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What is cloud gaming and how is it impacting the industry?

What is cloud gaming?

Cloud gaming is an on-demand gaming service that combines the computing capabilities of the cloud with video games, eliminating the need for devices by processing the gameplay on data centers miles from the user. The implications of this technology are revolutionary, effectively allowing any device with internet enabled capabilities to connect to the server and live stream a game.

How does cloud gaming work?

Cloud gaming works on remote servers rather than consoles or gaming PCs which notoriously require high-powered hardware to support heavy graphics. The user simultaneously receives video and audio after their inputs are sent to the cloud server through the network. Picture a subscription-based streaming OTT service which offers online streaming of a library of titles, kind of like Netflix, but for games.

Streaming games come to Android: How cloud gaming is impacting mobile

Mobile devices will have the capacity to run cloud gaming, giving users access to games thanks to massive data centers connected to phones and devices via the internet. With mobile gaming on the rise in the last five years, this new development is going to gain a significant amount of market traction. As users desire more instant, on-demand gameplay, it is no surprise that cloud gaming would be the natural progression in the gaming industry.

Gone are the days of sitting around waiting for a game to load. Cloud gaming in mobile offers instant gameplay without the need to download or update a heavy game and max out your data. Convenience has become the name of the game, and having access to countless of high level gaming platforms and services will be the main driver of market growth. On-the-go play anywhere, anytime.

One of the advantages to this is how cost effective it will be. We all know how expensive it is constantly upgrading your console or PC to keep up with the game performance. You could be spending hundreds for the newest console and double that to customize your PC, but with cloud gaming all you need is either a laptop, a 5G device, or a smart TV. This has the potential of introducing a new kind of gamer, as it opens the door for more casual gaming for a fraction of the price.

Roadblocks in cloud gaming on mobile

There are definitely quite a few hiccups when it comes to integrating cloud gaming to mobile, such as bandwidth, video compression, and latency. Bandwidth is an inescapable issue when looking at cloud gaming on a large scale as it requires a huge amount of data transmitted in a short amount of time. And when factoring in internet connection caps along with hundreds of gamers in a vicinity playing simultaneously, there’s bound to be a real dramatic increase in bandwidth.

Another big concern is what will be of the video quality within gameplay? And a simple answer to that is that one cannot expect cloud gaming to be as detailed and sharp as a game played on a tricked-out gaming console or PC. Still, no matter how compressed the video of the cloud streamed game will be, it may still look much better than many of the games offered on mobile devices these days.

And finally, the most frustrating and potentially lethal (for your character) issue is the reaction time between the user’s action and the rendering of those actions in gameplay, also known as latency. Cloud gaming services will inevitably have more latency as each action has to go through the internet, be compressed, rendered and received back on their end.

But fear not, as major technological advancements are on their way to reducing many of the complications cloud gaming might face when introduced to the mobile world. One such wonder is the advent of 5G, which promises to change the game by increasing speeds and reliability, making room for cloud gaming.

Cloud games for Android and iOS: What's in store for mobile cloud gaming

With 5G laying down the foundation, many companies are already jumping onboard the cloud. Hatch and Sprint recently teamed up as the mobile giant prepares to roll out 5G in select cities, making for the perfect opportunity to launch an exclusive portfolio of hundreds of premium games. The gaming experience will include features such as voice chat, shared gameplay with friends, live tournaments, and leaderboards, along with Hatch kids, a safe zone for kids to play without in-app purchases and advertisements.

Nokia has also been experimenting with cloud gaming for some time now, testing out PC game favorites, such as Doom 2016 and Witcher 3 on mobile devices with the same experience and graphics as a gaming computer that has a ton of memory and various performance boosters.

LiquidSky has also been hard at work on its own cloud gaming service, stating that it will be the first to run any computer game on both Macs and Androids (not iPhones) with the highest graphics and one of the lowest latencies of any service, thanks to a proprietary algorithm. And although actively promoting on social media, we are keeping a watchful eye.

Overall, the cloud gaming landscape seems very promising with new technological potentials such as the advent of 5G and mobile reliability. And although there are a few roadblocks to tackle, they don’t seem to be stopping mobile as it enters a new age in gaming.

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