Gaming: no consoles, no limits
The gaming industry is still enjoying an unimaginable boom due to the pandemic. According to NPD Group, a market research agency, in the US alone, sales increased 30% in comparison to the previous year, surpassing 11.6 billion dollars in 2020 Q3.
In this context, different proposals were formulated to appeal to users, and one of the most innovative ones is cloud gaming, i.e., video games in the cloud. Even though this type of service without consoles is not new (in 2017, a platform named Gloud, from Turner, was trialed with limited success, and therefore halted), nowadays the available options are broad and competitive. There are several platforms on the market, such as:
- Stadia by Google
- XCloud by Microsoft
- Steam Cloud Play by Valve
- PlayStation Now by SONY
- GeForce Now by NVIDIA
They all promise gameplay with the highest possible definition, no latency nor the need to have top-range consoles.
How Do Cloud Platforms Work?
One of their main characteristics is that, in order to work properly, you only need to be connected to the Internet. All the game data (including every match) is stored in the cloud, so it isn’t necessary to have a high-performance computer to meet requirements.
Cloud gaming only needs 3 elements:
- The terminal, which sends player actions to the server and also broadcasts image and sound.
- The server, which executes the game.
- The network, which serves as a link between the two previously mentioned elements.
All this design relies heavily on strong bandwidth communication. It’s there that 5G technology will be key to having the best performance possible when executing the games.
Even though each service has special features, let’s see what the general characteristics of this new gaming modality are.
Advantages of Cloud Gaming
- Low-Cost Experience
Even though cloud platforms require a monthly subscription and access to every game is generally paid for individually, the cost of having a state-of-the-art console or a high-performance computer is also high. With these services, hardware requirements to run the games are more affordable, and can even be accessed from a mobile phone, making them more open and far-reaching, available to a new audience that previously couldn’t access certain games.
One of the greatest advantages of these services is that games aren’t limited to one console or PC. Cloud gaming offers us the opportunity to explore games from Playstation 5, XBox One, Nintendo, Switch, or former consoles or titles with demanding requirements (such as Cyberpunk, the last CD Project launch). You can access these games from any PC or smartphone as long as you have (great) Internet connection.
If we think that, in order to run any of these games, you need a solid Internet connection (which could be a disadvantage, especially in Latin America), the Cloud experience allows us to play games without the need for tedious downloads or constant updates, avoiding processing and using resources in our local environment, but ensuring graphic quality which is hard to get if you don’t have the necessary hardware.
Cloud Gaming, Round the Corner
The gaming industry has definitely thrived exponentially, and this trend will continue for who knows how long, especially with the boom of Twitch broadcasting during lockdown, and the fact that “the Cloud”, as a concept, has been up and running for years. This leads us to think that the possibilities are endless and that the future of cloud gaming is not a game, but a reality.