen, as with an iPhone, a bit larger and we get into touch screen territory and big screens will use something like Natal.

Another way to look at what is happening is device integration. The television, computer, telephone, game console, camera etc etc are integrating into one device that will do everything.


  1. Although I wouldn’t write off the PC nor gaming concoles just yet. It will be interesting to see how far they can go with this.

  2. What do you think will be the payment model for cloud games? Pay by the hour?

  3. @Russell

    By the hour.
    Monthly subscription.
    In game items.
    Special events.
    Advertising & sponsorship.

  4. OnLive is a crock. The one unaddressed factor for this platform is latency, both network and input. At your PC or non-wireless-controller connected console, input latency is negligible. If however your input motions have to travel to an Onlive datacentre then you have input lag.

    Network latency is another kettle of fish and one that every gamer deals with anyway, but you can generally find a server for your favorite game under 100ms away. If I were to play an FPS game through OnLive, my movement commands would take over 300ms to reach one of thier datacentres (from Aus) and that’s jsut a single player game. Introduce a multiplayer element and you take another XXms to get other player update data. Even playing from within the USA it still introduces that other unwanted hop. In order to fix some of these issues OnLive will have to place application servers in all major cities.

    Couple that with the fact that now you will have to stream the video of you playing over your already encumbered internet connection (min 1.5mbps according to OnLive) and I can already see some massive hurdles. What about ISP monthly download quotas? They go out the window now you have to stream 720p video to your home in order to play games. That in itself is cost prohibitive to the end user. What of QoS? There is so much random useless traffic clogging up the net these days its hard enough streaming a youtube video sometimes.

    What becomes of the LAN parties with your mates? Hard to lug a 60″ flatscreen around the place. But this would be pointless anyway since his internet connection will never be able to stream 6-10 720p signals at once. I can’t see OnLive being useful for anything other than casual games, at your own home, on your own.

    Sorry, but OnLive is made of epic fail and will never replace the PC or consoles for gaming.

  5. The existence of SoCs does not mean TVs suddenly become gaming consoles. Marketing hype.

  6. @jerrry
    The CE4100 allows TVs to become thin clients. Gaming is moving to the cloud so this is ideal.
    You don’t need a game console to play games.

  7. I hope the world ends before this future comes to pass.

Comments are closed.