Jack Hough Barron’s article about why the cloud is the future of gaming (see: “The Videogame Industry Reaches for the Cloud”) marveled about a graphics-rich game running on a simple $40 Fire TV Stick:
“The most impressive technology was in a separate area out of view of the fair. There, we played Titanfall 2, an immersive, sci-fi shoot-’em-up with demanding graphics. The game has been out for nearly two years, but what made the demonstration remarkable was that the only hardware in sight was a Fire TV Stick—a $39.99 media device that’s the size of a pack of Juicy Fruit gum. This was the full game in high definition, not a scaled-down mobile version, and to our eyes, it ran as smoothly as if we were playing on a high-end computer.”
Yes, the cloud is readily serving up better and better gaming experiences on cheaper and cheaper devices. It’s a watershed moment for an industry that has certainly had its share of false starts.
This time, it’s different. Consumers are relying on the cloud more than ever, and cloud computing capabilities are becoming more ubiquitous.
It was once inconceivable that we’d be consuming long-form video content on tiny devices, but that’s now the norm. Then, it was impossible to believe we could stream video outside of our homes. Then, streaming made a bold leap out of the home. Mobile gaming will follow a similar trajectory.
Earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress, we showed how amazing, PC-like gaming experiences could be delivered over congested LTE networks to an Android smartphone. This was accomplished by using a multi-access edge computing app called Edge Breakout to help the network recognize the gaming traffic and break it out of its normal path to edge-based GPUs waiting eagerly to deliver a low latency, high-quality experience.
Essentially, gamers that visited our booth were watching a video of themselves playing the game. The cloud servers delivered a stream of their game to the phone, with interactions transmitted at super low latency to ensure a smooth experience.
Once gamers get a taste of high-quality cloud gaming in the home, they will push for those same experiences to be available on the road. Nintendo saw that opportunity with its wildly popular Nintendo Switch video game console, which is capable of traditional gaming on a big TV or in a handheld format. But unlike the Switch, portable gaming experiences of the future won’t rely on expensive hardware. All we’ll need to escape into a great gaming experience will already be waiting in our pockets.