With the advent of the digital age, computer gaming had been a runaway success even from the beginning of the era. Today, the computer gaming industry had been generating such huge earnings they are at par with those of the movie and television industries, sometimes higher.
New games, new developments and new technological advances have the movers of the gaming industry on their toes in trying to keep up with the innovations at all fronts. AirConsole, a browser-based gaming platform, is the newest kid on the block and it looks like it is an exciting game-changer as well.
In a nutshell, AirConsole is actually an online service that lets you play games on your computer and using your phone as the controller.
New gears for the games
AirConsole is the new arrival that did away with the hassles of the ever-present consoles and controllers (which can be awkward and annoying sometimes) when playing games. In their stead, AirConsole had replaced them with some very familiar devices.
The new multiplayer platform features your own browser in place of the old screen to play the game. (A laptop will do fine.) In addition, you now replace the ubiquitous game controller to handle the game play using your smart phone.
The browser takes the place of the old console because now the game is connected online and not just simply residing on your computer. The phone replaces the remote control because it can do the job just as good.
How it works
As a player, your first visit AirConsole.com from your choice of web browsers. At the center of the screen in the site is a big power button. Simply hit the button and you are given a code number.
Use your phone (or tablet) to visit the same AirConsole.com site and enter the given code number. Once you enter the code on your phone, your phone now becomes your game controller. When deciding to get out of the game, simply hit the AirConsole logo on the controller and you are back to the store.
The site is actually the game’s portal. Once your phone is connected, the platform automatically switches from the menu mode (the button layout you use in browsing or when switching games) to that of a controller (the one used in playing). There is nothing to download and install.
If you are with a group and decide to play together, have the second player do the same: enter the code number on the player’s phone to become player number 2. A third player becomes player number 3 after entering the same. (The games can take in as many as 8 players together.)
Browsers and games
Browsers on AirConsole work well with the platform although the list is far from varied. Safari goes well on an iPod and a Google Nexus 6P runs Chrome well enough. A Firefox on Android, however, gets you a message to use Chrome instead.
Since this is a recent release, the games are somewhat limited to some familiar titles. They include such titles as TicTac Boom, PolyRacer, and Hit Parade. The card games include poker and Cards Against Humanity.
NES and the AirConsole app
There is also the popular NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) or Nintendo emulator. You drag the game’s ROM to the website and automatically start the old classic game. (For a better connection, you would need to download the AirConsole Controller app.)
With the AirConsole Controller app, you quickly connect to AirConsole and have your smart phone become a potent game pad. The web-based app also helps in searching games at the AirConsole game catalog.
The number of games that AirConsole have at the moment is temporarily few, with the company behind the service promising to increase them as soon as possible. However, the present few are working very well.
At the moment, there is a little latency in between button presses on your phone and the expected action on screen. Calibrations on the game servers running on Google Cloud Compute Infrastructure are ongoing. The game platform is running on all available datacenters to be nearest to the users as much as possible to reduce latency.
However, the commands are all sent to the cloud infrastructure. This ensures that everything is browser-based and without the need of a setup (e.g. downloading apps, using Bluetooth connections, or joining WIFI networks).
Latency reduction is also the reason of introducing the planned WebRTC later this year. Some of the site’s games (Quickminds, AirShields, Hitparade) help in controlling latency by adjusting the position of the player to where they were without the movement lag.
In the meantime, AirConsole’s makers expressed their hopes of bringing back social gaming with the service. The ideal is for people to play games in the same room and have real interaction by way of fun playing the games.