Next step in gaming technology: Cloud Streaming

About two years ago when I got Steam In-Home Streaming working, something clicked in my head. Oh my god, this is the next step in gaming! I was using my 2014 Macbook, which was unable to handle modern games at even the most basic settings, to play games like Bioshock Infinite and Dota 2 at max settings. It immediately clicked to me back then: I knew that eventually gamers, even PC gamers, would no longer build their own machines. Exactly like how enterprises migrate their on-premise infrastructures to cloud hosting solutions, I envisioned gamers doing the same. What is a gaming PC (or console!) other than a type of infrastructure?

Now in 2018, it looks like that vision is fast approaching. There are companies that are taking gaming to the next level: cloud streaming. Google is developing Project Stream, Microsoft is working on Project xCloud, and third party companies like Vortex are already selling subscription packages.┬áThe way this technology works is very similar to how users watch videos on Youtube. There is a server, hosted by a company, that users consume media from. However in this case, that server has a video game installed, and is streaming a “video” of that game. The user in turn streams commands back to the server and, with the low latency of high speed internet today, is able to have a high quality gaming experience.

In my opinion this technology will drastically change the gaming industry in the near future. Why pay $2,000 for a high end PC that will become obsolete in 5 years when you can just pay a monthly subscription for a service that will continuously grow and improve? Why buy a $300 console when you can just use a $100 tablet to stream high quality games? There are already clients now like Moonstream that are compatible with iOS and Android. Yes, today you can play Overwatch on your phone if you wanted to.

This technology is still in its infant stage, so it is still too expensive for most people to buy into just yet. But I’m excited to see how cloud streaming will innovate the industry.