Xbox VP Phil Spencer said that Streaming through the clouds is the most probable future of gaming after Xbox’s E3 2018 presentation. Streaming games from the cloud haven’t been a common place, yet the competition is starting to get fierce. At GDC 2019 Google announced its plans with its new game streaming project called Google Stadia. Microsoft is working on its xCloud service for months and plans to test it shortly; Amazon is reportedly working on its game streaming service and last but not the least Apple Arcade service will also be out shortly.
The four biggest tech companies are trying hard to get into the new game streaming service bandwagon which can only mean one thing, the competition is fierce, and it will drive the prices lower. There are many advantages of cloud-based gaming, but we cannot deny its disadvantages. In an interview with The Telegraph, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for Xbox Mike Nichols identified some of the issues with the developing technology. His target during the interview was Google Stadia; he not only mentioned what Stadia is doing wrong but also admitted what xCloud could learn from Stadia.
Nichols admitted that Google’s cloud infrastructure has the potential to make it happen, but Google lacks support from Game devs. Unlike Microsoft, Google does not have a strong relationship with the developers to deliver the content fans want. He said, “Emerging competitors like Google have a cloud infrastructure, a community with YouTube, but they don’t have the content.” Via Wccftech.
We can see where he is coming from, Xbox learned this the hard way. We know the sales difference between PS4 and Xbox One is almost 2:1, and the only credit Sony has is due to its dev support who have put out great exclusives. To get the required developer support, Microsoft has tried hard to acquire many studios as they did last year.
Cloud Streaming vs Local Lrocessing
He compared the “couch experience” that they sell through their home consoles and “anytime anywhere any device gaming experience” Google Stadia will sell in future. He said that irrespective of the availability of xCloud, the experience gamers get from their Xbox consoles or their Windows PCs will be far superior to cloud-based gaming.
The primary issue that can arrive from cloud gaming is latency; Google discovered that during their Project Stream. Lag can arrive due to a bad connection with the server, or due to hardware limitations. Input lag has also become a significant issue specifically in competitive gaming. Google tried its best to mitigate the Latency issues, but Latency due to the connection will always be present. On the other hand, there is minimal or no latency issues when the game is rendered locally.
Additionally, the graphics of the game suffer due to cloud rendering; the reason behind this is the fact that the output users are getting is essentially a compressed video and compression deteriorates the video quality. Users can only select the resolution of their game, depending upon their connection. However, when a game is rendered locally, players have a wide range of video output options specifically in PC gaming.
Cloud Streaming might be the future for gaming but it still has a long way to go. Meanwhile consoles and PCs are here to stay for quite sometime.