Cloud Gaming:
The Future of Gaming

By Akshay Jain

If I tell you the total number of Active Gamers across all platforms, you will be baffled. The gaming industry is really huge and it is growing exponentially with the current number of active users being 2.6 Billion. The gaming industry will reach nearly $159 billion until the end of 2020.So where is this industry heading towards? Cloud Gaming, The next big thing in Gaming.


What is Cloud Gaming?

Cloud gaming, sometimes called gaming on demand or gaming-as-a-service, is a type of online gaming that runs games on remote servers and streams them directly to a user’s device, or more colloquially, playing a game remotely from a cloud.

This is Wikipedia’s definition, and it might be a bit confusing. Let’s understand this with an example.

Suppose you are playing a title of GTA Series on Cloud Gaming platforms. You are playing that game on your Gaming console and suddenly you have to go somewhere out but you are in the middle of a mission. You obviously can’t take your Gaming console with you outside. You don’t have to worry if you are playing it on Cloud Gaming Platform as it will allow resuming the game on your mobile phone from you left. It allows you to play from anywhere and anytime from any device.

 It is considered as the “Netflix of Gaming” as it is here to revolutionize the gaming industry. As Netflix shifted the whole industry from physical DVDs of movies to streaming movies anytime and anywhere, the same is with Cloud Gaming, it will allow consumers to shift from downloading games to playing them on the cloud. Don’t confuse the phrase, ‘Netflix of Gaming’ with streaming of videos of gameplay of individuals online but it is streaming of games online.

Here’s a SamsungxGamepass Commercial which will easily explain to you how it’s done.

How does it work?

You have probably heard about Cloud Technology. It is basically a place on the internet where people and companies can store and access data without saving it on their device. Consumers like us use this technology for storage like iCloud, Google Drive, Google Photos, etc. The games will be played on the cloud, that means you don’t have to download any game content. Everything will be processed through the internet. You can access any game available through the internet on any device. This technology will help you play all those famous Console and PC on your Mobile or Tablet conveniently without digging a big hole in your pocket.

The Impact on Users

 

Non-Gamers

This technology will mainly affect non-gamers. How will gaming technology affect non-gamers? It is simple; gamers are always perceived to be using high-tech gadgets & products. This was a major constraint before mobile gaming was introduced. Everyone was not ready to pay an exorbitant amount on PCs or Consoles. Mobile Gaming opened many gates for gaming, the same will happen now as non-gamers won’t need to do extra things to do some interesting gaming. This technology can widen the scope of gaming and make gaming more inclusive.

Casual Gamers

Are you a PUBG Player? Let me rephrase that, Are you a Call of Duty player? You like gaming but you just play for recreational purposes. You are considered a casual gamer in this industry. Majorly all the gamers, more than 90% of the mobile gamers are considered as Casual gamers. Cloud gaming will really affect this community a lot and push the convenience of it to a wider base. Most of the new users of Cloud Gaming will come from this category.

Hardcore Gamers

A hardcore gamer is a person who is diving into the gaming world with extreme enthusiasm and their life without gaming is impractical. Cloud Gaming will not be a dealbreaker for hardcore gamers as cloud gaming can’t be as fast as conventional gaming, the experience of zero latency and high refresh rate matter a lot to hardcore gamers. There is still a huge population of hardcore gamers who will shift to it as it will allow the gamers to expand the scope of their passion for gaming into multiple devices. They won’t have to wait to go back home to play their favourite video games, they access it from anywhere and this can be a big factor for the success of Cloud gaming in the bunch of hardcore gamers.


Problems with Cloud Gaming

 

Latency

Latency is basically the delay in completion of a command or operation even after it is being instructed by the user. In simple language, when you command a certain action on your phone and the phone does that action after a few seconds, that delay is called latency. There are multiple types of latency, but the latency in cloud gaming affects the gameplay a lot. As the games are played on the cloud, all the data of your instructions go to the cloud and then the cloud responds on that instruction by making a move in the game. With cloud gaming, the games are not latency-free and sometimes games become unplayable. This issue is a major disheartening factor in cloud gaming.

Heavy Data Usage

According to a study, 34 million Core gamers play for 22 hours a week, if they switch over to Cloud gaming then they will use 1300 GB of data just for playing.Even if you are not a hardcore gamer, you can assume how much data cloud gaming requires. It needs a minimum of 75 pings all the time and anything higher than that will make the game unplayable.

Lack of Game titles

Game titles of the cloud are definitely better than basic mobile gaming but it is way more inferior than console gaming. The number and quality of game titles on the cloud are inferior to Console or PC, which makes the users reluctant to adopt it as well.

Future of Cloud Gaming

Future of gaming is dependent on the future of cloud gaming. With time the problems associated with cloud gaming can be resolved. After the resolution, things can be very different in the gaming world. With the rollout of 5G in a lot of countries, the scope of cloud gaming has grown exponentially. The same goes for India, cloud gaming looks impractical now but with the 5G network coming it will become a game changer in 2-3 years. The game will pick up drastically. The success of this technology might get delayed but it is inevitable and cloud gaming is the future of gaming.


Brands involved in Cloud Gaming Ecosystem

Every major company in the world is associated with Cloud gaming. Google and Microsoft are in this league with their platforms, Stadia and xCloud respectively. Brands like Nvidia, Vortex, Samsung, Apple are also associated with cloud gaming or probably working on them. On September 24th, 2020, Amazon also released it’s Cloud gaming platform in the market in the name of Luna. It didn’t turn out to be a surprise for people as Amazon has already jumped Gaming ecosystem by acquiring Twitch, A game streaming app, and it also has the biggest cloud service in the market in the name of AWS.

Although Apple recently banned Stadia and xCloud from its iOS App Store as these apps were in conflict with Apple’s App Store Policies. This decision is a disguise for Apple’s antitrust policies as they are also working on a cloud gaming platform and they just want to eliminate competition of their future platform and Apple Arcade. Read this article on Apple Vs Fortnite to learn more about antitrust actions by big brands.


Final Thoughts

With the pandemic going on, the reliance on gaming for recreational purposes and the impact of gamers in the society has seen significant change. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.8%. With the changing dynamics and more adoption of gaming, cloud gaming is bound to succeed in the coming future. The main differentiating factor about cloud gaming is that it is here to democratise the gaming industry. Let’s see if it is going to change the way video games are being played or it is a utopian case for Cloud Gaming.