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Cloud Gaming to conquer the gaming world? Here's what you need to know!

career vyas blogs Bhavya Dhawan
career vyas blogsFeb 08 2023
career vyas blogs 15 minute read
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Cloud Gaming

The world of gaming is consistently evolving and transforming with new technological advancements. Cloud gaming will eventually emerge as one of the potential revenue-generating futuristic fields with a higher growth rate.

With thousands of gaming options available, the gaming experience has never been this better. An eight-bit graphics gave way to sixteen-bit, which then turned into 64-bit graphics. With each successive generation of consoles and pc, the games have become more complex in design, graphics, and capabilities. A person who has closely seen the video game revolution would know how far we have travelled in that domain. With the release of each new console, a massive leap in technology occurs. One can only appreciate just how magnificent video games have become today.

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People playing games and spending lots of money on them has led it to become another entertainment industry. Video games introduce people to new innovative technologies, and one such recent term that has only been gaining popularity is cloud gaming. The fascinating games of the world get delivered to gamers without gaming-specific hardware and without diminishing the gamer's quality of experience.

A thin client like a web browser is the only thing needed to access the games from a cloud server. Cloud gaming, however, holds a different meaning for different people. To some, it means storing different files on a cloud server that you can access from multiple devices. Others associate it with playing a game remotely from a cloud or game streaming.

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What is Cloud Gaming?

Cloud gaming, sometimes called gaming on demand, is a new technology to play demanding games in a higher setting by using any kind of machine. It is the type of online gaming that runs games on remote servers and streams them directly to a user's device such as a mobile phone, a PC, or a tablet. With this, their's no need to download and install games on a PC or console.

The game is played on a remote server, but one can see the visuals and interact with everything locally on a device, even with ancient technology. This has been a great invention that has made online on-demand games easily accessible to the clients and also reduced hassle at the client's end. Some Example of cloud gaming is that with this type of setting, one can play triple a PC or console titles like Assassin's creed odyssey on a phone or tablet. With cloud gaming, there is no need for someone to have the hardware to run today's most demanding and latest video games while they can easily be accessed through a remote server on your PC or any other device.

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How does it work?

Cloud gaming was first demonstrated by G-Cluster technology in 2000. After several inventions, the latest versions of cloud gaming are being released by big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Sony interactive entertainment. Cloud gaming works like any other streaming platform like Netflix, Amazon, or Crunchyroll. The only difference is that instead of TV shows, movies, and anime, you get video games where there is on-demand video streaming of games onto consoles, pc, or mobile devices through the use of a thin client.

The actual video game is stored, rendered, or executed on the company\'s server while the user gets the video results on his computers over the internet. Like other streaming platforms, cloud gaming also demands monthly subscriptions from the consumers; however, it can differ in game selection.

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The advantage here is that in cloud gaming, the server does all the heavy lifting and the consumers just need to have a device compatible with this technology. With cloud gaming, it\'s really easy to use tablets and smartphones for heavy gaming without heating issues as all the hardware-related stuff is supported by the server. The device just runs the streaming software to display the videos and give pure state-of-the-art gameplay. While real-time video streaming seems to be a mature technology at first glance, there are several challenges while handling the problem of good user experience.

Gamers demand high-quality video and responsiveness at an affordable rate, which means service providers have to consider error resiliency, scalability, and resource allocation, which seems to be a lot to handle. However, due to all these challenges, cloud gaming was still able to attract a huge number of users since it doesn't require players to upgrade and change their hardware.

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Types Of Cloud Gaming

  • Game Streaming: This is a type of cloud gaming associated with interactive videos and graphics streaming. The actual game is stored, executed, and controlled in a remote server, and the player sends input commands to the server. Images are executed and rendered on a remote CPU/GPU while the visuals are decoded on the user\'s local device. This allows users to play high-setting games on any device with great video quality but by having a stable and fast internet connection. Companies that use this type of cloud gaming include Ubitus, Playcast Media Systems, Gaikai, CiiNOW, and OnLive.
  • Command Streaming: Another efficient cloud gaming technology that doesn't require encoding or decoding of videos. This doesn't require GPUs in the cloud, and the user, the graphic commands of the games, are converted into API\'s which are then compressed to be rendered by the consumer on his local GPU. Sending graphic commands requires less bandwidth as it is resolution-independent and reduces the network\'s load. Command streaming is often criticized as the graphics are independent of a consumer\'s local GPU capabilities. However, it reduces network latency by bringing data, commands, and parts of the experience required much closer to the consumer. The cost and scalability are also not an issue by running the workload in the cloud and using the client\'s GPU.
  • File Streaming: This type of cloud gaming is also known as progressive downloading, where digital media files are transferred from a server to a client. The difference between streaming and progressive downloading is how files are stored by the end user that is accessing the games. At a point when a certain number of files are downloaded to the local playback device, the game will begin to play.

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Challenges to Cloud Gaming

Cloud Gaming allows the players to access the games only after downloading just 5% of the files. Players will get a similar experience to gaming streaming. However, the files are stored in the temporary directory of the associated web browser. This means that the server will give all the information to the media player required to start the video game while the file is still being downloaded. File streaming technology reduces the cost of producing media and sending patches to the consumer. Companies that support this type of cloud gaming include SpawnApps, Kalido, and Approx.

While the gaming servers differ in monetization and game selection, they all follow rudimentary technical procedures. The device registers input from the user and sends it to the server; the server processes the data and sends it back to the user enabling him to play the game. The game works well as long as the server is capable of rendering so many frames to the resolution of a local device which is not always the case.

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Major problems with cloud gaming are:

  • Input Lag: Input lag, also known as input latency, is the amount of time used by the GPU to send data to the local device and the device displaying the frame. In short terms, it\'s the time taken by the display to react to a user\'s input, even though it may emerge from an input-output lag. Reducing the distance from the data centre will reduce input lag; however, it will not provide a native gaming experience to the consumer. Even having the fastest internet connection or using wireless controllers can result in input lag. Sometimes, extra load on the CPU/GBU can result in lower frame rates in comparison to the monitor\'s refresh rate, which creates problems for a console/PC to process the next frame. In addition, image processing on monitors or televisions takes time and results in some input lag. Streaming service-providing companies are constantly looking for efficient ways to mitigate input lag and provide a better gaming experience to the players.
  • Video Compression: In cloud-based video gaming systems, the game is hosted in the cloud, and the display scenes are provided in the local device, which is also associated with sending input signals to the server, the server rendering the Frames, and sending them back to the player. This process can be accomplished quickly by resorting to video compression. Video games contain complex graphical scenes with light and shader effects. Playing them on high quality would require expensive high-end graphics cards at end-user devices; however, cloud gaming alleviates such problems by converting the 3D model into simplified versions.
  • Hardware Selection: The server on which the game is hosted is optimized for the different needs of a gaming PC. A virtual machine running on a shadow server will be allotted eight threads on an Intel Zeon 2620 CPU. These threads are expensive. Since there's a server course designed for server loads, they have a relatively lower clock speed. These CPUs are designed for multitasking and not for single-core performance. In comparison, the CPUs offered by other game streaming services lag in performance as compared to Shadow Xeon 2620. The same is the case with the GPU selection; NVIDIA Quadro GPUs are compared with Geforce GPUs.
  • System Requirements: The technology associated with cloud gaming assures that users can play the latest AAA titles by using their smartphones or tablets. Still, the user needs to have some specific requirements for the technology to work. The most important requirement is a stable and fast internet connection. For example, Shadow requires a stable internet connection of 50 megabits per second, and that would only work by having a good cable internet or fibre-optic connection. Satellite connection will rarely work fast in such a situation.

However, optimizing the quality of video streams to be delivered to the gamers and reducing the bandwidth consumption of such streams Is a new challenge to the cloud gaming model. Game streaming companies use the best video compression available while sacrificing very little in terms of speed. Still, unfortunately, the best video encoding available today pales in comparison to uncompressed video and results in motion blur while playing fast-paced games.

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The whole idea of cloud gaming started gaining serious traction recently when big names like Microsoft and Google decided to get involved with it, but this concept was discussed back in 2000 for the first time. OnLive was one of the first game streaming services which introduced the world to the cloud gaming model. It got heralded by the headlines foretelling the doom of console gaming.

Some of the other popular cloud gaming services include Google Stadia, PlayStation Now, Nvidia GeForce Now, Vortex, Shadow, and Project xCloud. Cloud gaming is still on the way to developing itself into a huge force in the gaming industry. It will soon be easy to play, high-demand AAA games on our PCs, smartphones, laptops, and Chromecast. Cloud gaming is just about to become the most accessible technology, thereby bringing a revolution to the world of gaming.

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