The shift towards online and digital gaming, as opposed to physical copies of games, started as early as the middle of 2010. This marked the point when more games were bought and played online than otherwise, according to an NPD report about digital downloads. This was largely down to the phenomenal growth and success of websites like Steam.
The evolution of Cloud computing has since taken over most of the gaming industry and seems set to provide us with further innovations. So, let’s take a look at:
– What is Cloud computing
– How it took over the gaming industry
– Benefits of Cloud technology for the gaming industry and consumers
– Predictions for the future
What is Cloud Computing?
The term ‘Cloud computing’ may sound unfamiliar and technical to those who haven’t heard it before, but it’s actually something you’ll be using as you browse the internet (‘the Cloud’ being almost, but not exactly, synonymous with the internet), and, as we’ll discuss, play games online through gaming as a service.
The official definition of cloud computing is-
“Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the Internet.” – Wikipedia
Google CEO Eric Schmidt first coined the term as early as 2006, when he introduced the term at a conference, according to MIT Technology Review. Clouds available to the public allow anybody to access information, including downloading games from another server, which could be anywhere in the world.
How Cloud Computing took over the Gaming Industry?
Gamers often struggle with the high cost of equipment as an initial outlay for their gaming experience. And that’s before they shell out for games! The fact is that now Cloud computing is so predominant, it’s actually more difficult and expensive to set up with physical games. Read on for a break-down of the benefits that led to Cloud computing’s success.
Benefits of Cloud Technology for the Gaming Industry (and you)
– Your information is protected by industrial security standards (so little to no opportunity for hackers).
– If your computer breaks, you won’t lose your game progress.
– The Cloud allows users to play high-end games on low-end consoles, so you can experience excellent quality even on a cheap laptop.
– It’s cheaper for gaming companies, as they only pay for bandwidth actually used by their traffic.
– Users can play and save their progress with multiple games, and switch between them with ease, meaning more sales.
– The same game can be made available on multiple platforms.
– Without physical copies, piracy is much harder, so companies make more money.
– Basically, any game, on any device, at any location. What can beat that?
Predictions for the future
Statista predicts that by 2021, there will be 2.73 billion gamers worldwide. With games like Red Dead Redemption 2 selling 17 million copies in less than a week, it’s not difficult to see the trend. Cloud computing has solved many of the problems experienced by both gamers and the companies who work hard to please them. So, it was no surprise in 2018 when Google and Microsoft announced a shift to Cloud gaming (now available as Google Stadia and Project xCloud). But is everyone as excited by the shift?
Some realists are looking at the big picture behind the hype, like writer Angelo M. D’Argenio over at Gamecrate. He points out that even the internet has limits for processing speed. It can work at the speed of light, yes — but even light takes time to travel halfway around a planet. We might see a big change in the future to solve this problem. Companies building and renting servers spaced around the world would mean everyone uses local servers. At that point, you’d probably reach a lag-less gameplay perfection. Of course, there’s still the problem of locations with low internet speed to solve, but perhaps the solution to that is coming soon.
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