5 Reasons Why Cloud Game Streaming Will Never Work

Jul 15, 2021 | 0 Votes by Mikhail - rate Your vote
Cloud game streaming is a relatively new type of gaming service, enabling players to stream games instead of downloading them from the internet. However, we don’t think it’ll be a major success any time soon. WWGDB - 5 Reasons Why Cloud Game Streaming Will Never Work

I’ll be frank: cloud game streaming is a terrible idea. Although we can safely say, it is built on relatively sound foundations because video streaming, thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime, is a thing. However, with the fall and failure of Google Stadia and services like PlayStation Now and Xbox’s Cloud gaming service taking a backseat today, we can kind of say it won’t work any time soon. Although it is built on relatively solid foundations and had good reasons to exist (like saving storage space), it has many problems, and it feels as if it has a doomed future.

So, why do we have a rather pessimistic view of cloud gaming? Well, here are a few things to take note of:

We like our games on hand and ready to play

We'd like our games easier to access please

Streaming mainly relies on connecting to the internet and downloading games as you play. It means the games you play won’t be on your hard drive - instead, they’re on a server in a far-off data center. With that in mind, it means you have to be connected to the internet all the time.

Just imagine this: you’re tired after a long day, and you’d like to just sit on the couch and play right away. However, unless you have a super-fast internet connection, using a streaming service means downloading the game’s assets, which can be smooth but can be rocky the more you play. Compare that to an experience wherein you’ve got the game on your hard drive where you can just dive into a game without worrying about internet speeds.

Fluctuating and varying internet speeds

If multiplayer games induce lag, streaming will definitely do the same

Whether you’re using a fiber optic connection or slower broadband, internet speeds are inconsistent and commonly fluctuate. When companies say “up to 100 MBPS,” it means your connection will be slower than the aforementioned speed and may play at the 30-80 range. With that considered, Stadia requires at least 4.5 MBPS to make games playable but faster if you want an optimum experience.

Cloud gaming is a viable option if you have a stable connection and live in the developed world. Otherwise, it’s simply an inaccessible service for many. To make games and services boom, it needs to be open to a broader population pool. Plus, if you stream games, you need the appropriate hardware and a subscription (or a full-priced purchase), so there are entry points and requirements along the way which make a niche service.

Data consumption

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a massive game

Today, many internet service providers still put a data cap, like 500 GB or 1 TB a month. There was even a point in the past where it was pegged at 50. When you’re streaming a game like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, a massive 100 GB title, you’re using between between 4.5 GB to 20 GB an hour. This is NOT an option if you have a data cap, and to maintain high speeds if you go beyond that requires additional expenses. In any case, it would be more cost-efficient to download entire games than stream them.

Learn from Stadia’s failure

Stadia is failing terribly

Google Stadia went big and probably hoped to the premiere streaming service like how their search engine became the go-to for, well, almost everyone. It tried to be accessible to the masses when it launched, even if not all gamers have a stable high-tier internet connection. However, it didn’t have many features at launch, and the data consumption and the choppy playback and stuttering for even medium-tier internet speeds is a significant problem.

Cloud gaming might be fine if you’re focusing on smaller and older games, like what PlayStation Now is doing. Available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, its library is steadily growing, and although it’s still comparably niche, it is consistently growing.

Storage space is a non-issue

Massive games and storage space requirements are a non-issue

Video games today are rather massive, especially open-world titles. Apart from AC: Odyssey, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Red Dead Redemption, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are 100 GB experiences.

One of the highly-touted benefits of cloud game streaming is you no longer need to concern yourself about storage space. Quite frankly, this is a non-issue. Even if games today have massive file sizes, downloading them is a lot more convenient than streaming them. For example, let’s streaming a game eats up 10 GB/hr, and if you play 10 hours, that amounts to 100 GB of data consumed. You’ll likely end up gorging more data if you play beyond 10 hours, which will definitely happen if you’re diving into massive open-world games.

Compare this to downloading and storing. Once you have a single-player game on your hard drive, you no longer need to make any downloads, barring future updates and patches. If you run out of space, you can modify or purchase new hardware or simply make some by deleting titles you no longer play.

Overall, we don’t see cloud gaming making much of an impact in the future. Downloading games is still the way to go, and with the industry taking a more mobile approach, this type of service isn’t ideal on mobile and handhelds. Although it can reach a certain degree of success, like PlayStation Now, it won’t take over unless it becomes more accessible.

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