Tech 101 : Cloud Gaming – Play games without a console!

Before we dive into this amazing concept of cloud gaming , There\’s something we all agree to : today\’s youth is more and more into technology and why it shouldn\’t be, right?
In this advanced era of technology where we have everything automated and controlled by machines, it is very obvious to rely on and indulge in the usage of technology for very small day-to-day tasks. Still, there is continuous development going on in this field to give humans and all life on the planet the best experience of everything they can possibly imagine.
We start our days surrounded by technology and end it with technology. We set alarms on the phone, a technology-controlled device, before sleeping and wake up with the buzz of that alarm. Our coffee maker to keep the day going with the same energy, you might have seen how it has also advanced to a great level.

Similarly, everything that humans earlier did is automated via machines, or that is not the capability of humans has been mechanised. As machines and technology is helping us save time and gives far more accurate results than sometimes a human, then why not use it for everything it can possibly be used for

Can you imagine a day without technology? Probably not; we have been so addicted to its usage that now it\’s tough to have a day without your cell phone, television, and cloud gaming. There have been many changes from our traditional era to this era, even in the games that children play. Children nowadays prefer to play games on XBOX PlayStation rather than our traditional games like cricket, badminton leading to loss of exercise and physical growth, also causing harmful effects on the brain.

Introduction to Cloud Gaming and History

Cloud gaming, also known as gaming as a service and on-demand gaming, is a kind of online gaming. As the name describes, gaming uses the cloud. In this type of gaming, video games are run on remote servers. Then the game streams are directed to players\’ or users\’ devices, thus allowing them to play remotely.

The difference between cloud gaming and traditional gaming lies in the means of how a game is run. Earlier, the games used to run locally on users\’ systems, mobile devices, and gaming consoles.

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Cloud Gaming

It first came into existence from a startup called Game Cluster (G-Cluster). G-Cluster provided PC games running on their servers. Later on, seeing the developments by G-cluster, Crytek also started developing cloud gaming within their organisation. Still, after a few years, their CEO confirmed that they stopped in between.

Now, cloud gaming has emerged a lot, and several companies are working. They have started working towards developing new games or migrating existing games to the cloud.

Nvidia also announced its cloud gaming service, Nvidia Grid. Again, they used a combination of hardware and software. Nvidia, the producer of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), used its own GPUs and other software for cloud gaming services.

With so much development, more and more companies are pushed to gear up. However, for their existence, they have to become smart with these developments. One of the examples of this is Apple Inc., which never fails to amaze us with its devices and also is always one step ahead of the current developments in the market.

Initially, playing smart, Apple Inc. blocked any cloud gaming services to be used on its devices such as iPhones or iPads. The reason provided by them as they are not ready to compromise on the extra security that Apple provides. Cloud gaming services could have passed their normal checks of security.

For every blockage, the smart human mind with the availability of resources can generate an alternative path. Similarly, with the help of their developers, companies have worked on this blockage by Apple. Stadia and GeForce Now have successfully developed their cloud gaming services for iOS. Microsoft is also working towards the same.
You won\’t believe how many different companies are launching their own cloud gaming services. Even Amazon has tried its hands on it and launched Luna in September 2020.

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  • Meanwhile, hardware providers are also improving and bringing out their best in terms of GPUs and other hardware requirements for cloud gaming. Intel and Asus have already announced their supply of hardware, their work on software optimisation, and research and development that is going on for the support of cloud games.
  • Some of the current cloud gaming service providers are as follows:
  • Amazon Luna
  • Stadia
  • Xbox Cloud Gaming
  • GeForce Now
  • PlayStation Now

The need for Cloud Gaming and its advantages

Since we already had the traditional gaming style wherein the games were played using consoles and computer systems, then suddenly, why the need for Cloud Gaming? Why this much boom in this market? Why has the race started to provide the best experience in cloud gaming? What are its advantages?
All of these questions will be resolved in this section, wherein we will know about the need and advantages of cloud gaming:

Instant Play: Cloud gaming does not ask for any external downloads prior to starting a game. Since the game is already installed and present in the remote servers, you can instantly start and play the game.

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Easy spectating: These games also allow you to spectate, i.e. once you are dead in the game, you can watch how others are playing or what\’s going on in the game, like a ghost. It is considered a great feature in professional gaming; video stream is duplicated on the spectator\’s device for them to spectate easily.

Easy integration into other devices: With the advancement in technology, we now also have smart Televisions, which can not only record your shows but also allow the addition of an external device to play something on it. These smart TVs provide support for cloud gaming. No expensive external hardware is required for a game to be played on TV. With OnLive integration, TVs also provide controlling features in games.

Independent of the operating system or the software: Cloud gaming is independent of the operating system on which it is played. Earlier, there was a blockage by Apple Inc., but several companies have worked on the improvement. As a result, windows, Linus, MacOS, or any other operating system can be used for cloud gaming.

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Independent of the hardware: Traditional games were chained to the device they were made for. Now, you do not need any upgrade of your device or your gaming consoles. You can play cloud games on any device, including mobile phones and tablets. You do not need any expensive hardware, simply a controller and streaming box for your home network.

Everything that has several advantages also has some disadvantages. Similar is cloud gaming.

Some of the disadvantages of cloud gaming are as follows:

Latency: It can be defined as the delay caused. Here, gaming is the delay in the action reaching your device. This may be due to several factors like poor network connectivity, slow system, etc. Cloud gaming services experience this latency, whereas the games on your local computers do not. They act instantly in runtime.

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Bandwidth: A large amount of bandwidth is required by cloud gaming services to deliver a good experience of the game. Having bandwidth restrictions on your internet connection can disrupt your gaming experience.

Video Compression: The videos we watch on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or youtube are compressed to accommodate our bandwidth. Similarly, the game video is also compressed; it is better than lower detail games rendered locally but is poor compared to high-end gaming PCs.

Impact on environment

Cloud gaming or the next-gen is also impacting the environment, but who would have thought in that direction. Did you? Maybe not, this is the problem with our society, with the lifestyle we have started living. This lifestyle has started harming the environment and causing troubles for us as well as for our future generations to come.
In certain scenarios, cloud gaming reduces emissions by up to 30% (Study by Lancaster University). However, in some other scenarios, it also harms the environment.

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Where there is less usage of plastic because of the reduced gaming hardware, there is an increase in electricity usage to keep the systems on for gaming. Unfortunately, increased usage of electricity leads to more burning in coal, which ultimately will lead to shortage and more pollution.
This gaming consumes a lot of energy, not only on the devices they are being played on but also to keep them active; servers are required to be monitored and working 24*7. There is an increase in data and energy because of cloud gaming.

As Cook says, \”With Cloud Gaming, you can literally offshore all the heat generated by high-end PCs\”.
However, the further environmental impact of cloud gaming will be determined by how quickly it is adopted.

Future of Cloud Gaming

Many cloud gaming services have come into action now. One of the most talked-about is OnLive, though it has a low database of users even in peak times. Nevertheless, OnLive has been giving surprisingly well experience considering the large number of technical challenges it has faced over the years.

As per the OnLive statistics, cloud gaming has not been much in use. It has failed to catch the eye of all the gamers. But, it seems like all companies are trying their best to bring it into the market and use it to their fullest. Sony purchased Gaikai, thus showing how interested are these companies in cloud gaming services. Nvidia is also working on a project to provide a handheld game console. This console will have the capacity to stream PC games.

With the increase in the reach of the internet, cloud gaming will also boom. As a result, it has a tremendous scope of development; companies integrate hardware and software, optimise the performance, and make it compatible to support cloud gaming.

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Cloud games involve the usage of complex algorithms in the backend for their functioning. For example, they use machine learning and other algorithms to predict players\’ movements and game directions. This can be used to overcome the drawback of latency experienced in cloud gaming. Stadia\’s head of engineering has already foreseen the future possibility of this and is trying to improve and work on it.

Companies are also working towards increasing the scalability of cloud gaming by using Resource Scheduling of GPUs. Developing algorithms to provide resource scheduling to reduce the wastage of resources that has happening currently with one person using one GPU. New resources and advanced algorithms can now allow up to 90% GPU utilisation while being scheduled and shared among many users.

Our future generation will certainly be on cloud gaming in upcoming years with these advancements. It is a positive point for us, as we will have to spend less on gaming consoles, PCs, and other software. But we should also think about where we are leading our generation.

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We have learned so far about cloud gaming games without consoles. We know that our future generation is not going out for outdoor games and socialising less and meeting with friends in person less. Everything has good and bad effects, and excessive usage of anything can harm. Similar is the technology, long hours of gaming have bad effects on children\’s growth and their brains.

It is our responsibility to be aware and spread awareness about online gaming and crimes as well. For the growth of a child, proper schooling and proper nurturing at home are essential. Hence, we must pledge to give our future generation a better experience and world. We should focus less on technology usage, and we can do this only when we realise how much we are into it.

Cloud gaming has a developing market and its database of users, which are expanding and with incredible growth in technology, hardware, and software industries and the designing and development of more advanced algorithms. Moreover, what is lacking in traditional approaches has been resolved to a certain limit. Companies are working on finishing off all the blockages and limitations of traditional gaming. As a result, we are soon going to experience an era of cloud gaming. So are you ready for an ultimate era of gaming without consoles, Cloud Gaming?

Also Read : How Growth In Ed-Tech Industry Can Benefit Digital Payment?

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