Promises of never-before-seen graphical fidelity were set to catapult the video game industry to new heights when the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles were released last year. It’s interesting to think that, regardless of how remarkable graphics might seem today, especially considering the improved rendering technologies being developed by all the different video game engines, gaming graphics will always eventually be constrained by the hardware. Inevitably, the graphics of the video gaming consoles that we see today will become obsolete as newer technology becomes available.
The Future of Video Games: Is it in the Cloud?
The answer to the constant evolution and improvement of hardware lies with video gaming companies hosting their games in the cloud.
Hosting an online game on an ultra-powerful machine that is sitting in a data center means the user simply needs to connect to the source via an internet session and they are ready to play. The user is able to stream the game to almost any device that has an internet connection, simplifying the user experience. This also improves the user experience over time as improvements in graphics quality would be delivered without the need to regularly purchase expensive hardware upgrades. The only real cost for the user would be for the services used with the relevant cloud gaming provider.
However, this cloud gaming future is off to a rocky start, plagued by latency issues, graphics glitches, small game catalogs, and sales models that haven't quite captured the public desire for a "Netflix of games".
Still, the desire is there, and for good reason. While the new generation of game graphics on PS5 and Xbox Series X is impressive to look at, high demand and global chip shortages have led to scarcity and high prices at retail – just some of the problems that could be solved with cloud video gaming.
Who Will Turn This Idea into a Reality?
Cloud video gaming may be more than just a pipedream, and the concept of a cloud video gaming world is definitely a possibility. Engineers at Intel Labs have developed a new and innovative technology that they are calling “Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement”, which enhances the realism of games that use synthetic images. The developers at Intel applied this technology to the fan-favorite game Grand Theft Auto V and turned it into a hyper-realistic world; below is a video demonstrating the Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement technology:
To explain more about the inner workings of this new technology, Intel published an in-depth White Paper.
Technology like Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement is a testament to the power of the cloud and how it could propel the video game industry, and cloud video gaming certainly seems like a trend that the industry is starting to focus on and move toward. This could be the step that enables video game developers to create the next-level video game quality that they have envisaged and have been working to achieve but without the need to compromise and cater to the constraints of old hardware.
Cloud Video Gaming Entrance Barriers
However, obtaining superior cloud servers to power video games is not the only challenge that developers need to overcome. The amount of graphics data that would need to be transmitted to the end-user would require a consistent and fast internet connection, particularly to reduce latency (the delay between sending and receiving data). This may prove to be a more significant barrier as fast internet, such as fiber, is not available worldwide. Cloud providers would also need to have data centers and edge locations set up around the world so that end-users can be closer to the servers on which they are playing.
How Snapt and Cloud Video Gaming Go Hand-in-Hand
Video game companies should consider utilizing an application acceleration tool, like Nova, to help accelerate their application performance, manage load and traffic through the cloud, and ensure the uptime of their video games. A high-performance ADC like Nova provides image compression and caching to speed up content transfer between cloud servers and client browsers, which helps to lower latency and provides better overall server performance, resulting in a much happier end-user.
For online and competitive games, downtime, poor performance and security breaches equal lost revenue, low adoption and reputational damage. Game developers and publishers need to ensure a fast, reliable and secure user experience.
Meanwhile, scaling infrastructure to provide live services for millions of players can be complex and expensive.
Game developers need a platform that enables faster delivery, at greater scale, and increasingly with the involvement of the end user. This requires optimized CI/CD pipelines; rapid scale-out of development resources and deployed services across multiple clouds; the ability to handle new media streaming, messaging and game data shared by users; and the means to keep user and transactional data secure.
Game devs need a new solution for application delivery that enables this transition.
Snapt Nova is an application delivery platform optimized for the needs of game development, global deployment, CI/CD, and live service delivery.