Cloud gaming – could it be the future?

Gaming is one of those things that has been around for a good while, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to go anywhere anytime soon. And if you take a look at the history of gaming, you will find that it hasn’t really evolved significantly, even though a lot of things have changed.

Yes, we’re seeing things such as eSports competition picking up a lot of steam, console manufacturers such as Sony and Microsoft enable cross-platform gaming and a bunch of other things, but at its core, gaming has remained pretty much the same. You need a gaming system of some sort – and this has been a basic requirement when it comes to gaming.

But that seems to be changing recently. Make no mistake, you still need a system, but with cloud gaming becoming increasingly more popular, you might be able to get away with a more wallet-friendly system and a good internet connection.

With that in mind, how does cloud gaming stack up to conventional gaming? With so many players entering the industry, could cloud gaming be the future for gaming in general, or will they just coexist? Let’s take a look.

What even is cloud gaming?

As a concept, cloud gaming is a pretty recent thing. It only came up in the last couple of years, but it’s been gaining quite a bit of popularity, and quite rapidly. The gist of it is, you have a large provider such as Nvidia or Google, who gives you powerful hardware to game on, and all you need is a good enough internet connection for low latency.

Your benefit here is that you can enjoy games at higher resolutions, get higher framerates, and enjoy higher detailed settings, while not actually paying the price of the hardware you’re using. You will, however, need a good internet connection and a reliable computer (or in some cases, a smartphone or tablet). Oh – and in almost all cases, you’ll need a monthly subscription to use the service, and you will need to actually own the games you’d be playing.

If you’ve been keeping up with cloud gaming and everything that surrounds it, you’ll know that currently, there are two major issues with it. One of them is the fact that not everyone around the world has a stable (and fast) enough internet to actually be able to play games without issue. The other one is that game studios aren’t really open to the idea of someone making money off of their games.

While the first issue is something that may or may not affect you, depending on where you live, it’s the second one that’s a major problem for everyone. On one hand, I understand where development studios come from. You spend all that time and resources to make a game, you provide support for it, and then someone else makes money from it as well. On the other hand, as I mentioned, you do need to own the game, so it’s not like the studios don’t get paid, is it?

In any case, many would agree that cloud gaming is still in its early days. We don’t have all that many options, with Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now being the big players, and there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of before we can take full advantage of cloud gaming.

Could it replace conventional gaming as we know it?

Well, this actually depends on how things progress. At the moment, as we mentioned, there are a couple of things that need to be taken care of before we can all enjoy all the games we want, lag-free. If developers and studios don’t allow their games to be played this way, cloud gaming might be doomed. On the other hand, if the providers for this kind of service actually come to an agreement with game studios, this could change a lot of things for gamers.

The main thing you get by opting for a cloud gaming platform instead of investing in your own hardware, provided you have a good internet connection, is the money proposition. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on hardware, you spend a moderate amount on a budget system, and then pay a monthly subscription to rent access to that powerful hardware. You reap its benefits without paying its cost, in a way.

Now, one thing to note here is that cloud gaming is only good to some extent. It’s great for single-player games or multiplayer games that don’t require extremely fast reactions. But when you’re playing something like CS: GO, or Overwatch or Valorant, every little bit of latency can be the difference between a win or a loss. And while cloud gaming has done a great job of minimizing said latency, it’s not going to be as good as gaming on your own system – the fact that your signal has to go from your system to the cloud gaming platform, and then to the game’s actual servers, does introduce quite a bit of latency. And no, even the best internet connection in the world can’t help with that too much.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, I believe it’s still a bit early to talk about whether or not cloud gaming will replace conventional gaming anytime soon. The possibility is certainly there, with good, reliable connections becoming easily available worldwide, and more players entering the industry. But alas, it remains to be seen, and that shouldn’t be too far off.  

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