Is Cloud Gaming enough to replace consoles right now?
Have you ever imagined playing FIFA 19 on your poorly spec-ed machine which suffers to run FIFA 17? Or even playing PUBG/ Fortnite on your mobile device which can’t even support them?
Well so have I, and that future is right before us. The big question everyone is asking is how and the answer is cloud gaming.
Cloud gaming (gaming on demand) is basically a type of online gaming that allows direct and on-demand video streaming of games onto computers, consoles and mobile devices, directly into an app or a web browser.
The actual game is stored and run on a cloud server with huge processing power and the video results are streamed directly to your personal computer over the internet.
The concept of cloud gaming is not new, its 3 years old to be specific and started with a makeshift by Sony. Sony first launched the PlayStation now and it was designed to give old gamers a feel of their past with the introduction of legendary PS2 and PS3 games such as Bloodborne or Batman: Arkham City. It’s available on both Windows and PlayStation consoles.
The gameplay is smooth as long as your connection is stable but a slight reduction in network speed would reset you to your last saved point and that makes the game-play finicky. The service cost $10 a month and $100 dollars a year for 750+games but the lack of download functions for most games still make it a much less appealing deal than the PS plus subscription which offers online multiplayer games.
At a price of $10 per 100 hours, Vortex is kinda cheap considering the wider variety of games it offers including Battle Royale’s Player Unknown BattleGrounds and Fortnite. Vortex is another cloud gaming service and was designed by Remotr. It can be played on almost all devices although the best experience is on Android phones.
Microsoft recently jumped into the cloud gaming train last year with their announcement of the Xcloud scheduled to be released in either 2019 or in 2020 with the new Xbox. It is primarily geared towards allowing people to stream AAA games on Android phones which reiterates the point stated by Microsoft that the Xcloud is not intended to compete with consoles.
This is totally different from the idea that Google portrayed with the launch of the Google Stadia dubbed “the future of gaming is not a box,”.
Stadia has been set up by Google to “revolutionize” the gaming experience as we know it today if the demo shown is anything to go by such as seamless transfer between multiple devices and loading games in less than 5 seconds.
This is made possible by the 10.2 teraflops GPU which seems capable enough. In terms of input, Stadia supports input from both PS4 and Xbox controllers and the traditional keyboard and mouse for pc. However, Google introduced its own controller with the regular features of any controller but added a Google assistant button and a button to stream live to Youtube.
The fact that all the gaming happens inside your chrome browser is a bit insane.
But do the internet speeds around the world support it? I don’t think so. Google Stadia recommends an entry data speed of 25Mbps which is absurdly high for a country like Ghana. Not all our networks even support 4G connection and even the ones that support have been alternating between 4G and 3G. We just aren’t there yet so I doubt it’ll be of much use to us at the moment.
But with the advent of 5G, it seems like a good time for cloud gaming. Even in that scenario, only a few select cities would get it. Where does that leave the rest of the world? Would cloud gaming be enough to replace your console? I don’t think so.