3 Reasons Cloud Gaming will Take Off, and 3 Reasons it Won’t
You may be surprised to know that cloud gaming technology has been around since 2000 when G-cluster’s first product of this niche was showcased at the E3 expo. Through their innovative game development, they started a new movement in the industry. However, over two decades later, it’s not a common phenomenon—yet? Will it ever really take off?
The G-cluster brand did release the tech in 2003 and over the years big names like Xbox and Google have invested in this type of online game development too. However, there are still many challenges that hamper the technology’s use and delay players’ enjoyment of it.
One may even start to wonder if it’s worth it for key members in the industry to invest their resources in online games of this nature. We take an in-depth look at cloud gaming to make sense of this unique field.
What is Cloud Gaming Exactly?
With traditional gaming, a game’s files are stored on a device. The ‘device’ can be a disk, or it can be a gaming console onto which the files are downloaded. The game is reliant on the player having a relevant device as it’s up to this unit to process the games. Devices affect aspects such as the speed at which a player’s actions are processed throughout the gameplay. For ie, high-end gaming PC are able to run certain games at a higher resolution and/or high framerate than mid-range PCs or consoles.
In contrast, with cloud gaming a player connects to a remote server which has the task of processing and rendering the game. The visuals and controls (player input) are sent via streaming technology to the player’s device or an app on a device or even a web browser. In this case, the ’device’ can be a PC but smartphones or tablets can also suffice.
A huge motivation behind the cloud gaming movement is that it bypasses the need to own a traditional game console or PC with high-end specifications. Those in charge of game development in this field aim to make it more accessible. They want to ensure anyone who has a device with which they can establish an internet connection and access the servers, can enjoy the games.
There have been success stories, such as Microsoft Xbox’s xCloud service. It has already given game lovers easier access to a range of games without the need to purchase the brand’s game console.
But still there are many hurdles and despite massive leaps in tech innovation, it’s still not clear how quickly the masses will pursue cloud gaming. And will it eventually overtake traditional gaming in popularity?
3 Factors that Benefit Cloud Gaming
Looking back, there are glimmers of hope for this unique gaming approach that keep the industry excited about its potential. Boosted by enough of these benefits, cloud gaming could be the future for gamers.
Early Market Success
The cloud gaming market can boast about successful products and campaigns. As mentioned, Xbox xCloud already gives players easy access to games, as long as they pay a monthly subscription. Furthermore, Sony uses the technology of streaming as well, called PS Remote Play. However, with this brand you do need a PS4 or PS5 which will render your games; Microsoft’s xCloud does not have such a requirement. Other brands may release similar products and services that gamers will come to enjoy.
High End Gaming Becomes More Accessible
The global gaming market in terms of console games has shown a revenue of over $107 billion in recent years. This shows its popularity as a pastime!
With cloud gaming, this privilege can be enjoyed by even more players. As long as the technology performs well, they can get access to high end games. The allure of gaming suggests that even though cloud gaming will require players to commit to expenses such as monthly subscription fees, they will most likely be willing to pay.
Growing Internet Bandwidth
Some may argue that the bandwidth required to make full use of cloud gaming is too high. However, bandwidth usage per user is escalating exponentially. Data shows that across the globe bandwidth grows, making this less of a hurdle as time passes.
3 Reasons Cloud Gaming May Not Take Off Successfully
From players to vendors and developers, it’s important to have a realistic view of this technology. This is clear if one looks at the disaster surrounding Google Stadia. It launched in 2018 but the brand made unrealistic promises during marketing campaigns, resulting in disappointed users. That, paired with uncompetitive pricing led to the service’s cancellation at the start of 2023.So, just because it sounds like ‘the next best thing’, doesn’t mean it is. Unfortunately, there are major hurdles that prevent cloud gaming from being utilized and enjoyed to its full potential.
Immaturity of Technology
While there has been development, the tech necessary to successfully support cloud gaming is not mature enough yet:
- Latency causes frustration, especially during games where fast response time determines the outcome.
- There are also still issues getting proper image quality when streaming from a remote server. Even on Parsec which is rated as a successful cloud streaming service, the best resolution you can expect is 1080p 60Hz.
Therefore, compared to what most gamers are used to when using their consoles, they may feel it’s not worth switching to streaming services just yet.
Game Design Challenges
Game developers can try and circumvent current challenges, such as taking latency during streaming into account. However, by changing game designs, you start catering for a different market, which means you’re not giving all gamers what they need anymore. The target audience becomes smaller, which can result in much lower sales figures.
Players’ Carbon Footprint—Cloud Gaming Isn’t Very Green
Eco-friendly living is a high priority for many people these days and surprisingly, it’s not ecologically cheaper to use cloud gaming services. Your carbon footprint will be smaller when you have your own console compared to connecting to a server that uses a massive amount of electrical energy to perform tasks like rendering and sending high-end encoded signals.
One thing you must remember is that one can never predict what tech advances may see the light soon. A slight change could quickly bolster gamers’ trust or curiosity, resulting in a cloud gaming boom.
Merchants, developers and brands must keep a close eye on this technology and the many factors at play—such as 5G tech. That’s how you stay competitive, no matter what the future holds for gaming.