Cloud computing has made great advancements the past decade, mostly due to the recent surge in internet speeds with optic fiber broadband being readily available in most areas in the cities of North America. This has made leaps in how games are consumed on-the-go. Cloud computing has allowed server farms, hosting the biggest triple A titles at extreme speeds be streamed over the internet, meaning all that is warranted to play is a device that can connect to the internet at a fast rate of megabytes per second. Cloud computing has also allowed mobiles to be played online, without a user’s data being stored on the device, making online games more fair and harder to manipulate, so your level on AFK Arena is stored safely on the developer’s servers, there are some working codes here for it.
Games can now be considered a service; a streaming service with PlayStation Now for PSPs and PS4’s, even the Nintendo Switch has a similar service, where games are streamed to you, rendering discs and downloads void. The first games as a streaming service came about in 2010 but unfortunately, the broadband speed needed to achieve smooth gameplay wasn’t around, but with big companies such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft now offering these services in 2020, it’s easy to assume that with increased broadband speeds across homes all over America, the big companies wanted to innovate with these streaming services.
With the arrival of 5G networks, it could be a possibility, very soon, streaming services could hit mobile phones in a big way. 5G networks allow the latest flagship smartphones to get rates of two-hundred megabytes per second to even a gigabyte per second. This will allow smartphones to stream at a very fast rate. Advancements like 5G and further into optimizing cloud computing is the future of the mobile game industry. It will cut down costs for manufacturers, creating a cheaper, more efficient portable gaming product and might even allow people to take a controller out their bag and play the latest triple A titles on the bus via just their smartphone.
The biggest hurdle now is the cost of running these servers and minimizing input lag. Currently, servers must be close to the gamer, this is to reduce all factors which might cause lag within the game. With latency having such a massive factor in the overall gaming experience with these streaming services using cloud, it’s a massive hurdle to make mobile cloud gaming a viable and wise choice for the consumer. The main difference between film streaming services and the new game streaming services is that latency and lag are key factors in winning or losing. It would be difficult to advertise a product when you could lose an important match, ruining the gaming experience, because someone was closer to the servers than you or have a bit of an advantage due to a better megabytes per second speed.
5G though, not only improves connection speed to up to a gigabyte per second, compared to the twenty megabytes per second of 4G, but also improves latency to a ridiculously low zero point 5 milliseconds, compared to 4Gs average of ten milliseconds. The problem with 5G is that it doesn’t have the range of 4G, so you’d only be able to use it above ground, so no subway and it’s only available in the busiest of areas in metropolitan cities. Meaning 5G cloud gaming on your smartphone might be viable in Times Square, but not in rural New Jersey.
While cloud computing has changed many aspects of mobile gaming, such as data servers for ranking and leader boards in your favorite mobile game, it has unleashed a new revolution in how we consume games for the future, but not without its hurdles. It will allow playing triple A titles while out in your city but might struggle when not using 5G or ultra-fast broadband, and it might be unreliable until the technology advances. Cloud computing could completely change the way we consume games; similar to how Netflix have modernized film consumption, but only time will tell.