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What is Cloud Gaming?

Zabir Rahman | November 19, 2021

Cloud gaming is the ability to separate the technical power required to play a video game or esport from the device it is being played on.

What is Cloud Gaming?

Mobile gaming may seem a minuscule industry at first glance. Based on observations of individuals around us, it may also seem as though gaming is a casual activity that is primarily indulged in by children and young adults.

However, what is interesting to note is the fact that gaming, as an industry, is larger than Hollywood, bringing in substantially more revenue to game developers in comparison to film producers.

In recent times, mobile gaming has received a shot in the arm, thanks to the rolling out of 5G networks. Termed cloud gaming, it enables a user to engage in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. These complex, graphic heavy games require powerful machines to process — meaning the required hardware to play these games are expensive.

With cloud gaming, it separates computing power from the device it is being played on. The processing power is extended by a cloud-based service while the user’s smartphone functions more as a streaming and controlling device.

Traditional gaming hardware

Gaming consoles and computers imply parting with a substantial amount of money. A state-of-the-art gaming PC begins at an estimated INR90,000. Depending on specifications, the prices can go up manifold.

For example, if an avid gamer desires a set-up that offers a 60+frame rate, he or she will have to budget for at least INR1,50,000.

Gaming consoles such as the recently launched Sony PlayStation 5, for example, start at INR40,000. Similarly, the Xbox Series X and S cost INR50,000 and INR40,000, respectively. But when compared against the cost of playing similar games on a smartphone, the hardware cost is significantly lower.

Even a smartphone–that is priced between INR10,000-15,000–is equipped with adequate specifications to play more complex games, thanks to cloud gaming.

In simple terms, cloud gaming is the ability to separate the technical power required to play a video game or esport from the device it is being played on. With 5G network rollouts, there is a future fast taking shape where games will be played without the use of a PC or console.

Cloud gaming service providers

Nvidia GeForce Now, a cloud gaming service provider, allows a user to play games on any Android smartphone or Android TV. It does so by running the game codes on their 20 data centres located around the world. The cloud gaming service provider then replays 1080p 60 fps gameplay videos back to the device.

Apart from Nvidia, major cloud gaming service providers include Google’s Stadia, Amazon’s Luna, and Apple Arcade. These organisations will underpin the growth of cloud gaming going forward.

Samsung also announced its entry into cloud gaming in October 2021. Its platform will enable users to play games on Samsung smart TVs without the need to hook up a game console to it.

In terms of gaming options, there are currently an approximate 477,877 mobile gaming apps listed on the Google Play Store. There are action games, board games, puzzle games, and role-playing games available on the Google Play Store that appeal to diverse player interests. Meanwhile, there are about 316,802 mobile gaming apps on the IOS app store.

Gaming, as a whole, has become a formidable industry. It is even spawned several other industries such as game streaming. Twitch, for example, is a platform dedicated to gamers streaming their live gaming action. There are also several film and music celebrities who livestream their gaming to viewers numbering in the millions across thousands of channels.

From a broader perspective, the gaming space is still in its growth stages. There is enormous potential in the offing.

Zabir Rahman

Zabir drives research writing at Stonebench, Singapore. His core interest was automobiles, although with time, he thinks he is growing more fond of writing and teaching. Zabir is now keenly interested in the technology space and is part of the Elbyte editorial team.

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