Cloud gaming is a way of enjoying video games using remote servers located in data centers. This gaming concept is based on cloud computing technology. In this type of gaming, players don’t need to download and install games on their gaming devices. Instead, they use streaming services that require a reliable internet connection to relay gaming information to an app or browser on the player’s device. In this regard, the game is rendered and played on the remote server. However, the gamers see and interact with everything locally on their devices. This technology has changed how online gaming platforms like Grand Rush rethink how they offer their gaming services. Cloud gaming is just like Netflix or the other streaming platforms. But, the difference is that the server where the video streaming comes from can also react to your inputs.
This type of gaming also opens up numerous possibilities. For instance, you can use a phone clip and enjoy the latest AAA games on your smartphone.
How Does Cloud Gaming Work?
In many instances, cloud gaming requires a subscription that you pay monthly or annually to access the content. However, in other services, you might have to purchase games on top of the subscription fee.
Cloud gaming services usually offer dedicated or web-based apps to stream games. For instance, if you use Google Stadia, you will access the games through a web app on your desktop PC.
Additionally, cloud streaming services are in general compatible with the latest controllers utilizing Bluetooth and the standard mouse and keyboard setup. Additionally, if you are using devices with touch screens such as tablets and phones, it gives gamers an option to use on-screen controls.
On the cloud side, gamers get access to a gaming PC in a data center. Each service usually handles its servers differently. For example, gamers using Shadow cloud gaming get access to a full Windows 10 machine in the cloud. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Game Pass service uses several Xbox One S consoles stuffed into a server rack.
Despite the setup, cloud gaming services allow gamers to borrow a small amount of computing power from what is, in essence, a supercomputer. The role of the servers is to render games and send gamers video streams of the end result.
Cloud Gaming Infrastructure
Cloud gaming needs one to have the prerequisite infrastructure for it to work as it should. Some of the most notable infrastructure required for cloud gaming includes:
- Data centers
- Server farms to run the games
- High bandwidth internet connections with low latency are used to deliver the streams to the users.
In the past, the network infrastructure needed to make cloud gaming practicable was nonexistent. One of the most significant factors that make cloud gaming flawless is latency. This is the delay between the user input and when that input affects gameplay. Additionally, latency is more critical in fast-paced games such as fighting games which depend on precise inputs.
On the other hand, the providers must keep upgrading their hardware to ensure it supports higher resolutions and frame rates for game rendering and streams.
Is Cloud Gaming A New Phenomenon?
Cloud gaming has been around since the late 2000s. However, technologies and internet speeds had not been optimized for its implementation. The first significant cloud gaming service was launched in 2010. The service was implemented using a small game streaming and a special controller similar to what Google Stadia does currently. Moreover, the service was implemented through smartphones, android tablets, and MacOS and Windows through a browser.
Why Is Cloud Gaming Becoming Popular?
Cloud gaming did not realize its potential in the past because of infrastructure. Studies have confirmed that cloud gaming was not fully implemented in the past due to the insufficient bandwidth and scope the current services have.
However, technological advancements have made cloud gaming a reality. For instance, the implementation of the 5G networks is expected to have a significant impact on the industry.
Besides the technical explanation, industry experts have also argued that cloud gaming is becoming popular because it actually works. The people pushing for its implementation currently do not have to face the challenges faced by the trailblazers.
For instance, there is financial backing from world-renowned tech companies, which make low latency, high frame rates, and convenient setup processes a reality. In this sense, cloud gaming operators like Stadia have the necessary performance down, which allows them to push for the more practical benefits of cloud gaming.
One of the most significant benefits is that gamers don’t have to worry about storage space. Moreover, they can access the services from multiple devices regardless of its screen size or hardware. In fact, industry operators see this as the most critical aspect of cloud gaming heading into the future. This is because it lowers the barrier for entry for live service games that you would want to enjoy with your friends without having to invest in a console or gaming PC.
What Is the Future of Cloud Gaming?
Cloud gaming has not been fully implemented yet. However, the early signs are that it is poised for a bright future. Here is a preview of what gamers can expect:
GPU Resource Sharing
GPU stands for the graphics processing unit. The proposal for the future is to improve game streaming scalability through adaptive Graphics Processing Unit resource scheduling. Currently, most cloud gaming operators usually use a dedicated GPU for each person playing a game. Even though this offers the best performance, it wastes resources.
How does it work? Well, when a game does not fully utilize the GPU, it can be used to help run another gamer’s game simultaneously. In the past, operators did not use GPU virtualization because of the inferior performance of the resource scheduling algorithm. However, the development of new resource management algorithms allows up to 90% of the GPU’s original power to be utilized even when it is split among several users.
Algorithms can be used to help envisage a player’s next inputs. This is an excellent thing as it can help overcome the impact of latency in cloud gaming applications. According to Stadia’s head of engineering, Majd Bakar, this is a future possibility to help reduce latency to an extent it is essentially nonexistent.