It is always fun to play some games during the gap of work, or after coming back from the office in the evenings. That’s the best form of entertainment and refreshment for a class of people. But they are casual gamers. But if you are a gaming freak, playing games on such a small screen isn’t going to satisfy you, as you want to feel the game, more than just playing it. When it comes to PC gaming, there are a variety of gamers. Some prefer playing some normal games, while others are ready to invest thousands for a gaming PC to enjoy gaming at full swing.
When it comes to a gaming PC, the initial cost of setting a PC up is quite high, and with time, you might need to upgrade some components or the complete system altogether to play the latest titles in a decent way, if not with a breathtaking resolution and the highest possible frame rate. But the industry of gaming is gradually changing, and users are more interested in streaming games rather than investing thousands of dollars for the initial setup and maintenance of the same followed by that.
So let’s get started with, what exactly does it mean by streaming games and the advantages, challenges of implementing it over traditional gaming on a gaming rig.
Understanding game streaming
While gaming on a traditional system, our games are stored on a hard drive or SSD, which is executed, when we start playing the game. The hardware resources viz. the RAM, CPU, GPU, etc. is utilized to make the game run, and we see the output on the monitors or TVs, connected to the system using HDMI or VGA interfaces. For the purpose of playing the game, we use our mice or other pointing devices, keyboards, game controllers like joysticks to control the game or make the character move, depending upon the type of game we play. Depending upon the game we want to play, and the experience we want, while playing the game, our systems must be capable enough to handle them. Herein comes the importance of high-end CPUs and GPUs, and the better they are, the better the performance we get.
Once they are outdated, we can’t play the new games the way we played other games, and thus, we need to upgrade our systems, which is again is a matter of some additional investment.
But the concept of streaming games is completely different. Yes, we get the output on our TVs and monitors and control the overall gaming using the same peripherals as we do, for traditional gaming, but the processing, which is the most important part of gaming, will be handled by a remote server that is located, maybe in a different geographical location. So what happens is simple. Our inputs from the input devices are processed in the remote servers, and the output is again fetched back, which is eventually displayed on our computers and TVs. Everything will happen so fast, the user will think, the processing is done locally, just the same way it is done while playing a game locally.
That’s the core concept of streaming games. This model has numerous advantages, and some disadvantages, as well. But the disadvantages can be easily eradicated with better optimization and better management strategies in the coming days.
Advantages of streaming games
The advantages of streaming games are many, and they should replace traditional gaming in the coming days.
Bid adieu to purchase expensive hardware and upgrade them frequently:
The major expense of building a new gaming PC is for the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, Motherboard, cooling system, etc. You also need to upgrade them quite often. As the complete task of processing will be handled by a remote server, you will never need to invest in costly hardware. Just get a good TV or monitor, with some decent gaming peripherals and get started. A latency free internet connection will be an extra bonus though.
If you are already having a budget, invest less in building the PC, and get a very good monitor and gaming peripherals to play games like a pro. That was just an extra tip, you can find in handy.
Do more with platform independence
Not all games are available for all the platforms! This is all up to the creators of a certain game. When it comes to computer games, most games are available for Windows and other platforms like Linux and Mac aren’t that popular for playing the latest titles. While there are even some games, which have its exclusivity on consoles, and are launched for PCs, way after they are available for consoles. With streaming games, you can play games on literally any devices, no matter which platform you are using. You just need to have the game streaming app on your device, and you are ready to go. Start playing your game on your computer, and end up winning the boss fight on your iPhone. Streaming games can be that cool.
Recently Google announced its Stadia platform, which showcases, what I just said. So even if you use Linux on your office laptop for those complex IT related tasks, you can open the game streaming app to pick up playing the game instantly, where you left at home, during a short break, when your boss isn’t having his eyes on to you. The dream of cross-platforms gaming will come true with streaming games.
This can also be a Unique Selling Proposition for televisions, no matter how powerful or feature-rich they are, as the accurate software will allow the purchaser to play any type of game he wants with a compatible gaming controller. This has the potential to make super high-end games, that needed a $1,000 gaming rig run on a $100 TV, theoretically speaking. Undoubtedly cool!
No more downloading gigabytes of games before you start playing:
Most modern games today are more than at least 10 GB in size, and downloading them might make you impatient. But the scene will be completely different once you start streaming your favourite games. Just choose the game and start playing instantly, as the games are already available on the servers. No hassles of installing and the game and see the boring loading screen each time you start playing the game from scratch.
Unlike online games on different websites and social networks, the game will not be downloaded in the temporary memory and will use your system’s processing capability to power the game while you are playing. So you can utilize your leisure time even better and use the complete duration for hassle-free and uninterrupted gaming sessions.
Effortless spectating of games:
Like all kinds of processing is done by a remote server, it is easy to broadcast the game among the spectators. In the case of traditional gaming, the bandwidth of the player is used to broadcast the game, while the user will not have to worry about handling the broadcasting of the gaming while streaming games. In the case of professional matches, a link can be generated, which can be shared by the players to allow others to watch the game without facing problems of lags and similar other issues, at the players’ end.
Better DRM management and an end to piracy
As the games will no longer require downloading and installation, it will be almost next to impossible for the users to play the games in an unethical way, or download a pirated copy of a game. As the servers will be maintained and secured just like other major servers, the only way to play the games will be to have the necessary credentials to get access to the games. This will surely help to mitigate the menace of piracy and help the creators impose DRM quite effectively.
Fair gameplay without hacks and mods
Most gamers have the bad habit of using hacks and mods while playing games to get an advantage over other players, who are playing the game honestly. With cloud gaming, or by streaming games, that will be almost impossible, as modifying a game on the server level is far more difficult than modifying a game that is running on a computer. Though it isn’t impossible at all but isn’t as easy as modifying or hacking a game on a local computer to get some sneaky advantages during multiplayer matches.
Though it is apparently easy to play games on a browser, or whatever device you want, by streaming them, streaming games today is at a point, where it is facing a number of challenges. Let’s find out a few of them.
The requirement of a better connection with lower latency at least
Just imagine this! What your monitor displays, is a video, which is being broadcasted from a remote server. Just like watching YouTube and streaming video for hours consume a lot of your bandwidth, streaming games is going to consume the same amount of bandwidth if not more than that. But unlike streaming videos, a 1-second lag while streaming a game will completely ruin your experience of playing your favourite game. So reaction should be very fast, and that require very low latency and ping duration, most cheap internet plans don’t offer. So if you want to resort to streaming games, you might need to upgrade your internet plan, and switch to a plan that offers unlimited bandwidth, if you are using one with a bandwidth cap.
Video compression to undercut the experience
Just like most popular streaming services compress their videos to consume lower bandwidth, the same thing is going to happen while streaming games, as well. This might deteriorate the experience of streaming your favourite games. If you want to resort to streaming games for having a not so powerful GPU, this isn’t going to disappoint for you, but the lack of details will surely disappoint you if you have been using a high-end GPU for playing those games on your local system.
These are the problems you might face, once you start streaming your favourite games. But upgrading to a better internet connection should eradicate most problems and the game streaming service providers can rethink video compression algorithms to deliver a good level of detail by consuming as minimum bandwidth as possible.
A peep into the convenience of streaming games
Just pay for the game you want to play, and get started. Theoretically, there will not be a delay of even 1 second before you start playing your favourite game. You won’t need to go through the hassles of the different game stores, and the ununified way they distribute games to their customers. So apparently it is very convenient to stream games rather than executing the gameplay on your standalone system.
Will your present internet connection work for streaming games?
I have already discussed the challenges of streaming games. But if you are confident enough about your internet connection, wait! Your connection might be competent enough to play 4K videos at 60 FPS, but playing games at 4K and 60 FPS aren’t the same. Yes, your internet connection can handle the transaction of a lot of data, but videos are pre-recorded, and a complete 10 minutes clip can be buffered within seconds as nothing is going to change in between.
But while you are playing a game, it isn’t pre-recorded, and it is impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the next second. So the delay between sending an input, processing it, and streaming it across to your screen should be as lightning fast, for the best experience. A slight increase in the delay will ruin things, and thus, you need an internet connection with a very low ping, 10 ms or so, and a fast internet connection, as well.
You can talk to your internet service provider if your ping isn’t that fast, and you are looking for something better. You can either upgrade your internet plan or resort to a different ISP if your current ISP cannot give you a word of hope.
There aren’t many platforms available today to stream games, but we can find a number of them in the first phase of the coming decade. The concept of streaming games isn’t that popular today as the number of game streaming service providers are quite limited. With streaming games, you can have access to the games as services instead of software products, just the way Software as a Service aka. SAAS is. You can know more about: What is SAAS (Software-as-service).
Hope the information was helpful for you. Do you still have any question in mind? Feel free to comment the same down below.