With the launch of Google Stadia, we thought it would be an excellent time to take an in-depth look at the potential of cloud gaming and how it can change the face of the games industry. Google are making headlines at the moment, but there’s a whole lot of others looking to make a splash in the space.
Who’s doing it?
Google aren’t the only ones getting in on the action, with Microsoft planning for their upcoming Project xCloud and Sony currently running Playstation Now, the big dogs are all involved. They’re not the only ones, with EA’s Project Atlas, Ubisoft’s Uplay+ and Nvidia’s GeForce Now also looking for a piece of the pie.
With Stadia’s launch as an entirely new platform, with Google having little to no history in the industry has, of course, gained a lot of attention. Early reviews have praised the system’s functionality while criticising a lack of features (though they will be included in the full release) and a disappointing launch lineup.
- No more updates, installs or downloads
You’re used to buying a new game, waiting for it to download, installing it and being ready to boot it up only to find there’s a patch to install first. It’s a pain, but cloud gaming promises to make that a thing of the past. With the games being hosted on external services, there’s no need for you to install, update or download anything.
- Cheaper in the long run
Gaming is expensive, buying games is bad enough but when you factor in the cost of buying a new console, buying or upgrading a PC and then having to do it again when a new game you can’t play on your current setup comes out things can quickly spiral out of control. If all your gaming is done on the cloud; however, you only need to factor in the cost of games and subscription to whatever service you choose. You could even switch between several platforms as exclusive titles release.
- Complete flexibility
Going travelling and not having access to all your games can be a pain, but if you’re able to play something like Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption 2 on your phone (internet providing) then that stops being an issue.
- No offline play
Not everyone has access to an internet connection capable of streaming games at a high enough level. This makes playing games on the go a particular struggle, with public Wifi networks likely unable to bear the brunt of the work. On top of that, data usage caps which could potentially limit players’ access to their library.
- No more owning games
This has become a growing issue as games go digital, with fewer people using physical copies. This means that should the streaming service in question shut down, you’ve just lost access to your whole library, and all of your save files. While also preventing the possibility of selling games on, trading them in or sharing with friends.
Given the number of companies looking to get into the cloud gaming market, it’s clear the technology is here to stay. You can no doubt, expect to see more and more get involved as things develop. Whether it’s the future of gaming, though, is another question. There’s no doubt plenty of benefits to game streaming, though obviously there are drawbacks too. The same can be said about console and PC gaming. There’s no chance streaming will take up the whole market, but it’s sure to make a sizeable dent.