What is Cloud Gaming?
Cloud gaming is when a video game is streamed from a remote server, typically a data centre, to a local device.
This replaces the need to download and install the games onto a PC, console or mobile device and allows for gaming on demand via lower-cost hardware. It requires a dependable, robust, high-speed, low-latency internet connection to be effective.
Advantages of cloud gaming
Cloud gaming is becoming more popular, with most major gaming companies offering this as part of their service models or as an alternative to the style of gaming we are familiar with. Due to this, cloud gaming comes with some big advantages.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud gaming is that it removes the need for any high-spec hardware. The servers that host the cloud gaming service allow users to play high-end games on almost any device with a fast, stable internet connection, a screen, and the ability to pair a controller to it or use a touchscreen interface if the game in question supports this. This means that you don’t need expensive, high-spec hardware to play “AAA” titles. Most smart TVs, mobile and tablet devices, and laptops are more than suitable for cloud gaming. This also means that on these devices—providing you have an internet connection—you can play your favourite video games anywhere, at any time.
Most cloud gaming offerings come as part of a subscription service. Once subscribed, you are typically presented with a large catalogue of games to pick from and play instantly. This is also a significant time-saver as there is no need to download and then install large game files, as the games in question are hosted and streamed at the click of a button. The subscription model is generally less expensive and far more affordable when directly compared to offline gaming, which can sometimes cost up to £50.00-£100.00 for a single title.
Disadvantages of cloud gaming
The most important part of cloud gaming is internet access—without an internet connection, cloud gaming cannot function.
Most cloud gaming services require a minimum speed between 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps, usually towards the higher end of the speed spectrum. Streaming modern video games can consume a large amount of bandwidth. This means that it can be a huge problem for certain internet services with bandwidth caps, should they be in place. It also means that if the user does not have a strong and reliable internet connection, the cloud gaming experience will be negatively impacted, and the user will likely experience freezing lower image resolution, and stutters, which will harm the gaming experience, given that quick reactions and button inputs are essential to many video games—turning what should be a fun time into a frustrating and sometimes unplayable one.
While cloud gaming is becoming more common, with many major video game platforms offering this service, not every game can be accessed via a cloud gaming service. This then limits the catalogue of games, and the user has no control over what can get added to and removed from the service. Whilst there are usually many games available, the selection will not appeal to everyone.
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