By John Reynolds
March 20, 2014
Tracking the Ongoing Cloud Gaming Revolution
Mainstream media has played a considerable role in adding fuel to the cloud hype train and its implications in shaking up the enterprise IT standards of companies across the world. However, it’s a gross misjudgment to dismiss cloud storage as merely a topic of concern for CTOs and IT techies to gush over during their coffee breaks in office, because enterprise usage is merely the tip of the iceberg. You will be surprised to know that cloud storage is going to play a transformative role in the gaming industry over the next decade. As an ardent gamer contemplating which next-gen console to pick from, this certainly seems to be promising news no matter what gaming bandwagon I jump onto. It’s exciting to know two young and thriving multi-billion dollar industries collaborating technologies to deliver a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.
The gaming industry is truly in its golden era as it has consistently set and broken entertainment revenue records every year. Rockstar’s flagship title GTA 5 was able to surpass a billion dollar worth of sales in merely 3 days, making it the fastest entertainment property of all time to do so. Take a breath and let that sink in for a moment. On the other hand, cloud computing technology is evolving at a furious pace and integrating remarkably well with conventional technology platforms, or even replacing them entirely in some cases. There’s a new mantra of ‘minimalistic infrastructure, maximum productivity’ echoing across the digital realm, and I for one am glad to make that mantra resonate louder.
Make Way for GaaS
While SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are already making their foray into industries, there’s a new zest in the market for GaaS – Gaming as a Service. With significant developments in the game streaming enabling cloud computing paging technology, gaming developers have done their best to integrate it with their game design and refine it. The reason why cloud paging technology is being tagged as the firestarter for the cloud gaming revolution is because it helps supply zero latency performance, which facilitates the optimization of in-cloud calculations that are passed on from end-user consoles. Efficient cloud storage solutions are allowing users to directly download and install games on their devices without the need of purchasing physical CDs to run them.
Microsoft Pioneering the Cloud Gaming Era
I noticed that Microsoft has become one of the leading patrons of cloud technology for gaming purposes and pioneering this new trend via its recently launched Xbox One console. Further investigation of the seriousness of their role behind the scenes made my jaw drop, especially when I encountered the fact that Microsoft spends over $9 billion in R&D solely on cloud technology. This gargantuan figure eclipses the R&D investment made by its competitors collectively across all their streams by a long shot. It’s no wonder Microsoft has commenced a highly publicized effort in utilizing cloud storage technology to revamp its Xbox Live service, which weaves together its colossal network of gamers on one platform for online gaming purposes. The cloud computation cycles allow developers more freedom to build bigger and better online multiplayer campaigns for their games to keep you hooked for hours on end.
Rocking the World of the Console Gamer
Titanfall happens to be one of the few killer app next-gen titles poised for launch on the Xbox One this year that will employ dedicated servers that are supported by cloud computing services. The PC and Xbox One versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts underwent the same treatment and were powered by the Xbox Live cloud. Luckily, the support for adoption of cloud technology in games is a win-win situation for everyone involved in it; hence, it has received unanimous support from both Sony and Microsoft for their next-gen console gaming vision.
While Microsoft is focusing on extracting maximum processing power to superpower the Xbox One’s performance, Sony is presently involved in utilizing cloud storage technology to save games on its console. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that competition ushers in the maximum pace of technological advancement; and with another high stakes battle for next-gen gaming supremacy kicking off, it’ll be a blast for us gamers to enjoy the numerous cloud gaming innovations that will be coming our way soon.
The Benefits of Integrating Cloud Infrastructure with Game Design
Although it is in its infancy, cloud hosting technology is another promising facet that can suitably address the long-drawn problem game developers have been facing with regards to the implementation of custom video settings to cater to the standards of diverse consumer devices. The dream outcome from this advancement in cloud technology and integration in game design, which can trigger a gaming renaissance of sorts, would be a full streaming service that can refine your experience without banking on your own personal hardware.
Microsoft’s admirable efforts in developing better cloud infrastructure hit an early jackpot recently with the launch of the game-changing new CLR equivalent system named Orleans exclusively for their Azure cloud platform. Although Orleans has been in development for a few years now, its latest avatar has made it possible to access cloud computing storage and processing power as seamlessly and efficiently as utilizing local resources. Why am I throwing so much cloud tech jargon your way, you ask? Well, brace yourself gaming fans, because Microsoft’s next flagship Halo project is being built for the cloud!
This newfound optimized processing power facilitates the rendering of complex gaming environments in real-time for astounding interactive experiences on the Kinect. It also eases the burden on your resources caused by sophisticated AI in the game, which can now track your movements and respond just as efficiently without needing to make calculations for each frame of the game. This is achieved by offloading this task to the slower connection to the servers.
The materialization of digital distribution services and cloud storage platforms has paved a whole new land of opportunity ready to be cultivated by the gaming industry. It eliminates the large-scale investment made by gaming publishers in production of physical games that are globally distributed each year, and makes it uber-convenient for users to instantly purchase and play the hottest games in the market at the touch of a button. This allows publishers to upgrade their monetization strategies and eliminate redundancies.