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The clouds we see in the sky come in all shapes and sizes. They can be fluffy, misshapen and flat, lined with silver or rainbows. With the recent announcement of Happy Cloud officially open for business July 18, the cloud gaming space is starting to look just as varied as the sky.

Happy Cloud, similar to OnLive and Gaikai, hosts games on their servers and streams them onto the player’s PC. This saves them from having to wait through long download times. However, unlike with the other cloud gaming services, players are downloading the game as they play and thus winding up with the full title on their PC’s.

With cloud gaming in a very nascent stage, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more services barreling over the horizon like OnLive or Happy Cloud, or another taking on a totally different model no one has ever heard of. Call it cloud growing pains.

At first glance, this may seem like a good thing. Players get a choice, after all. It’s like the console market — with the PS3, 360, Wii and soon to be Wii-U, there is enough to satisfy all gaming tastes. There’s OnLive, Gaiki and now Happy Cloud. There is a noticable difference, however.

While gamers get to choose between cloud services, they always play with the risk (no matter how small, it’s still there) that the game will be arbitrarily axed. This means that there is a potential that the $30 you dropped on the cloud version of F.E.A.R. 3 evaporates into nothingness as for some odd reason the game is no longer available. Remember, with cloud gaming you’re paying for access, not ownership.

Happy Cloud seems to buck this risk as you actually download the game while you’re playing. One can say that Happy Cloud is not totally cloud because of this. It’s more like a funner and faster way to download games on the PC. Still, there is digital rights management (DRM) in place, so it still may be good practice to read up on their end user license agreement, as with all other hardware and software you buy. Game safe, people.

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