iPad app iSwifter re-purposed for playing Starcraft 2

Remember iSwifter, the iPad app that lets you play certain web-based Flash games? The idea is that iSwifter acted as a kind of middleman, streaming the Flash gameplay to your iPad via the iSwifter servers. It's an interesting idea and services like OnLive have shown that streaming gaming can work, but honestly I haven't had much luck using iSwifter. Games are pretty laggy and even though the devs continue to add supported games to their library, it just doesn't go very far towards making up for that missing Flash plug-in for browser-based gaming. Still, it's a free app so I can't really complain and every so often it's a good way to kill some time. I'm not sure what their business model is, though.

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Then yesterday I saw a post at Kotaku showing iSwifter being used to play Starcraft II on an iPad. Now that was something interesting to see. Of course you and I can't use iSwifter to play Starcraft II on our iPads, due to licensing issues. And even if we could, I suspect the experience would be very different if the streaming was happening over the internet (I'm assuming the video shows someone at iSwifter HQ playing through local servers). The solution? Let's convince the iSwifter people to sell a server app that we can run on our own computers that lets us stream our own licensed games to the iPad (and let's get an Android app ready, too; one that works with Google TV). I'm thinking something like PlayOn, only for gaming. Sounds like a plausible business model to me. You'd pay a set fee for the server and a nice bundle of gamepacks (used to enable specific titles) and then they could sell additional gamepacks down the line. What do you think? Would you pay for software that let you take your PC games with you? [Update: After posting this, some friends of mine told me about Splashtop Desktop, an iPad app that lets them play their PC games remotely. I personally haven't checked it out yet. Thanks to Brenda and Chris for the info!]

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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