Sega Turn Japanese arcades into ‘fog gaming’ data centers

According to the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, Sega is currently researching and developing an exclusive new arcade-based streaming tech for Japan called “Fog .”

The name Fog Gaming comes from fog computing, and the concept uses the arcade infrastructure in Japan. Arcade games use servers that are then connected to the cloud. Fog Gaming will harness those servers in arcades as well as the cloud servers.

The article is vague about the possibility of streaming Sega’s arcade games, but the tech would make it possible to stream arcade-level games thanks to the way it harnesses arcade game processing power. The Famitsu article is more about Sega’s novel concept behind bringing fog computing to arcades.

Installing a large number of servers throughout Japan is a major business hurdle, Famitsu points out. However, Sega’s arcade games already use powerful CPUs and GPUs. The games are all connected to servers in the game centres, which are then connected to cloud servers. Sega has around 200 arcades in Japan. The basic infrastructure is there right now.

When people would log into Fog Gaming at home, they would connect to the same cloud servers that the arcades use, being automatically auto-assigned to the nearest server. However, players would get the images and the sound from the servers in the arcade connected to that game cabinets. This is why the platform is called Fog Gaming, as it’s utilising the servers in the actual arcades. But since Fog Gaming also connects to the closest cloud server that arcade games use, this would make for a low-lag gaming experience and would make it possible to reduce that lag to under a millisecond.

One of the merits of this system is that it efficiently uses the arcade computing power. Now, when arcade games aren’t being played or the game centres are closed for the day, that power is idle. In a covid-19 world, where arcades have especially been hit hard, Fog Gaming could help breathe new life into the arcade industry, developing an entirely new business model.

The article doesn’t give an exact date about when Fog Gaming will actually become a reality in Japanese arcades, but the tech could certainly be a boon to the country’s game centres, allowing them to do computing for non-gaming businesses. According to Famitsu, the Fog Gaming initiative will arcades into little data centres.

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