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The Technology That Allows You To Embed A Video Game: InstantAction

pklepek
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Posted March 11, 2010 - By pklepek


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The Technology That Allows You To Embed A Video Game: InstantAction

OK Go's music videos can become such impressive viral hits because Internet video can be embedded pretty much everywhere. You don't have to visit OK Go's website, it's just there. That's the same for music and photos, too. Heck, it's true of pretty much every form of media that's not video games. InstantAction is proposing a solution: the embeddable video game.

I saw InstantAction about a year ago while still working for MTV News. At the time, InstantAction was mostly a portal for powerful, modern-looking games to run through a browser. I asked them whether the games could ever be embedded like YouTube. The technology didn't exist a year ago, but the team said it was possible. Earlier this week, however, InstantAction showed me what I was hoping for in working form and I'm convinced it could change games and how we all discover them.

The moment it clicked? When I watched CEO Louis Castle (whose name might ring a bell - he used to head Electronic Arts' now-closed Blueprint studio and co-founded Westwood Studios) embed LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island remake into an actual Tumblr blog and start playing the game a few minutes later through the blog. Upping the ante, Castle demonstrated the same concept, except it was Assassin's Creed running through his Facebook account. Assassin's Creed through a Facebook account.

I was already imagining being able to write stories and embed the games I was talking about into the story. That's not the point of InstantAction, but it's an exciting byproduct of the tech.

Ubisoft hasn't signed onto the venture yet, but LucasArts has.

"LucasArts is using the InstantAction platform for online distribution of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, which is launching soon," said the company in a brief statement.

The Technology That Allows You To Embed A Video Game: InstantAction

There are two ways the games are made playable. Castle's steam has partnered with David Perry's OnLive competitor Gaiaki to allow for instant streaming of select games. When InstantAction launches on March 25, the Gaikai technology won't be there just yet, but it's coming in the near future. When it's there, the game will default to checking whether bandwidth is capable of streaming the game instantaneously. If your connection can't handle it, however, it simply starts downloading the game files in the order that will let you start playing as soon as possible. In the case of The Secret of Monkey Island, it was up and running in a few seconds, allowing you to start playing while the rest of the game downloads in the background (it took about 5-10 minutes for Assassin's Creed to download enough data to start playing). There's even a progress meter showing the download in real-time. If you happen to rush through the game and access an area it hasn't downloaded, the game will pause and catch up.

There's much more to InstantAction, especially as it relates to how publishers can take control of the distribution of process of games in relation to brick 'n mortars like GameStop and Wal-Mart, but the biggest takeaway for me was the embedding. It's as effortless as YouTube, too. The HTML code is waiting underneath the game. InstantAction says publishers will dictate if a game can be embedded (and restrict where it can't be embedded), but hopefully most will let gamers go wild with that one.

OnLive has a launch date. InstantAction is later this month. These technologies are moving from potential to real-world applications. Here's hoping they're as exciting to use as they are to talk about.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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