Here’s a fun and unexpected stat: more than 50% of all revenue generated by the gaming industry comes from the sale of online games, with just 25% of the wealth coming from the sale of consoles and their titles.
With the release of next-generation offerings from PlayStation and Xbox those numbers may be skewed somewhat in 2020 and into next year, however, the point still stands that the appetite of gamers is switching from traditional consoles to online action.
To facilitate such a move, the cloud becomes an essential component – we don’t have hard drives to download games to or to save our progress, and so-called cloud-based gaming is set to continue its upward rise in popularity in years to come.
Happily, the tech appears to be robust and efficient enough to cope with such demand.
What is Cloud gaming?
No hardware, no problem. That’s the basic premise behind cloud gaming, with the action powered by the almost mythical ‘cloud’ (which is actually an underwater storage facility) rather than a physical machine.
The beauty of cloud-based gaming is that there are no ‘barriers to entry’ for players, in the sense that you won’t have to fork out $500 for the hottest new console or gaming PC. You can simply download the titles you want to play, usually just for a few dollars.
The major companies know that gaming is heading in that direction, hence why Sony continue to invest heavily in their PlayStation Now platform and why Google have been working so hard on Google Stadia – their own take on cloud gaming.
Another advantage to cloud gaming is that the action can be streamed and saved within the cloud, rather than on an individual device. You can get started on your iPhone before resuming later on your iPad – another huge advantage over traditional console gaming. You can have as many active save files as you like, with no concerns about hard drive or storage space – something that consoles are still yet to figure out.
High end without the cost
Next time you are in the App Store on your device or frequenting Google Play, note the number of high-end games that are available to download to your phone or tablet.
Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, FIFA, Assassin’s Creed… there’s just four supremely-popular console games that you can actually play in the cloud on your mobile devices. Yes, you lose some of the resolution and specs of the console versions, but you still get a game that is close in form and scale to the ‘main’ version and for a snip of a price – less than $10 is pretty common for a cloud-based online game.
And to acquire a PS5 and the latest CoD title? You’d better reach for your checkbook.
You can play anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and without the exorbitant cost of purchasing that hot new console. What’s not to love about cloud-based gaming?
And let’s not forget that some of the most immersive gaming around is taking place exclusively on mobile devices, beyond the reach of the major console franchises. Candy Crush? Angry Birds? Pokémon GO? These are all inextricably linked to cloud gaming, and they have sold millions of copies despite not having one of the major console players backing them.
One of the main missions of many companies on this planet is to work out how to accelerate the exchange of data online.
That is, in essence, to facilitate smarter business operations, but a happy side-effect is that cloud-based gaming will get a boost.
Many online games utilize streaming in their content delivery, and the only concern about this is the occasional lagging and buffering that can take place in complex games. But if these tech firms can continue to speed up the process of data transfer, it can only benefit gamers in the long run.
No longer will you be slaughtered in Call of Duty as your connection goes down, no longer will you miss that easy chance in FIFA because your game lagged and no longer will you miss out on that big win at LuckyLand Slots Casino and other gaming sites.
Hopefully, the days of server slowdown are coming to an end as gaming firms invest heavily in the infrastructure in which their titles are delivered online and in the cloud.
Either way, the future is so exciting for cloud-based gaming, and as new tech opportunities emerge so too will the demand for ‘on the move’ games. This isn’t the death knell for PlayStation, Xbox and co, but they have been served notice that an exciting new avenue of gaming is emerging.