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What Is Cloud Gaming?

What Is Cloud Gaming?

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Cloud gaming is the latest tech upgrade to take the gaming industry by storm. Companies like Xbox, Google, and Nvidia are all investing in this technology, and it seems like the 2020s will become known as the decade of cloud gaming.

But what is it? How does it work? And can my wifi handle it?

In short, cloud gaming is the gaming equivalent of Netflix and other video streaming services. But instead of streaming your favourite movies and TV shows, you can stream the latest gaming titles.

This streaming isn’t confined to a console, however – some services allow you to stream to your smartphone, or directly to some smart TVs. It allows for an unprecedented level of freedom regarding where you play. With a good internet connection, you’ll be able to game anywhere you want, using any supported device.

How Does Cloud Gaming Work?

Cloud gaming lets you play anywhere that you have access to a stable internet connection, with good upload and download speeds. It does this by hosting the game on a remote server and streaming it to your device as you play.

Most cloud gaming is accessible with a subscription, but each company uses a slightly different payment model. For example, Nvidia’s GeForce Now allows you to stream games you’ve bought using other stores like Steam, for free. But if you want to stream for longer than an hour and get access to additional features like high resolution gameplay, you need to upgrade to a paid membership.

Xbox Cloud Gaming, technically still in beta, is only available with a subscription. However, with a subscription you get access to the massive Xbox Game Pass library, featuring hundreds of games. You also have the opportunity to stream certain games you already own. The biggest benefit is that the service connects to multiple devices, letting you share your progress across platforms.

Regardless which service you use, you will generally gain access to a dedicated web-based app to stream from. With Xbox, you can download the Xbox Cloud Gaming app on your chosen device, choose your game, and play.

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Gaming:

You don’t need the latest devices to play at the best settingsA stable internet connection is needed to make the most of the service
Gain access to the newest games and most powerful hardware at a fraction of the cost of buying it all yourselfGames usually perform at lower resolutions, with framerate loss compared to console or PC play
With some subscription services, you get access to hundreds of games without additional purchasesFast broadband speeds are needed because streaming requires more data usage
Play anywhere with an internet connectionLoss of game progress if the game is removed from the library
Play across multiple devices while maintaining your place in the gamesGame ownership is in question, with the service holding rights to remove certain games as and when they see fit
Some services offer touch control alternatives for their gamesOnly certain games companies have embraced this hardware, meaning only some games are available
No longer necessary to install a game or wait for one to updateSome services require that you purchase a game on top of the subscription price
Server hosts will continually improve their hardware, meaning you will always receive the highest possible graphics and performance

Why Cloud Gaming is the Future of the Gaming Industry

With its adoption by Xbox, cloud gaming has entered the mainstream. Where it was once confined to PC users, or to services with smaller game libraries like Amazon Luna, this technology has now opened up to the wider market.

For the companies themselves, it also opens up their reach to other platforms. They are not confined to their own system, and can now cater to multiple user types, be that mobile users or PC and console users.

The market value has also been increasing, consistently, every single year since 2019, when it was worth $152 million. By 2021 the market value reached $1.48 billion, and by 2024, cloud gaming is expected to be worth $6.3 billion.

Customers are clearly impressed by cloud gaming – 94% of people who have heard of it have either already tried it out, or plan to in the near future. It was estimated that in 2022 there were over 31.7 million paying users worldwide. In October of 2022, Xbox announced there were 20 million people using their service alone, while GeForce Now reported similar numbers.

Cloud gaming is rapidly growing in popularity and shows no sign of slowing down.

Most Popular Cloud Gaming Platforms:

With the loss of Google Stadia in January 2023, the ranking of the most popular cloud gaming platform has changed. The following services represent the most popular, and most successful, platforms as of 2022.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Boasting 20 million users at the end of 2022, double the number they reported earlier the same year, Xbox Cloud Gaming is arguably the most popular cloud gaming service in the world. The great thing for consumers is that its biggest rival, GeForce Now, offers a very different service – this means people can use both, as they compliment each other very well.

For those that want access to multiple games without having to pay for each one individually, Xbox Cloud Gaming offers the largest library. However, if you already own a game and it is not supported by the service, you won’t be able to play it remotely.

It costs £10.99 a month, with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but you get access to Xbox Gold (the online service), and EA Play.

GeForce Now

Xbox Game Pass focuses on giving its users a big library of games, while GeForce Now is more concerned with giving players the best possible experience when they stream from their own games library. It also gives people the opportunity to use the service for free, allowing users to see if their device can make use of it.

The service connects to digital PC game stores, and lets you stream the games you already own. Users can stream games on nearly any device, including desktops, smart phones, smart TVs and more.

While it doesn’t offer a games library to pick and choose from, the quality of the streaming on its paid plans really shows why so many people use the service. There are three subscriptions, Free, Priority, and RTX 3080, and the quality of the server hardware increases as the cost goes up. But it is still relatively affordable, with the most expensive price plan around £15 a month.

Regardless of which cloud gaming service you use, hyperfast, stable broadband is a must. Even with the best servers, streaming is at the beck and call of your broadband speed. Hyperoptic offers the best broadband for gamers. Join today and gain access to the most stable connection and the best speeds, that make cloud gaming worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Gaming

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