Jun 16, 2016

Atari hit the scene in 1977, and the gaming revolution began. The 1990s saw a surge of computer-based games like Mystand Age of Empires, but the popularity of gaming systems would find its way back to the console, incorporating internet technology into gaming.

Surprisingly, it was not until just a few years ago that the gaming industry was able to cut the strings and put some much needed space between the gamer and the console with wireless controllers.

It’s hard to believe that dozens of gaming console generations later, the most popular video game systems are still bound to the physical console in the home.

Back in the late 2000s, a handful of startup companies offering “cloud gaming” services hit the scene. The technology, based on cloud infrastructures, comes in two forms: file streaming and video streaming.

The file streaming cloud-based gaming systems allow gamers to begin playing incrementally-downloaded portions of games while the rest of the game continues to download.

The video streaming services, the standard in cloud gaming, allows users to play the game in real time as it streams continuously from a remote server.

Just as is the case with all cloud-based internet technology, data centers bear the burden of maintaining the hardware that gamers access through the cloud. It also happens to be a win-win for the gaming companies and the gamers themselves.

With cloud-based gaming, the gamers get to stream high-quality video without having to purchase gaming systems. This also means that the companies don’t have to worry about the scourge of pirating in the gaming community, having contained the source to a non-downloadable stream under their control.

The cost is also a great selling point, offering gamers a reasonable monthly subscription to the games. It also brings down production costs on the part of the game distributors by not having to produce physical media.

As long as the tech on the side of the remote server is capable of maintaining the highest level of video quality available, the draw to stream-based gaming is inevitable for any serious gamers. And Xbox One is already chumming the waters with a highly-anticipated 2016 release.

Xbox One’s Crackdown 3, scheduled to be released sometime before December 31, 2016, is a hybridization of the two technologies, blending the tech with cloud streaming and reducing the cost of the console to draw in future gamers and win over some Playstation supporters too.

Microsoft is banking on the Crackdown 3 hybrid to ease customers into moving over to cloud-based gaming, and if the gaming community’s feedback is any indicator, the buzz is looking good. That is, if Microsoft can pull it off.

Though the cloud-based technology is in place and has been working well, garnering new fans who are thrilled to play 1080p games with a great rate of 60fps, but many potential subscribers are concerned about the lull in the cloud-based games keeping up with the highest-level of quality.

Those on the fence are doubting the current cloud-based gaming industry to carry 4K quality, and unfortunately for the gaming industry, the doubt seems to be rooted in the slow strides made to keep up with existing video streaming technology.

Nevertheless, market research shows that even though the road is bumpy at the moment, the gaming industry is well on its way to becoming primarily, and powerfully, cloud-based. The future of gaming, as of 2020, will be streaming on every device, and be with gamers wherever, whenever they want it.

And there’s no doubt that, at the end of the day, that is what the digital generation expects and demands in the age of the internet.