Notionally, cloud gaming You can play your game on your neighbor’s machine, but then plug in a controller that has a very long wire to reach your room and point a camera at your screen. This is called game streaming. To capture the stream, all you need is an LCD screen device. Given that we accept the cloud’s dominance with other computing loads, why not with the high power needed for modern gaming? Will similar issues affect the future metaverse?
Google has been blamed for the failure of Stadia, which is fair enough — if you look at the Google Graveyard, you will see that they kill off the vast majority of their children with aplomb. Although there is much to be said regarding their inability or unwillingness to get connected with the communities where they should be working, it has always been that way. Project teams within Google know the score: if you can’t scale to the mothership’s recipe, you will be dropped without warning. It’s either death or glory. It is my hope that the game developers who were left behind can get up and go again to learn from their mistakes.
Having been involved in telecommunications as well as the games industry (as well as the telecommunications industry getting into the games industry), I’m a little more interested in why such a certainty as cloud gaming hasn’t come into its own yet.
What is the market for cloud gaming?
The games market is a mixture of possibility and whim; there’s no real linear logic to what the next big thing will look like. Stadia cost more than a new iPhone. However, it was not as costly as a new iPhone. For a game that is processor-hungry like Stadia, it’s a good choice. Cyberpunk 2077 This might be the only way to play for many. Yet the black hole that Stadia fell into was that of “market fit”; they persuaded neither gamers nor enough developers that they had a strong commercial offering.
Will there be a market for this kind of thing in the future?
There are many cloud gaming platforms that work well, including those from Microsoft, Amazon PlayStation, Nvidia, PlayStation, and PlayStation. This is how industry players see it.
“It is not a paradigm shift, it’s just an added boon.”
Cloud gaming has failed to become a revolutionary product since the 2015 OnLive attempt. It was initially appealing to create a high-detail game that only requires minimal interaction and be delivered to your tablet via a streaming video. This did encourage some new players to the field. But soon the realization hit that you can’t create a great game design by starting with a delivery technique. This is not the game designers want to create, and it’s not what gamers play.
The cloud customer is able to see ownership being replaced by service, as the games must be run and maintained centrally. Stadia was like Netflix or Spotify, a content provider. This does cause some consternation but doesn’t appear to be a problem for most players if there is an appropriate upfront saving and a wide range of products. Although people will replay or stay for long periods of time in a game, these are the ones that require high-performance computers to run. The nagging feeling that games are not as enjoyable as books, movies, or music is still there.
Smarter separation of workload
Stadia was a good technology platform. However, lag is still a problem with cloud gaming. It’s caused by the round trip from the message you sent, to the fire button, and back again. But this should be improving. The internet isn’t about doing smart things over wire. It is about smart things happening at edges with simple transmission.
You could argue that once your images have been created, just sending them to the target device is a reasonable — if heavy — use for the internet. This is the difference with gaming: unlike movies or books, the human is constantly interacting in an active manner. My PC will lose frames if it overheats. The screen will jump when it overheats, but that is something I can control. You can get irritated by small inconsistencies in visual, auditory or haptic feedback from remote systems.
Although I support Network Neutrality, it is still a problem that no internet provider can provide me with a line whose speed cannot be guaranteed to not let me down. More to the point, a cloud gaming company can’t compel the internet provider not to do work on the line at strange times of night, when many gamers are active. The network provider and cloud gaming provider may not have exclusive access to the line at all times. Consumers don’t like to be in a position where one service takes the blame and the other is responsible for the outcome. We’ve all been there and nobody likes it.
Smarter separation of work will lead to improvements. What, for instance, is the point of a static menu that is generated upstream.
On the other side, streaming a cutscene that I am only able to see once is extremely practical. It is actually quite annoying to have a dull cutscene that is many MB long stored on your device.
Technically, it is possible to ask multiple services for different parts of the game. This sounds like microservices hellscape but it’s possible for studios to provide cutscenes as needed. Many games include a physics engine. But, all kinds of dynamic effects can be outsourced. Polystream, Improbable, and Amazon Lumberyard are offering multiplayer platforms. (Now Open 3D Engine). We’ve seen attempts to integrate separate voice chat or achievement systems from other platforms; most studios know they don’t have to do everything anymore.
What does this mean for the metaverse and how will it impact? The metaverse, while not yet fully understood by anyone, will be a 3D visual environment in a persistent universe with many people experiencing it in live time. Due to the likely high computing costs of this platform and the addition of a headset as a part of AR/VR, it will be difficult to deliver the content that Meta (for one), is looking for.
Streaming is the best way to make the metaverse available to mass markets.
Most of the problems with cloud gaming also apply for streamed persistent worlds. People will complain when their cozy world is sold to a company they don’t like. People will be confused about who is responsible for poor performance. Performance problems will become visible to many people, so they can all join together to complain. Although interactions between avatars have been very sedate in Second Life, it is not wise to restrict future worlds from this view.
Video gaming is still a relatively young form of entertainment, in comparison to movies and books. These patterns are still being formed. We knew the Kindle was a great device. 3D movies were not necessary, we suspected. It is difficult to see the exact value of cloud games. However, the evidence shows that cloud gaming has a slow, steady adoption rate as problems are resolved across the board.