Video gaming has evolved massively over the years with much better graphics, great storyline, and breathtaking visuals. The fun began with the 8-bit games Super Mario Bros and Contra and later by the arrival of PlayStation. In the 2000s, classics like GTA San Andreas and Portal came which were followed by Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and GTA V. Now with gaming competitions, eSports, and their likes, gaming has come a long way.
Video gaming have now evolved in multiple genres like racing (Need for Speed), Parkour style (Assassin’s Creed), FPS shooters (Call of Duty and Halo), Horror (Resident Evil series), or Sports games like FIFA. The spread of video games can be gauged by the fact that the highest Football governing body FIFA is backing the FIFA series video games. Game Streaming has gone professional now, professional footballers like Sergio Aguero or current F1 drivers like Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc becoming the online gaming hero.
With the advent of cloud gaming, the industry is now at the cusp of its most radical change. Cloud Gaming aims to provide high-end gaming experience without the super expensive PC hardware which were needed earlier. A gamer now needs just a simple low-end PC or even a smartphone to enjoy high end gaming.
Google has taken the lead in cloud gaming service by launching “Stadia'', followed by Nvidia with “GeForce Now”. Microsoft, which is one of the heavy-hitters of console gaming via their Xbox series, is shortly launching their cloud gaming service xCloud for Android in 22 countries. So anyone with an Android phone and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, can enjoy the high quality online games on their smartphone.
Cloud gaming comes with many advantages, the biggest of these is that there is no need to download a huge amount of data for running these games. Most games nowadays come with a download size exceeding 50 GB while some like Call of Duty: Warzone and Red Dead Redemption 2 even require around 100 GB download. Then there comes all the DLCs, patches which again need huge chunks of data. Cloud gaming eliminates it.
The second advantage is that the above-mentioned games can even run on an Android device. Also, don’t be concerned about the quality of resolution of these cloud-run games. Google Stadia can run games at 4K resolution at 60fps, which is even the limit of the current-gen consoles. They claim to further expand it to 8K at 120fps in the future, which is a quality that the best current Graphics card, the Nvidia Titan RTX hasn’t even reached.
However, with all the advantages, cloud gaming still has some basic shortcomings. The first one among them is the requirement of very high data bandwidth. The idea of playing games at 4K@60fps may seem fascinating, but that will need a steady high-speed bandwidth. For instance, Stadia lists that one needs at least 35 Mbps connection to accomplish the said frame rate and resolution.
The second bottleneck of cloud gaming is that it requires huge amounts of data to run games at such high quality. However the main reason inhibiting its wider adoption is the high cost associated with cloud gaming. For instance, Stadia costs $9.99/month, but it only comes with some select games available for free. Many other games like Assassin’s Creed series are available at Stadia, but these are to be purchased separately and at a price almost on par with the PC and Console version of the game. These shortcomings make one wonder if they are paying a much larger amount of money compared to if they purchased a gaming PC or console.
The world entering the age of 5G internet can be a catalyst to the growth of cloud gaming across the world. It can surely challenge the upcoming next-gen consoles, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 soon. Microsoft’s approach with its xCloud service looks to be going in sync with its PC and Xbox ecosystem. It will indeed be helpful to the gaming industry in the longer run.
So, the big question arises, can Cloud gaming take over the video gaming world? For the present, the answer is a clear NO! In the future, perhaps.