Cloud services – The volume of the games market is estimated at $ 140 billion. Every year the market expands, new companies find their niche, and old players develop as well. One of the most actively developing trends in gaming is cloud gaming, when neither a powerful PC nor the latest generation console is needed to launch a new product.
Cloud gaming services earned $ 387 million last year, according to analytics agency IHS Markit . By 2023, analysts predict growth to $ 2.5 billion. Every year, the number of companies that develop cloud gaming is growing. Now on the market 5-6 players are most famous, to which Google corporation has recently joined. What do they offer?
Since we mentioned the corporation, we will start with it, despite the fact that it is completely new to the field of cloud gaming. On March 19, the company announced its new digital gaming platform dubbed Stadia. In addition, the company introduced a new controller. The developers have added a button to the usual functionality that allows you to start broadcasting the gameplay on YouTube with one click.
In order to attract gamers, the company offered them Doom Eternal, developed by iD Software. It will be possible to play at 4K resolution. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is also available.
The corporation promised that each gamer will receive a “machine” in the cloud with a performance of at least 10 teraflops – one and a half times more powerful than the Xbox One X. As for the connection (and this is the first question that worries a user who wants to try cloud gaming), during the demo Assassin’s Creed Odyssey games were connected via WiFI, and the response time was 166 ms. The indicator is poorly compatible with comfortable gaming, and is completely unacceptable for multiplayer, but we are still talking about an early technical demonstration. The maximum resolution is 4K at 60 fps.
Stadia is powered by Linux and the Vulkan API. The service is fully compatible with the popular game engines Unreal Engine 4, Unity and Havok, as well as many software development tools for computer games.
How much does it cost? It is not yet clear, but it is unlikely that Google will make its service much more expensive than similar products offered by competitors. It can be assumed that the subscription price will be around USD 20-30 per month.
Distinctive features. The company said that its service is cross-platform (works under any popular OS on such hardware platforms as tablet, PC, phone, etc.). Plus, the company offered its own controller.
PlayStation Now (ex-Gaikai)
Unlike Google, this service can be called a veteran of the gaming world. The company was founded in 2008, in 2012 it was bought by the Japanese company Sony for $ 380 million. In 2014, the corporation changed the name of the service to “branded” and somewhat changed its capabilities. The service was launched in the winter of 2014, initially it was available to players from the United States, and then it was opened to players from other countries.
The service allows you to play a large number of games directly in the “cloud” using game consoles PS3, PS4, PS Vita and others. A little later, the service became available for personal computer users. PC requirements are as follows:
OS: Windows 8.1 or Windows 10;
Processor: Intel Core i3 @ 3.5 GHz or AMD A10 @ 3.8 GHz or better
Free space on hard disk: at least 300 MB;
RAM: 2 GB or more.
The service library currently contains more than 600 games. With regard to the bandwidth that is optimal for the game, bandwidth below 20 Mbps is not recommended. In this case, lags and periodic “flying out” from the game can be observed.
The controller is best used with the Dual shock 4, as some games (most console exclusives) can be difficult to play through without it.
How much does it cost? Sony offers a three-month subscription with a price tag of $ 44.99 for all three months. You can also use a monthly subscription, but then the service will be 25% more expensive, that is, for three months you will have to pay not $ 44.99, but $ 56.
Distinctive features. The entire service is tied to Sony console games. As mentioned above, it’s best to use a PS4 controller to play the game.
Not the most famous service, which differs from all others in the ability to play directly in the browser (although Google Stadia seems to promise similar functionality, but at the time of this writing it was impossible to verify this). If desired, the player can use not only a PC, but also a smart TV, laptop or even a phone. The service catalog contains over 100 games. The requirements for the Internet channel are about the same as for other services – the speed should not be less than 20 Mbps, but better – more.
How much does it cost? For $ 9.99 per month, the player gets 100 hours of play time. It turns out that one hour of playing costs gamers 9 cents.
Distinctive features. You can play at Chrome browser, in the application for Windows 10 and on devices with Android OS. The gaming service is universal.
A very famous domestic project, which has been written about more than once on Habré. The basis of the service is Nvidia Grid, although in 2018 information appeared about the use of desktop video cards in Playkey, such as the GeForce 1060Ti. Currently, more than 250 games are connected, and platforms such as Steam, Origin and Epic Store are supported. Even if the game itself is not represented in the Playkey catalog.
According to the service, now the cloud gaming platform is used every day by players from 15 countries. More than 100 servers are in operation to support the gaming environment. The servers are located in Frankfurt and Moscow.
The company has partnered with 15 leading gaming publishers including Ubisoft, Bandai and War gaming. Earlier, the project managed to raise $ 2.8 million from a European venture fund.
The service is developing quite actively, now, in addition to purely gaming services, it began to offer servers of its own development, sharpened for “clouds”. They can be used by other companies – for example, to create their own gaming service. Such servers will be able to be used by game developers and publishers, digital stores, and the media, who have the opportunity to demonstrate to the reader a new game that they are writing about – everyone who is or may be interested in launching games in the cloud.
How much does it cost? The price tag starts at 1290 rubles for 70 hours of play. The most advanced tariff is unlimited, 2290 rubles (~ $ 35) per month without restrictions. At the time of writing, there were rumors of a business model change and unsubscriptions. Experimentally, the service previously launched the sale of game time packages at the rate of 60-80 rubles (~ $ 1) for 1 hour of play. Perhaps this particular model will become the main one.
Distinctive features. The company works both according to b2c (business client) and b2b (business-to-business) models. Users can not only play on the cloud, but also create their own cloud infrastructure. In addition to the game catalogue, the service supports entire platforms, including Steam, Origin and the Epic Store. You can run any game available on them.