Is Video Game Streaming Really the Future of Gaming?

The use of streaming material has exclusively concerned music and videos, especially on-demand, or at the request of the user, through official paid services of companies that over time have become ambassadors of the genre such as Spotify and Netflix, and that have expanded and spread the use of this technology globally. On the videogame front, so far it has only been possible to follow live streaming tournaments of various importance of the competitive games of the moment or live sessions of influencers who delight in playing their favorite and trendy video games. But until now, streaming entertainment has only been about seeing others as visual entertainment, lacking the practical action that characterizes the video game itself. Platforms like YouTube and Twitch have created an ideal environment for videogame entertainment, usable by everyone and instantly on any medium.

For some time, however, just like the music tracks and episodes of a TV series through the reference platforms, services with the same structure that allow the use of video games over the air by exploiting one’s connection have been introduced on the market. Environments in which it is possible to use products through a large catalog on subscription service to play the titles using only the aid of the internet connection and, if necessary, a predefined or non-predefined physical medium.

Another key attraction of Video game streaming continuously being spoken about is casino live streaming. Live streaming is available to many gamers in most nations, but its growth into the gambling sector could flourish and become the real future of online gambling. Some foresighted casino operators are already implementing the technology required to make live streaming to a large audience a reality. We should expect to see prominent casino names jump on the bandwagon sooner rather than later.

Future or utopia?

The strongest shock in the field was certainly given by the announcement of Google Stadia in 2019, which with an essential presentation managed to convey its intentions on the global videogame landscape. A service that allows the transmission of video streaming and completely without requiring hardware specifically to handle the computational load, since all the required computing power resides in the server owned by the big G . During the presentation it was possible to admire how Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, used as an experiment by Google itself on Chrome in this context a year earlier, he was able to adapt with remarkable performances on every device present on stage. Smartphones, TVs, tablets, and an old portable PC have welcomed the game to the maximum of computational power by exploiting the servers, which however were located relatively close to the area where the conference was held.

Despite this, the results have been remarkable and the announcement of collaborations with large companies such as Ubisoft, Id Software – to name a few – and the support of multiple development environments, have set off a wake-up call among many, especially when it comes to graphics power. 10.7 starting teraflops for Google Stadia, which is currently more powerful than PS4 and Xbox One X combined.Calculation numbers that are destined to increase in the immediate future when needed, without worries on the part of the end-user, who will only have the burden of managing his own connection in the best possible way, even if it was subsequently declared that the requirements necessary to obtain a respectable enjoyment on Google Stadia are around 25 Mbps for Full HD and about 30 Mbps for 4K.

Videogame streaming

Word to the people

The more traditional players and purists of the genre have not remained silent in the face of this vicissitude, reiterating that the advent of streaming will not cancel and much less stop the physical production of video games and consoles. What this technology does not guarantee is the material possession of the game and the ability to use it constantly over time, even in conditions in which the connection fails due to any problem related to it. It is true that a step in this direction has been moved by the publication of games in digital, eliminating the physical support from the lives of some people, although a physical memory is still needed on which to download the material to play.

Despite the guarantees of scalability of the video quality of the game based on the connection possessed, it remains to be verified whether this technology will be usable with decency by current local connections in some parts of the territory. The potential latency is scary for a service that makes the reactivity of the commands its essence, especially on the multiplayer side, on which Google seems to be focusing a lot. It would create not a little imbalance between the user parts on the various devices in a single game to compete. The imminent advent of 5G on the move could certainly give an interesting turning point to the portable streaming gaming landscape, allowing accessibility and a much higher quality away from home than the current one.

Despite the various problems that could arise from such a service, the industry seems to want to boldly point in this direction. In fact, Google is only the one who has decided to go big, totally eliminating the physical game from our homes. This in a sense is like wanting to forge ahead on a path that in some ways is still closely linked to the origins of the genre.

Videogame streaming

The goal of gaming streaming

The aim of the great American company is to create a macro-environment in which any type of player can play and interact without technical limitations, sharing their sessions, their guides, and their suggestions with anyone, thanks also to the great interaction with the influencers. that already monopolizes the live shows of the YouTube platform. A service that, as shown at the GDC, fits perfectly with all the other Google services already present, starting from YouTube and the proprietary voice assistant, which integrates perfectly with the architecture designed by the Mountain View giant.

What is certain is that the reliability of a console under your TV is unattainable, the security and guarantee that physical hardware can give on many occasions is something that streaming cannot replace, at least at this time. The reusability of the content for an indefinite number of times once purchased directly, sanctifies an ancient but functional formula for years. Even in the digital sector we always talk about licenses associated with an account; although rare, it is possible that in the distant future some products may no longer be usable for a number of reasons why the company reserves the right to manage the concessions of rights on the products offered for sale, but probably a lifetime would not be enough to see this happen.

Another big unknown that could arise at the moment concerns the management of the accounts. Will a ban related to your game profile affect the entire account, with the entire catalog and relative progress, or only the single game? If so, are you completely expelled from the entertainment circuit? Can the risk of account theft really preclude the entire possibility of playing and consequent loss of progress and sensitive data relating to the entire Googliano environment? And how will the granting of gaming licenses for users be managed? These are all issues that Google will clarify over time, but it is legitimate to ask questions on the subject, especially if you want to experience this innovation firsthand and have a minimum of regard for sensitive data.

Videogame streaming

Scalability and security as a service

As already mentioned above, Stadia in particular guarantees calculation scalability to the detriment of the company itself, to be offered to its users over time when it is most needed. It is not yet clear how the various powers and games will be distributed and on the basis of what costs or subscription plans, but an overturning of the concept of gaming initiated by Google is indisputable and not ignorable. Where the user is a potential utopian future no longer needs to update their gaming equipment, Google will take care of it in terms of power and consequent quality. The user only needs any support that has access to Google Chrome and a good connection and that’s it.

The declared teraflops could become many more in the near future where competing companies will try to reaffirm their strength in what they do best: exclusive games and hardware. Even if Google has a very full-bodied partnership system on its side that could generate interesting exclusives for the streaming service in question. The biggest advantage among some uncertainties is undoubtedly the security of the gaming sessions that thanks to the Google cloud manages to reach quality peaks in terms of anti-cheat, not being bound to a real traditional machine on which the cheater on duty can operate. The entire management dedicated to the server cancels any fraudulent attempt to boycott a game with cheats passing through a traditional client. And what about any beloved mods that have always characterized the PC experience of some titles? Will Google be able to manage this function too or will it postpone on this topic? The support of mods has always been highly appreciated by the gamer community and it would be interesting to see an environment dedicated to it also on Stadia, in such a way that anyone can enjoy modded content anywhere and not just on PC, trying to separate modding from cheating as much as possible; allowing one and denying the other.

On the front of the control, however, it will also be possible to use Stadia anywhere and with any controller on the market, even if Google has designed a proprietary one optimized ad hoc for the occasion and indispensable if you want to play from a TV equipped with Chromecast. Google’s intent is to create a cross-platform, synchronized, and large-scale environment. A project that will also entice many independent and non-independent developers – with whom Google is already making agreements – to participate in the revolution in the use of the video game.

Videogame streaming

Fewer limits, more progress

Stadia can be an excellent environment in which to develop and connect people, thanks to the adaptability and scalability of the service – based on Linux and open source technologies – developers will be able to continuously give free rein to their creativity, without any technical limits whatsoever and imposed constraints. from a cycle of home hardware with a duration of approximately 6 years, avoiding castration of the final product that we have dealt with very often during the continuation of a classic generation of consoles, where over time our old friends begin to limp to retirement. It will therefore be legitimate to forget a method such as the mid gen to make up for the lack of power for some larger titles, where the gap between standard and mid gen consoles for some titles has proved evident.

Despite the initial fixed performance values ​​of Google Stadia, it is reasonable to think that there will be facilities at the computational level of the platform in the case of very large development proposals, and it will be extremely easier for anyone who wants to develop on it, to agree with Google directly for an expansion of performance on request, such as to always keep the bar high, since there was talk of an 8K not too distant as a reality. For this evolutionary machine to work, large companies also need to invest in the project, guaranteeing Stadia its own longevity over time and a respectable range of titles, exclusive and non, triple-A and indie, which can satisfy the majority of users, convincing them that the future is closer than you think.

Promote the continuous and vigorous development of gaming and avoid obsolescence; access the game with a click or a touch at the maximum possible performance for each user on each machine, taking advantage of the interconnection and mobility; this is the essence of Stadia and the vision of its videogame future. Streaming is a battle that will undoubtedly be fought with exclusive games, computing power, costs and services for the benefit of users.

Videogame streaming

Competition and models

Google is not alone in launching its streaming initiative. Even the most established companies in the sector have provided or are providing for this need. The launch of PS Now, which recently took place also in our territory, is a clear sign of looking towards the future, even if right now the Japanese service has proved to be a mere prototype for what it will really be in the future, also thanks to backward compatibility. between Sony consoles to date absent. The PS Now experience, unlike Stadia, is all about the access hardware, be it a PC or a PS4, without which you can’t access it.

The ability to download PS2 and PS4 titles – but not PS3 – to optimize streaming performance on PS4 in terms of visual quality is a cross between a digital purchase and pure streaming, ensuring a transition from 720p to 1080p, even reducing to minimum input lag, which in any case is not high, at least from the tests carried out so far. However, the problem of user queues on some games is tangible and in the face of a not exactly negligible cost of the service, it is not exactly the future that everyone expects.

PS Now always gets along less in the PC field, which does not allow the download of any title from the catalog, but allows the streaming of all the games offered in it, and playable thanks to a DualShock 4. Definitely, a service that can be improved over time, in which more and more titles will be added month by month, and is a concrete taste of what will be in the future in terms of quality and completeness of the service.

Microsoft will not be outdone, thanks to a Project xCloud, of which nothing is yet known about it, although it would seem that the American company wants to point a lot in this direction like Sony and Google. Microsoft has focused on the various platform and game compatibility technologies, laid over time as the basis for a future in which all Xbox consoles guarantee total access to all the services offered, including future streaming.

So, where are we now?

Live streaming is currently available in the gaming world. Many iGaming platforms have used this technology to some extent, particularly for table games like poker and blackjack. Aside from the casino, gaming also provides live broadcasting via technology such as Twitch feeds. The United Kingdom is a step ahead of other countries because eSports games can be streamed on BBC channels – but not to a large extent just yet.

So, is live gaming streaming the way of the future?

Yes, indeed! One of the ways that gaming will evolve in the coming years is through live streaming. Those that consider gaming to be a sport understand the importance of streaming events and competitions. It remains to be seen how quickly it will be implemented, but it will be intriguing to watch. It will spark heated competition among game creators and gaming platforms, particularly among online casinos vying for the greatest live streaming experiences.

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