Simply put, cloud gaming is a type of service which allows you to remotely play games from a server. You don’t need to download a game, you don’t need to own a physical copy of the game, you don’t even need to own the most powerful processor and graphics card to run these games.

How does cloud gaming work?

Before the seventh generation of consoles, you needed physical media in order to experience games. On top of that, the console was loading the game completely off of that physical media. With the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 downloadable titles became mainstream and now the producers want to give the consoles cloud options.

Cloud gaming means that the games you are playing would be streamed from a server. Unlike the online console stores or Steam, you wouldn’t be downloading the game since the server would be sending you gameplay. When it comes to performance, generally, there is going to be a drop in terms of what you are used to.

What internet speed is required for cloud gaming?

Cloud gaming on consoles like the Playstation 4 has received criticism because the system creates massive frame drops. If you’re someone with fiber internet, then you should never have to worry about performance unless the servers are bad. If you’re going to consider using a cloud gaming service, your connection should at least be 10 Mbps.

In the most optimal situation, you would want your speed to be in the hundreds of Mbps. Your performance is also going to be decided on how much traffic is going in and out of that server. For the best experience, ask people who are watching streaming services like Netflix in your house to stop, otherwise, you will notice big drops.

On console, the experience of internet speeds is often limited by only being accepted a few ways. Even if you have a very fast wired connection, the servers are sub-par and can’t fully take advantage of that fast connection.

Will cloud gaming kill consoles?

For right now, we can be sure that consoles have no threat of dying. Cloud gaming services have been around for years and yet, the Playstion 4 did many records in console sales. People still value being able to own the games that they pay for. Even with other competitors like Nintendo, the Switch at certain times was surpassing the Wii in terms of how fast it was selling consoles.

There is also the issue of rights for consumers that they have a problem. The confidence isn’t there yet when it comes to fully committing to a cloud-only console.

Cloud gaming could be the future if American internet speeds go fiber for everyone in the country. For the majority of people in the states, they can’t get that because it’s expensive and sometimes that kind of service isn’t going to be there in your area.

You may be thinking that this doesn’t matter because the US is only one country, but it actually makes up one of the biggest markets in the industry. This means if internet providers in America, make fiber internet mainstream and available to everyone, you would see cloud gaming be much more popular.

cloud computing

What are the best cloud gaming platforms?

Google Stadia

The Google Stadia is the first exclusively cloud gaming platform. There are no physical media, you can’t buy codes for games at the store or download them to your console. Google has faced some challenges at managing this console and they’ve been forced to shut down some of their studios.

That’s not that bad, but there is a lot of good games on the console. Even blockbuster titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 or even fighting games like Samurai Showdown. It certainly has a decent variety of games.

Amazon Luna

Amazon Luna is also an up-and-coming gaming platform. Selling video games has taught Amazon how big that industry is. Since there are a lot of gamers that pre-order games and buy old games on their platform, they made their own cloud streaming platform. Right now, Amazon offers a lot of smaller games that are niche.

They won’t be the most relevant for the newer generation of gamers that are into battle royale, but if you’re into retro games, you’ll see a lot that you can get to play. Amazon will eventually put more money into other games, but right now, this allows you to get a blast from the past for a small subscription fee.

Are there any free cloud gaming platforms/services?

GeForce Now

The GeForce Now is one of the best gaming streaming services if you use an Nvidia card. When you installed the drivers on your Nvidia card, there should’ve been a prompt telling you about all of the games that you can stream for free. These aren’t going to be games that are brand new, but they do let you test the PC out.

Shadow

Shadow is a good cloud gaming service if you have fast internet. They require a minimum speed of at least 15 Mbps. You can play Call of Duty Warzone without having to wonder about hundreds of gigabytes of data on your hard drive.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure lets you use their gaming service for free, however, you are limited in certain ways. The most obvious way that you’re limited is the kind of games that you aren’t allowed to select. It’s very secure and allows you to play a lot of the games that Microsoft happens to own.

XCloud

X Cloud is arguably the best for being able to play triple-A games (you can read my guide to AAA games here). If you like Tekken 7 or Devil May Cry 5, these are great services to be able to experience. Performance in those games is highly valued which thankfully, the service delivers on. Bear in mind you need to have the Xbox Ultimate Game Pass, which costs around $15 a month.

Advantages of cloud gaming

Right now cloud gaming allows you to save a lot of space in your house but not requiring physical media. If you’re someone who’s been playing video games for a long time, you probably have an entire room dedicated to video games. That’s not practical for everyone and will take a toll on those who need that room for other purposes.

This also means you don’t have to compete with other people if you all want a game at the same time. That just means everyone gets to play a game and no one has to worry about games selling out.

For people with smaller hard drives, you no longer have to worry about space on your own computer for gaming. This is a big advantage because some games aren’t compressed that well. This also means you don’t have to think long and hard about which games you want to delete. S

ince the game is being powered by servers, that means more effort is going to be put into the multiplayer experience. Gamers are sick of pier-to-pier networks and want something that’s more premium.

Disadvantages of cloud gaming

One of the biggest disadvantages is that there is no physical media in cloud gaming. Meaning, you are more so renting the games you are playing as a service instead of actually playing. This also means that the game is going to be harder to preserve overtime after the developers start pulling the games from the servers.

It hurts those who aren’t able to get in on the game as soon as it drops. Subscription services also make sure you pay an equal amount for each game, despite most people not viewing each game equally.

In the used games marker you get to buy good games for low prices because there’s less physical demand. When buying games online, there’s going to be a fixed price that will never go down. This also means that if the servers aren’t very good, then the game isn’t going to be very good.

Lastly, there is the actual connection of internet speed. Fiber internet can be really expensive depending on the state you live in and how much the state taxes fiber internet. Not everyone can afford it and that means you’re going to have a much worse than someone with really fast internet.

Is cloud gaming the future of gaming?

As of right now, many people in the gaming industry are trying to promote cloud gaming because it will be convenient for the people working in the industry. It will be good for those who have really fast internet and are willing to try out just about every cloud service, but that is not anywhere close to the majority of gamers.

There are many reasons why the average consumer values physical media and those reasons aren’t going away soon. Owning physical media means you own that copy of the game and there’s nothing the developer or license holder can do.

With downloadable games, publishers can prevent you from playing the games you own on your hard drive if you’ve violated their terms and conditions. Each day, internet speeds are rapidly increasing in areas of the world which means the incentive of cloud gaming is going to grow. However, it can’t take over physical media until it’s as optimal or performs better than physical media.

There is always going to be some delay of lag regardless of speed because it’s over the internet, but perhaps the streaming services will take over one day. Regardless of how good things get, people will always want to own games physically due to collecting purposes.


Are you a fan of cloud gaming and can you see yourself using it in the future? Personally I like to own my games and that’s one of the reasons I don’t want to invest in a subscription gaming service of any kind.



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