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June 12, 2019

Dawn Of Cloud Gaming Services - What You Need To Know

Imagine a world where you don't have to buy expensive equipment to play the latest AAA games? Seems impossible, right? Well, now it's possible, or it seems so with Cloud gaming services. Just tap on your browser on any device and you are good to go! Technically, you can play 4K, 60fps game anywhere, anytime without any installation.



The idea of Cloud gaming is not new. You can at least trace it back to early 2000s when a company named G-Cluster offered services for on-demand gaming through set-top boxes. Following that a number of notable projects namely GaiKai and OnLive contributed a lot in this domain until in 2012, they were acquired by Sony to fuel PlayStation Now (a subscription service by Sony that allows players to stream older titles on their PCs and consoles).

So, why are companies offering this service now? Is it any good? In short, yes. First of all, it is the industry level security that is integrated into Cloud computing services. The gaming data in Cloud gaming is stored in a virtual storage space which is much safer than traditional methods. Secondly, these services are accessible from multiple devices like PCs, smartphones, and tablets. The limitations associated with traditional gaming devices like graphic and storage requirements all diminish with Cloud gaming services. The third factor is the reduced costs. Check out the subscription rates of Google (News - Alert) Stadia which is around $9.99 per month. All you need is a device to play your favourite games. Other benefits come in the form of reduced piracy rates, access to multiple games, availability of more devices (due to the unified platform) and prompt backend support.

Recently, Google and Microsoft (News - Alert) have announced their cloud gaming services which have been nicknamed Stadia and xCloud. Even Nintendo, the traditional gaming brand is jumping on this Cloud gaming bandwagon to offer you with streamed variants of demanding games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Resident Evil 7 (which were originally designed for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC).

Gaming, particularly PC gaming is not cheap.  A decent setup which is capable of running the latest games can cost you thousands of dollars. This isn't exactly economically feasible. Due to this, tech giants such as Nvidia, Microsoft, and Google, are trying their level best to bring high-end gaming to devices with decent internet connections. With Cloud gaming services, you will be able to play your favourite mobile and online slots UK on any device regardless of their hardware specifications. Imagine the possibilities! This is like a dream come true for many players.

At E3 2019, Google announced its gaming service, Google Stadia that took the world by storm! The company is calling it the 'Netflix for gaming' and is a true competitor to console gaming. It is due to launch by 2019 ending and will support full 4K HDR (News - Alert) streaming! All you need is a stable internet connection and a device that can open a Chrome Browser tab. In the beta version, the service was able to pull off Assassin’s Creed Odyssey relatively easy and promises to scale up to 8K / 120fps-plus frame rates in the future.

Similarly, by October 2019, Microsoft plans on launching its new game streaming service called xCloud. In E3 2019, the company showed a demo of the service where they ran high graphics demanding games like Resident Evil 7, Hellblade and Crysis 3. Although Microsoft decided to stick to local ethernet connection for showcasing the services, they assured the viewers that this was done to mitigate the risk of varying internet connections at expos and the present service was provided from a data centre in the Bay Area, roughly 400 miles away! That's truly impressive! The games were running at 720p resolution and a mostly-consistent 60 frames per second.

Next in line is Nvidia with its very own GeForce Now games streaming service. The company recently briefed that they were ready to add another one billion cloud gamers in their already existing two billion existing PC gamers. Andrew Fear, the senior product manager of Nvidia said, “The Cloud has revolutionised music/movies with services like Netflix and Spotify (News - Alert). People love the technology, we want to transform the PC gaming industry to have that instant on-demand gratification and to turn anyone into a gamer.” The company plans on providing high-end gaming to players with underpowered or incompatible hardware.

Although the technology is being made mainstream by the renowned tech giant, there are other players in this domain like Instant Play, Jump, LiquidSky, Paperspace and Parsec, Shadow,  and Shadow Ghost and Vortex. Currently, the technology has an Achilles heel of not coping up with the data caps of network carriers and high latency. A good Cloud gaming session requires 25Mbps minimum speed and low latency (less than 30ms). With the arrival of the 5G network, these problems will seize to exist and the adoption rate of Cloud gaming service will increase exponentially. With Cloud gaming support services, developers will be able to focus on in-game content instead of focusing on the hardware and console support. The future looks extremely bright for Cloud gaming.



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