Video games and consoles are evolving, they move with the technology and customer demand, so its no big surprise that as processing equipment gets increasingly more compact and powerful people are expecting the same from their entertainment systems. Though the size difference between the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony is noticeable, both systems are making abundant use of the cloud technology that each company offers, something that we could see getting expanded upon as downloadable content and streaming become the norm.
Ahead in the Clouds
Sony can see the obvious draw of cloud gaming, so much so that they acquired the company Gaikai which offered cloud services enabling gamers to stream the game on their PCs at home, no disc needed. Microsoft are also well aware of the possibilities, especially as they have begun offering servers for gaming developers to use, so intent are they on providing the best multiplayer service around. It’s easy to see why both companies are devoting a lot of energy into cloud software, the only way their last consoles were able to keep up with the constantly changing and improving tech, apps and content was through endless downloadable upgrades. Maybe the companies are hoping that with the large amount of storage their new consoles offer, as well as the ability to plug in external USB storage, their consoles will stay relevant for even longer this time around.
Specifics and Speculations
It’s easy to see why there is a movement towards cloud gaming, if only for the fact that consoles will need the bare minimum in future, mostly housing storage and a few simple programs to help with security, safety and to oversee the connecting of your console or profile to the web. This would mean that less money would be spent on the building of the machine and more could go on to the software and any other special add ons (like the Kinect or PS-Eye). So what does this mean for gamers? It means that the equipment that they are using, the consoles, could see a drop in price as processing is moved on to the cloud along with the game, drivers and most other aspects of their online profile, especially as you can buy 1TB storage drives now.
Good Looking Games
Clouds mean more downloadable content for users – no longer will you have to worry about scratching a disc or corrupted save files on a usb stick or memory card – it could all be stored online for you. And dedicated servers from your console manufacturer mean that game play can be uninterrupted, no more random disconnects and hopefully, with improved internet speeds, no more lag. You’ll also get to experience better game play without the loading screens as discs won’t need to be read, it will be all there, though this means we may miss out on some wonderful loading screen art or screen cuts it also means that we will get seamless transitions without interruptions to the story or game play. The one negative that can be seen here however, is that clouds and quality of game play may rely on the users internet connections. This means that some players will receive a better quality of game play due to unlimited bandwidth, speeds or connection – so Microsoft and Sony may want to start backing internet providers or look in to starting their own if they really want to improve players experiences!
A Bright Future In Cloud Gaming
With Microsoft and Sony following the model used by Steam, games becoming available instantly through online purchase and download to your account, the prices on video games themselves are sure to drop as releases will no longer rely on shipping times, store availability etc. This could be a little sad as it means that the turnout at midnight releases may dwindle but with players able to spend less money on games they find themselves able to spend more on the rest of the franchise, events or even just commemorative merchandise. With so much ease of use and less pressure on the pocket, cloud gaming does seem to be a great way to go.