I was talking some years ago with a Linux expert, one of the big important ones. We were of course talking about operating systems and their future. I was talking about a very fast, on the fly, live OS dedicated just for gaming. Imagine getting a new PC game, putting the DVD on the drive and restarting your pc. BIOS POST, and off it boots the game. What's the point? None. Maybe not needing drivers or updates or antivirus or whatever, so you'll experience the most of the game as long as you meet minimum hardware requirements.
So the guru said to me: "you wanna know what's the future of operating systems?"
This was the year 2001, when internet was still slow and Windows XP was the greatest thing ever. And that's when I heard the first concept of a Cloud OS. What's a Cloud OS? Well, imagine your computer with a very very fast internet connection and no hard drive. Or your friend's computer, with the same config. You turn it on and it asks for username and password. It connects to the internet and there it is, YOUR desktop, your software, your 50GB of mp3s. You can play your games, work on your documents and then simply logout.
All and everything you have on your PC right now will be dispersed between servers around the world.
And this is cool because you can change hardware every 6 months without reformatting, copying files over, etc. Plus, you can work literally anywhere in the world, given you have a good internet connection.
And just today, I saw a first concept running. I shall say no more.
But you might taste something similar with Cloud Gaming. Head over to http://www.onlive.com/ and create an account. You don't even need to put a valid e-mail. Download the small program and try one of the demos.
I was just running Dirt 2 on max settings. On a $200 netbook.