As Sega fans, you’re probably not bothered about Microsoft’s Beta release of their xCloud programme. But you should because the move to cloud gaming will have dramatic effects for everyone, including retro players who prefer the old-fashioned methods.
It might not look that way on the surface, but delve deeper and you’ll find a treasure trove of side-effects that could become the norm in the not-too-distant future.
A Universal Strategy
Microsoft is by no means a market leader. It’s a significant player in the video gaming industry, yet it pales in comparison to Sony and Nintendo, the true giants of the sector. Still, it seems as if the company has stumbled onto a golden ticket with the introduction of the xCloud as research suggests it will soon be adopted by everyone.
Sega, for instance, has already responded in its own quirky way. Instead of going the traditional route, the Japanese brand is searching for ways to make forgotten arcade hardware useful again. It’s called “fog gaming”, and it uses the CPU and GPU components found in arcade cabinets to power a cloud service. Pretty cool, right? Even PCs are being included with cloud gaming strategies, which sounds strange considering the infrastructure’s glittered past, but highlights the rise of the technology.
If gaming platforms and providers aren’t offering cloud-based solutions within the next decade, they will be the anomalies. The big boys will have to follow suit, including Sony, a company that is reluctant to change anything at the moment.
The Power of Mobile
One of the reasons why the cloud will be as commonplace as a controller or TV screen is the rise of mobile gaming. The big boys within the console world have had to create abstract plans to ward off the trajectory of the rival sector. Currently, the online casino market, which makes up part of the mobile gaming industry, is valued at almost £50 billion worldwide, while console gaming is worth £100 billion.
It might be double, but the gap has closed considerably in the previous decade. Ten years ago, the mobile gaming sector was small in comparison to console and PC gaming. Today, the digital wagering industry has the potential to usurp the kings because slots, table games and bingo can be played from anywhere in the world at any time when users access them via smartphones and tablets, unlike console titles. Plus, the extensive nature of the libraries is hard to beat. For example, bingo not only leverages classic versions of the game but also combines it with other formats to develop novel and exciting releases. As a result, it’s common for bingo sites to provide everything from 75 and 90-ball bingo to bingo slots and scratch cards, all of which are accessible with a mobile phone and internet connection. Of course, remote casinos can be accessed from different devices and platforms, such as laptops and desktops, yet it’s not a leap to say that the mobile sector has provided it with the boost it requires to take on the traditional gaming operators due to the flexibility and 24-hour nature that is synonymous with online gaming.
As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, you should join them, which is what Microsoft has done. After all, the xCloud gives players a mobile version of their console experience.
Fifth-generation software has always been significant due to its power and speed. Unlike 4G, it can handle pressures that only fibre broadband networks can support. Therefore, it’s going to be at the forefront of cloud gaming’s rollout.
Smartphones and tablets are powerful, yet they are still not capable of handling massive volumes of computing data that are usually stored on huge servers. Even though the cloud will take care of this, the titles themselves require specifications that most handsets won’t be able to handle. Thankfully, 5G is faster and more reliable than any mobile network to date, meaning it can prevent latency and lag issues that will ruin the user experience.
Does cloud computing tell us much about the future of gaming? Yes, it tells us that you can expect additional 5G networks, similar strategies to be adopted across the industry, and the mobile sector to cause more problems for its counterparts.