Just as streaming brought huge changes to the movie and music industries, it’s now affecting the video gaming industry.
The promise made by both Google and Microsoft during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 in Los Angeles, CA last week, is that soon a lot of people globally will be able to play video games on their tablets or cellphones without having to be connected to a console or a PC. This is referred to as cloud gaming – the streaming of video games wherever you are on a cloud system just like movies or music.
Gamers are wondering what developers and publishers will be signing on to cloud streaming.
At E3 2019 several popular and favorite video games were shown off on Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud systems. Microsoft demonstrated its cloud gaming technology Project xCloud and attendees were able to try it out. Google’s Stadia will be coming out in November with over 31 titles.
Other players who already have streaming game service in the current market are Nvidia’s GeForce Now and France-based startup Blade’s Shadow. Amazon is in the process of building its own streaming gaming service.
Streaming games’ computing will happen on huge computers on a server farm ‘far, far away’ rather than on consoles, through a cloud service that gamers will have to sign up with to play on their tablets, cellphones or TVs. In most cases though, a controller will have to be added on. Microsoft however is working on someday using touch controls so users won’t need to add on controllers.
There is one potential problem for cloud gaming that consumers are asking: If my
Wi-Fi connection isn’t strong enough can I play video games on the cloud? According to Bill Stillwell, who is the director of product planning for xCloud, probably not if you don’t, because it’s a network-based service, however, if you can stream a video you should be able to stream a game and play.
Video gaming companies do have one obstacle and that is the hardware. Though the video game world has over two billion gamers, most individual gamers can’t afford the hundred of dollars necessary for all the equipment and then on top of that pay out more for Xbox or PlayStation.
So it looks like streaming video games will be a bonus for gamers and especially those in developing countries where as Google Stadia announced at E3 some streaming games could be free, or come with a flat monthly fee, or a bundled price, or perhaps a combo of all three.
Cloud streaming gaming is in its infancy but the overall hope is that it will appear on all platforms including iOS compatibility.