Cloud Gaming Expected to Boom in 2015
The ability to stream and seamlessly play high-end titles via cloud gaming is expected to be available to over 150 million gamers in 2015.
Venture Beat reports that the cloud-based streaming of major console and PC games should become readily available to over 150 million people in 2015. This marks a growth of 500 percent since last year. Warner Bros., EA, Sony and many other video game publishers have already thrown their hats into the ring in terms of providing downloadable, client-based game services much akin to what we have seen with Steam and GoG.com, but not many companies have fully sought after cloud-oriented game streaming. Square Enix, Nvidia and Sony already have their own cloud-run gaming clients with their Shinra, Grid and PlayStation Now initiatives (respectively), but we should expect a lot of similar programs popping up in the near future. As expected, pricing, stream speed and overall quality will matter the most when it comes to these programs, and many gamers have already been very vocal about PlayStation Now's constant lag and high costs.
With video-streaming programs, such as a Hulu, Netflix and the WWE Network, becoming increasingly popular every year, it is only natural that players would eventually flock to video game-streaming services. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult (in terms of technology and stressing your Internet connection) to host a game at a data center/cloud, stream its gameplay to your client device, input your controller's commands for the game, send those commands back to the data center and watch your input register just as you would if you were playing a game normally without an Internet connection. This is why Sony is starting off its PlayStation Now service on the PS4 with older games from the PS1, PS2 and PS3. Of course, Microsoft most likely isn't far behind in releasing a similar service for the Xbox One.
Strategy Analytics predicts that the PlayStation Now and Grid will grow from 30 million users by the end of this year to nearly 150 million by December 2015. The research group believes that this predicted growth will come from the upcoming surge of devices that have cloud-gaming capabilities, such as newer PCs, tablets and the PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, OnLive, one of the earlier brands of broadband game-streaming, collapsed back in 2012, which letdown a lot of people who were hopeful in the format. Since then, OnLive has properly bounced back, offering high-end titles on more and more devices as time progresses.
As with all successful trends in the gaming industry, once a company is able to provide a premier format for cloud-based game streaming, you should expect many other companies to follow in their footsteps so they can try and recreate the same success. By that time, lag issues, overall stream quality and pricing should get much better for consumers when it comes to stream-based gaming.
"2014 is proving to be a watershed moment with major players putting their credibility and brand names on the line to make cloud gaming work. While broadband speeds and consumer acceptance of subscription models have come a long way, access to content remains an issue for all services,” said Michael Goodman, Strategy Analytic's director of digital media strategies. “The major video game publishers have so far successfully managed an incremental transition from physical to digital media, but cloud gaming offers publishers a new revenue stream.”