Cloud-native Games - Future or Fiction?
How far we have come from the early days of the Atari
Anyone else fondly remember blowing on the old cartridges, hoping they would restart? Those endless fights with siblings for screen time in households which had 1, or maximum 2 television sets. The ‘screen-time’ curfews in place that we cannot imagine now. Being scolded for devoting too much time to video games that could be used studying instead. Fun times, right?! Cut to now – when we have a gaming device more powerful than any Atari sitting inside our pockets, with over a million titles ready to download and play within seconds.
Cloud gaming is not the future, it is the present.
Ever since Google unveiled Stadia as a device agnostic cloud service, it may have inserted the first nail in the coffin of consoles. The upsides are just too many. No console restrictions, for one, no more a long waiting time for download and setup, and hardware pre-requisites are down to merely a screen (mostly). The experience is instant, and that is the kind of world we live in, everything on demand, which makes me pretty confident that cloud-gaming is here to stay.
Cloud gaming also frees gamers from worrying about constant and annoying updates and enables them to play across multiple screens. Its superior LAN capabilities allow for much larger groups to participate in an interactive experience that remains global and real time – released from the shackles of network ping times. The struggle of latency may now be a story we tell our grandkids. The evolution of hardware is ironically to reduce the actual hardware in the hands of the end user to provide a seamless gaming experience and we’re well on our way.
The real revolution is in the games themselves
That’s just the tech side of things, but the real revolution is in the games themselves. Fortnite Battle Royale and Clash of Clans, for instance, are mere scratches on the surface. With the recent release of Cyberpunk 2077, cloud gaming may well end up completing the exodus from consoles once and for all. In 2020, Google has already added more than 100 games to Stadia including legacy titles like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Doom Eternal, Borderlands 3, Hotline Miami, and Civilization VI. While their 2021 pipeline may see more added to their catalogue, one can already predict, by 2022, cloud gaming will have stranglehold when sports games join the party.
The real potential though, lies when combined with streaming
Now, instead of merely being a passive viewer watching some of the biggest gamers do their thing on Twitch, viewers can request to join the stream themselves from the nearest device. The real-time, social and experiential possibilities are wide-ranging. For all you know, we humans are possibly just one highly addictive game backed by an AI that modifies and progresses its storyboard to keep humans from plugging out of the virtual worlds ever again! And the best part is that we can be everything from Neo and Trinity to Morpheus or Agent Smith.
Rajan Navani is the Founder & CEO of JetSynthesys Private Limited, the parent company of PlayIzzOn Games.