Cloud technology has had a dramatic impact on several industries and areas of enterprise, so it was only natural that it would become the next big thing to hit the global gaming industry.
The past few years have seen a paradigm shift in the way that global consumers access and play games. With digital compatibility becoming a top priority for gaming audiences, more than ever players are looking for convenient and affordable ways to play the latest games and gaming apps.
With cloud gaming now set to be worth up to $14.01 billion by 2027, in this article we’ll be tracing the rise of the sector and analyse its potential future impact on the gaming industry as a whole.
What is Cloud Gaming?
Cloud gaming, much like any aspect of cloud computing, is a process that is entirely cloud-based. It’s designed to give players access to a massive variety of games, which are hosted on remote servers that then stream the chosen game onto a connected device.
Unlike traditional video gaming, which takes place on a local level on a PC, console or mobile (in the case of downloadable gaming apps) and takes up a substantial amount of space, cloud gaming is a streaming service that is independent of location. As a result, it’s a much more affordable and accessible way to play games, since gamers don’t need to invest in or constantly update their gaming hardware.
While cloud gaming technology has been only a few years in the making, the concept of gaming libraries was pioneered in the early 2000s by the iGaming sector and, of course, video game digital distribution services.
iGaming has emerged to become a fully-fledged industry in its own right. While it encompasses a wide range of real money activities, it’s largely known for its extensive online gaming segments that include remote poker and remote casino classics including slots, blackjack and roulette. 2022’s digital casinos are characterized by their extensive selection of titles like slots that players can access from different connected devices, including PCs and mobile.
Game digital distribution services, meanwhile, set an early blueprint for methods of accessing and playing games cloud gaming would eventually streamline. Take Valve’s Steam, for example. Originally launching in 2003, the service was once a standalone software client but has developed into the “ultimate destination for playing, discussing and creating games” that it is today.
What’s Behind the Popularity of Cloud Gaming?
Like cloud computing, there are several reasons why the application of cloud technology has resonated so strongly throughout the entire gaming ecosystem. For end-users, cloud gaming effectively removes the need to purchase and maintain gaming PCs, consoles and invidious games, replacing those costs with a monthly or annual subscription fee.
In addition, because games are stored on cloud servers, players can log on and enjoy their games on any device that has a strong enough internet connection. This means that even players with older devices or smartphones or tablets can enjoy the same gaming experiences as those with high-end gaming rigs.
For games developers, cloud gaming offers a big win when it comes to digital rights management (DRM). In more conventional game downloading scenarios, there’s always a risk of piracy or intellectual property violation, since the end-user is directly downloading the game.
With gaming-as-a-service, however, such risks are removed. This, in turn, opens out the sector to independent developers and games creators who can’t always afford to invest in comprehensive DRM procedures.
Shaping the Gaming Industry
It’s clear that gaming in the cloud has already begun to shape the gaming industry and future-proof it for the decades to come. By essentially democratizing the practice of playing games, gaming-as-a-service broadens the appeal of the pastime, making it attractive and accessible to a broader demographic of end consumers.
While there will always be a need for conventional video gaming methods – particularly among hardcore gamers and those pursuing professional career paths as players – its versatility, affordability and sheer ease of use make it much more than just a passing fad.