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Cloud Gaming Explained

Is it the future of gaming?

In this article we’ll explore Cloud Gaming, its potential benefits and limitations as well as its prospectives in the future of gaming. 

What is Cloud Gaming? 

Cloud Gaming or Gaming on Demand is a type of service-based gaming wherein video games are run on remote servers and streamed directly to a user’s end device, be it console, PC or mobile. Conversely, traditional gaming requires users to run the video game locally using the power of their own devices.

How does it work?

Similar to video-on-demand services or a remote desktop, cloud gaming operates by storing and executing games remotely using specific hardware, the provider then streams the game to the player’s device as video. Client software manages the player’s inputs before sending them back to the server to be performed in-game.

Pro’s and Con’s

The main benefit of such a service is that it eliminates the user’s need to buy expensive hardware and have the space required to install the games locally on their system. Additionally, Cloud gaming increases the range of available devices from tablets and smartphones to computers. 

This lighter hardware requirement also comes with other benefits such as increased interactivity for gaming streams. There is the potential for viewers to connect to and participate in the game they are watching their favourite streamer play. 

Cloud Gaming is not without its flaws though, the main setback for the growth of this style of gaming has and will continue to be is its need for a strong, stable internet connection with a high bandwidth and low latency. Because the user’s inputs need to travel to the server before being input in the game, the potential for disruptive levels of latency is much higher, this makes it an unattractive option for games with high input data and low margins for error such as shooting games and fighting games. 

Another major factor is the costs of setting up and maintaining the infrastructure required to allow for the service. Data Centers and Server Farms are required to run the games and the connection required for video streaming is not available in all geographic locations. ISPs can also put data caps on their services which will interfere with the user’s ability to play.

Present

After a fairly unprofitable infancy, the popularity and realisation of cloud gaming has steadily risen with companies such as Sony, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and NVidia launching their own cloud gaming services, PS Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Luna, Stadia and GeForce Now respectively. It’s fairly safe to assume that the money these companies can invest in development of such services will lead to optimization and scaling improvements in the near future.

Future

Potential improvements in the future could be the implementation of Predictive Input. By using an algorithm to predict the users next inputs, the effects of latency would be minimal. Another possible breakthrough could come in the form of GPU resource sharing. By utilising better resource scheduling algorithms, GPU’s could be more effectively used and their processing power shared between multiple users. 


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