In our quest to provide our readers with entertaining content we are always on the look for new Digital trends and technologies to cover. Hence why here at Digital Fixation we juggle topics such as Social Media Marketing, Google Analytics, Cryptocurrency and today’s topic “Cloud Gaming”. One might ask what exactly is “Cloud Gaming”? Cloud Gaming is loosely defined as a type of online gaming that runs video games on remote servers and streams them directly to a user’s device or one can say “playing a game remotely from a cloud”. The use case is different from the traditional method of gaming that’s run on a video game console, PC or mobile device.
How Does Cloud Gaming Work?
As mentioned cloud gaming services operate by hosting and running games on powerful services via a virtual machine. In a nutshell cloud gaming works in a streaming context just as Netflix or Twitch. The big challenge with cloud gaming is found within the latency aspect. Because the gamer is using a controller to send inputs to a server over the Internet, which consequently sends the results of the inputs directly back to you. That invariably results in lagging issues. A slight delay in the midst of gaming is quite noticeable (whereas within Twitch it may not be). Input lag is a primary issue for online competitive games where the competitive nature of winning and losing is often decided in the most minute of a second.
Key Players in Cloud Gaming– Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon?
I’m guessing most of you are familiar with those names? They are all players in the nascent world of cloud gaming.
- Google Stadia– provides a cloud streaming service at $10 a month. This service does require gamers to purchase individual games (although some are free). So they’ve changed how gamers access the gaming hardware but not the content. The lack of content is viewed as somewhat of a drawback to adoption. But that’s subject to change. It came onto the scene in 2019 and has suffered through growing pains in 2020.
- Microsoft Xbox ($10 per month) and Apple Arcade ($5 per month)- Their models are most akin to that of Netflix. Essentially an all you can eat subscription service. Subscribers still need to download and install the games locally.
- Sony PS ($13 per month)- a cloud gaming service that also features the AYCE gaming catalog. It differs a bit in that subscribers don’t need to play many of the titles via cloud delivery; they can also be downloaded via local processing.
- Shadow– Doesn’t specifically provide cloud gaming but provides cloud computing gaming
- Project XCloud– Service provided by Microsoft and hosted on Microsoft’s powerful Azure servers. Users will have full access to the XBox Content library.
- Other key players in the hardware space of cloud gaming include industry leader, Nvidia, Intel, IBM, Blade, Paperspace and Ubitus. Nvidia is the primary provider of the omnipresent GPUs.
Drawbacks to the Adoption of Cloud Gaming
There’s a variety of things that can hamper a smooth cloud gaming experience. Bandwidth costs for starters. Bandwidth costs are believed to be twice as great as that of computing and rendering. This is one reason that Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are keen players in this space. Due to the cashed-up nature of their operations, they can afford to be viable players of the streaming infrastructure. And they already pay the lowest bandwidth pricing from private networks. Size truly matters in this space. Data centre costs and inefficiencies also cause issues. The GPUS (Graphic Processing Units) themselves are very costly and data centres have tremendous heat and electricity requirements. There’s a huge difference when the game is sitting at the home of the gamer; something quite different when residing in a rack with numerous others generating heat from the graphic cards. A recipe for a meltdown in the most literal sense.
The Future of Cloud Gaming
We’re still aways from the ultimate game-changer in cloud gaming. But should it really take off it will likely spell the end of gaming consoles and mark a new era of gaming. Without the need for pricey hardware, we can expect for graphically intensive games on low-cost mobiles and tablets. There’s also the potential for online multiplayer gaming by controlling the entire e2e (end to end) process on cloud servers. Google Stadia promises previously unheard of scalability. Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of concurrent gamers!
Well, that concludes my brief look into this growing sector. What are your thoughts? I know gaming is a massively popular concept so I would imagine a number of readers at Digital Fixation can provide an accurate compare/contrast between the offerings? Drop us a line and let us know what you think. Until then be happy, safe, and Digitally Fixated!