Physical media and dedicated gaming consoles, we are told, are dying breeds. And the prime suspect for their expected demise is “The Cloud”. Cloud Gaming is on it's way and may shake up the gaming world for all of us so I'm taking a look in to this to see exactly what it is, and what it means for the gaming community.
The Cloud is already present in most of our daily lives. Every time you check your Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail emails via a web browser, you're accessing, retrieving and interacting with them stored in The Cloud. Most internet users have also interacted with The Cloud when using Google Docs in which your docs, spreadsheets and presentations are all edited online without ever being saved or used on your PC itself. The analogy of 'The Cloud' is the 'place' where the files you view and use online are stored and means not only do we save our hard drives from the abuse of saving thousands of emails and documents, but also that we can access them anywhere on the world.
Looking at gaming, Cloud Gaming is set to cause one of the biggest shake ups of the way we play games since the early 1970's when the first dedicated gaming consoles hit the shelves. The “Cloud Gaming” generation will not own physical media nor will they store video games on a hardrive. Instead, they'll connect via the internet to central servers, on which the games are stored and the processing required to run them takes place. With all of the processing and media storage happening remotely, the only hardware the user will require is a PC with an internet connection and a 3rd party box to manage the flow of information from PC, through the internet to their servers, and then to receive that information back and translate it onto your TV or monitor. With the industry leaders currently claiming to have all but eliminated latency (down to 1 millisecond), the gamer's interactions with the servers through the internet is planned to be as seamless and quick as interacting with a console in the same room.