But the cloud is a bad option here. One reason is that you need a fast broadband connection to do Web gaming, so play becomes limited to people's living rooms and offices. The mobile networks, despite what the carriers advertise, don't have the capacity for graphics-intensive gaming any more than they do for TV delivery. Heck, I often can't even get Twitter to download new tweets on my train during commute hours.
Broadband access costs real money, so if the pitch is to widen the pool of players to include those who can't afford higher-end mobile devices -- well, chances are those people don't have fast broadband at home, either. With carriers implementing data caps on home broadband, moving users to online game playing will only increase their costs, especially if they're also using other services like Netflix and Hulu.
A related reason is that you need a consistent connection. You probably get that at home and at the office, but few other places. The Wi-Fi at hotels and cafés is often slow and intermittent, for example. And the cellular networks often have weak signals or are overloaded. Caching can overcome these issues only so much.
Graphics processing is only part of the puzzle, as Microsoft has found in its experiments around cloud delivery of Xbox games.
The truth is that native processing simply makes more sense for game-playing than cloud augmentation, much less delivery -- as it does for so many other things. Companies like Amazon and Google of course are betting on cloud-based services, so they want to steer both developers and users to them, but that bet is charitably a long-term one.
The cloud is a great place to get data from in burst-style usage (à la email and the Web), and it's a great supplement to mobile devices' innate capabilities (à la cloud storage). But it shouldn't be used as a critical component of your mobile computing engine.
This article, "Mobile doesn't need the cloud as its engine," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.