Technological advances and digital games have always influenced each other. In midst of new genres evolving the gaming landscape, Cloud gaming, a streaming service, is one of the latest developments that everyone is showing interest and by 2023 the global cloud gaming market is expected to grow at $450 million.
Cloud-based gaming technology has immense potential for sparking mass change in the game industry. When anyone plays a game from the cloud, the game itself is stored and executed on a machine in a server. Through the use of a client, you receive a live video of the game from their server. You issue controls (movement, shooting, and more) to the cloud from your home machine. In short, cloud gaming frees players from the constricts of hardware requirements.
At IGDC 2020, Perfect World Games manager Shivam Mishra shared an insightful vision on ‘Introduction to Cloud Gaming and Future Aspects.’ He shared that there are various advantages of cloud gaming: firstly, there will be no need for players to download and install a game. They can start a game right away. Secondly, monetisation of the games will be easy as it will be subscription-based games which will be the charging mode and that will be possible once the genre is popular and people start showing interest in. Thirdly, there will be no bar and restrictions on the devices, as all the games will be enjoyed after the cloud-subscription plan is subscribed. Fourthly, once cloud gaming is adapted, games can be played on any screens. Fifthly, since the client-side is done on the cloud, it is very effective to prevent piracy and cheaters.
Drawbacks of cloud gaming?
It is true that for running cloud games on devices a high-speed network is very essential. Mishra highlighted that the 5G to C package is quite expensive and the transfer of user rate is very low. Also, 5G devices are still on the expensive side. Apart from that as all hash rate is on the cloud there is a high requirement for server configuration. Therefore the deployment of servers location is also required consideration. Then higher bandwidth is required as it is critically dependent on the resolution quality. Normal 1080p 30 fps requires only 25 Mbps bandwidth. Also, high network delay makes it tough as low network delay provides a better experience. For example, anything which is less than 30ms provides the best experience.
Cloud gaming needs high-quality games as it is the driving force. Here are the few challenges that Mishra highlighted:
- Shortage of game diversity and innovation
- Native cloud game is still under exploration
- Server cost
- Network limitations are obstructing the reach/attention
- Industry instability as operation cost is high
- User charging habit
Gaming Industry Priority scenario
According to Microsoft Gaming vertical manager James Gwertzman, the cloud will accelerate game production by moving the entire production pipeline entirely on the cloud. It will be able to create effective communities, gaming organisation will able to keep track of its players, will grow player LTV through increased engagement of LiveOps technique, and will attract new players with cost-effective performance, marketing and social feature.
He also mentioned that in 2019 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadela shared that “Just like DevOPs one that we all going to know is Live Ops…You’re going to take real-time data and change the game. And that’s what we’re going to do with every website, with every mobile app, pretty much every application.”
Cloud gaming is the future of gaming undoubtedly. Even being in the beta programs, cloud gaming platforms are grabbing eyes. Almost every cloud gaming server is designed to provide end to end-user service. Also, developers are saying that cloud games are not meant to be replacements of consoles as cloud computing games and cloud games do hold the possibility of nullifying the device restriction. Cloud gaming will surely become a phenomenon in the coming years as the game on-demand service, like Netflix. Providers like Shadow, Geforce Now, PlayStation Now, Stadia, Blaknut, Votex, X cloud, Steam link are already aiming to transform the ecosystem.
Considering the popularity of the social media platform Facebook, the cloud gaming service of the platform has started gaining popularity in India. Since Facebook’s cloud gaming service is free of cost, therefore anyone can play without a subscription charge or any hidden cost. Although Facebook is streaming mobile games instead of high-end console games, it is available for Android mobile and web. However, the iOS version is yet to launch.
Mishra added, “Microsoft is indeed working with Jio to bring Project Xcloud in India. The platform is expected to be available in India later this year. Microsoft and Reliance Jio are already cloud-partners in India.”
Also, Nvidia GeForce now is at the Beta stage and PlayStation Now’s early access is open. Apart from that Made in India cloud gaming platforms like Doofy and The Gaming Project are there where their subscription plans are of various range from free to yearly paid plans.
Overall, the cloud gaming scene is slowly transforming, and once it is transformed, there will be huge opportunities for more players, new business models, more watch time on games therefore inevitably the demand for gamers will rise competition and distribution. Adding to that Mishra shared that there will be more free plans for India therefore exactly like movie or TV series, streaming of cloud gaming content will be consumed in the upcoming days like the content of any other OTT platform.