CLOUD GAMING

Cloud gaming

Introduction-

  • Cloud gaming is a latest way to carry high-quality gaming experience to gamers anywhere and anytime. 
  • In cloud gaming, advanced gaming software runs on powerful servers in data centers, rendered game scenes are streamed to gamers over the internet in real time and the gamers use light-weight software implemented on diverse devices to interact with the games. 
  • Due to the rapid increase in numbers of high-speed networks and cloud computing, cloud gaming has attracted massive attention in both academia and industry since late 2000’s.
  • The innovative possibilities of cloud gaming has been theorized upon for years, but it’s only recently that video game publishers and hardware makers have started taking their 1st steps toward truly taking advantage of the possibilities. 
  • Cloud applications in gaming are relatively modest but several companies have signaled plans to make it much more of a focus. Within a few years, the cloud could be a major force in driving how and where we play games.

What Is “the Cloud”?

“The cloud” is a catch-all term for isolated computer processes. Instead of handling a processing-heavy task on your own personal laptop, for example, you can pay a fee to have an approach to computing power elsewhere. A framework of processors with much more power than a consumer-grade computer can hold these processes much more quickly and then feed the end-result into your own computer at home.

  • These tasks are often  limited by standard processor speeds or just the ones that are large. For example, you may host your cluster of family photos on a cloud server hosted by a company like Google or Apple for a small fee. 
  • This is one reason why consumer laptops have been steadily reducing their amount of onboard storage: for most users, having several hundred gigabytes of space to hold all their images and music just isn’t required anymore.
  • Several companies have already established cloud-based businesses. Some companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, are focused mostly on B2B services–functions that run on the back-end of other websites.
  • Others companies like Google or Backblaze offer cloud-based backups of your photos or even an image of your entire computer hard drive for crisis. 
  • Finally, companies like Spotify and Netflix have made their name by taking conventional physical entertainment media and streaming it directly to consumers, cutting down on clutter.

Gaming Meets the Cloud

  • We have already seen the cloud applied to video games in various ways, but it’s early steps were difficult and immediate. 
  • The first 2 major competitors were Gaikai and OnLive, which were formed in the years 2008 and 2009. Both the companies aimed to stream high-end video games and allow end-users to pay a subscription fee for the comfort. 
  • OnLive even sold a microconsole which was little more than a pass-through streaming box. Ultimately the streaming infrastructure hadn’t been developed enough to sustain their business models. 
  • OnLive’s station of itself as a competitor to major console players like Xbox and PlayStation opened it to adverse comparisons.

Video Games Inside the Cloud

  • The largest steps for cloud gaming appear to be yet to come but they are already taking shape. 
  • Outside of PlayStation, the large ideas tossed by OnLive and Gaikai now appear composed for launch by large corporations with more tech development know-how and hardware infrastructure in place.
  • Google debuted Project Stream, a test case for the emerging technology. By partnering with Ubisoft, the company allowed participants to play Assassin’s Creed Origins right through their Google Chrome browser. 
  • All of the furnishing and processing power was grasped remotely, so players were essentially left with a streaming video of their own play session. 
  • It required a high-speed Internet connection but the results were said to be magnificent.
  • Now Google is taking the next big step.Google Stadia which is a streaming platform that promises new kinds of combination between playing and streaming. 
  • The company is planning it in the year 2019 and will sell its own proprietary Stadia controller but you will be able to play on any Chrome-enabled device with any existing USB controller.
  • Microsoft has already begun teasing Project xCloud, its own game streaming solution. Unlike the Google test, Microsoft was sure to mention that the goal of xCloud is to run on any device, including mobile. 
  • Microsoft already has the console infrastructure so it may be assured to add streaming to its list of Xbox services, like Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass. 
  • EA is planning its own game streaming service to launch in 2020.
  • Other competitors from outside the traditional games industry like Verizon are reportedly starting to explore the possibility of streaming as well.

Storm Clouds

  • Each of the major players will have road blocks to overcome. 
  • Cloud computing often fights with user privacy and data sharing concerns. 
  • Since all user activity is registered through the cloud and often cloud computing companies make extra revenue by selling user activity data to market researchers, users may be especially wary of handing over their personal information. 
  • It would also accent the issue of server outages. Currently some online-only games are inaccessible if you can’t log on, but generally most single-player games allow you to play without any internet connection at all. 
  • If streaming gaming through the cloud is the future, any server downtime at all.Even if just for maintenance, it will cut you off entirely from play.
  • In a country as large as the United States, the high-speed internet required to run cloud-based gaming isn’t as widespread as in smaller, more densely-populated countries.
  • Another major concern is latency. Video games are a medium that sometimes rely on pinpoint distinctiveness. 
  • Any lag in play could mean the difference between life and death.
  • With a game installed on your console or PC, the hardware itself does the computing required to process a button press and display the significant feedback. 
  • In a streaming model, the signal from your controller has to be sent to the cloud server, which then has to display the video and broadcast it back to you. 
  • Each of these operations would take place in small fractions of a second, but players will notice if the controls don’t feel responsive. 
  • While feedback from Google’s Project Stream test was largely positive in this respect, the sample was self-selected to be power gamers with high-speed internet. 
  • One possible enhanced factor on the way is the advent of 5G which is the informal name for the latest generation of cellular mobile data. 
  • Cell companies have been developing 5G specifically to tackle some of the broad technology challenges coming with higher data demands which include reducing latency and cost and aiming for a high data rate. 
  • If game streaming comes into its own alongside 5G, the concerns about broadband perforation and latency could both be resolved at once. 
  • Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot referenced the need for 5G when speaking with GameSpot about the promise of game streaming
  • A day may be coming when the hardware required to run the latest and greatest fidelity-pushing games isn’t sitting in your living room at all, but on a server rack. 
  • At that point, issues like console brand loyalty and minimum recommended specs could become much less relevant than they are today.

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