What is Cloud Gaming and How is Google Leading the Industry? | Hacker Noon

@manvendrasingh_Manvendra Singh

I write about programming/human nature/game development and share my experience through stories.

Most games today are downloaded and played on smartphones, gaming consoles, and PCs. Network connections support player accounts and in-game purchases, but the games themselves run on players’ devices. Game companies build services around top game titles, enabling them to deliver continuous updates that add new gameplay and respond to the public feedback on social streaming services. 

In this sense, gaming has been expanding into the cloud for some time.

What is Cloud Gaming?

Cloud gaming, sometimes called gaming on demand, is a type of online gaming that runs games on remote servers and streams them directly to the player’s device. In easy language: playing a game remotely on the cloud.

There are two major advantages of a cloud gaming service. The first is that users don’t have to buy new hardware every few years to run the latest games. The other is that it theoretically allows users to play any game on any device with a screen and a FAST internet connection.

How Does Cloud Gaming Work?

Many people stream their movies and TV shows these days, rather than buying Blu-Ray Discs and DVDs . Most computers, and some gaming consoles, don’t even come with disk drives anymore (some don’t even have a charger nowadays — thanks to Apple).

Anyway, game streaming works similarly. Rather than owning all the hardware necessary to run high-end games, game streaming lets users offload the processing demands to a company’s server. Basically, when you start running a game, rather than inserting a disc in your console or PC, a server acts as a high-powered PC somewhere and loads the game for you, streaming tons of games from tens or hundreds of miles away to users within the server’s range.

How is Cloud Gaming Priced?

The most appealing part about cloud gaming is how much less someone will have to pay to enjoy the high-end gaming experience. Despite the similarities between streaming movies and streaming games, the business model varies greatly. Currently, the main cloud gaming services (PlayStation Now, Vortex, etc.) use a kind of model in which you pay a single subscription fee to stream a library of games that changes over time.

Computing and Internet Requirements

Apart from the direct costs of these services, there are other points to bear in mind like, the bandwidth requirement of streaming games is comparatively higher than streaming videos.

If you’ve got a bandwidth cap, slow speed internet, or both, odds are that you’ll need a new internet plan to stream games. Google Stadia recommends minimum speeds of 20Mbps for 1080p gaming at 60fps, jumping up to 35Mbps for 4K 60fps. Comparatively, other cloud gaming services require slightly less, but the best results are typically found with a connection speed of around 100Mbps.

Apart from routers, certain cloud gaming services require extra purchases to work on certain devices. To play Stadia on a TV, you’ll need a Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller. Likewise, with GeForce Now and an Nvidia Shield TV box. Playstation Now is the most egregious, requiring a PlayStation 4 console to stream games on a TV.

Why Google Will Lead The Cloud Gaming Era

In March 2019, Google announced that it’s entering the world of cloud gaming services, and will do it with a bang!

Google Stadia, launched by Google on November 19th, 2019 in 14 different territories for an initial price of $130 for a hardware starter kit with three months of premium service, and $10 a month afterward.

Google Stadia is one of the most exciting cloud gaming services there’s ever been. After all, it’s funded by the virtually limitless pockets of Google. The way I see it, out of all the cloud gaming services out there, Google Stadia is most likely to bring cloud gaming as a service into the mainstream.

There’s no doubt that Stadia has a ton of benefits. You can play it on almost any screen, and the ability to switch devices on the fly is fantastic, especially since you don’t need to own any high-end hardware. By the way, if your dentist’s office has decent Wi-Fi, You can play GTA V on your Pixel device in the waiting room.

I hope this article helped you understand the basics of cloud gaming and why Google will lead the cloud gaming era. If you think I lack knowledge (which I probably do) about cloud gaming, more knowledge is always welcome. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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I write about programming/human nature/game development and share my experience through stories.


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