You’ve probably already heard game developers telling you how great cloud gaming is and how it is going to be the future of gaming. But is it any good?
While game-makers and publishers enthuse about the prospect of cutting costs by removing the need for packaging and retail, gamers (much like myself) are rather more lukewarm to the prospect of cloud gaming.
So whatever opinion you may have about cloud gaming, let us try and impartially look at some of the pros and cons:
For me, the most obvious benefit of cloud gaming is being able to receive and play games instantly. With no need to download anything, gamers could (in theory) be streaming the latest releases with all of the processing and graphics handled in the cloud. I am sure that many gamers would be excited to play, for instance, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at 00.01 on November 13th.
Cloud gaming will also eliminate the need for expensive and buggy hardware and accessories. Access platforms (like one similar to On Live) can be easily integrated into TVs or computers, and could provide a cheaper and accessible way to game. This may encourage those who would not usually purchase an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Wii to take an interest in video games.
The biggest enemy for any player who plays games online is lag. There is nothing more frustrating when your internet connection is poor and you enemy seemingly teleports around the screen. When death results from such an instance, it can be very frustrating.
Currently, I am not sure that the technology is available to support cloud gaming. While a lot of people have broadband in their home, it is certainly not fast, widespread, or reliable enough to support cloud gaming. Just look at the recent problems Diablo 3 had at launch.
I also don’t like the idea that streamed games are never really yours. If the price of the service reflected the fact that you are, in essence, renting the game and not purchasing it, then it would be fine. But I fear that cloud gaming could adopt a similar pricing model to the mobile phone industry. Seriously, how horrible would it be if you had to pay for a contract that outlines a specific per minute usage?
Cloud gaming gives game developers and publishers an awful lot of power to dictate prices, which concerns me as a consumer.
What do you think of cloud gaming? Do you fear the potential lag? Or do you like the thought of playing the new Assassin’s Creed without having to buy it from the shops or download it? Let me know your thoughts on our Facebook Page www.Facebook.com/MasonicGamers…