Cloud computing is broadly defined as completing work on a local computer and storing that information on a server at another location. Cloud-based streaming has enabled the music, television, and movie industries to offer extensive content on a variety of devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. Streaming video and music services such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and Pandora have made streaming readily available to millions of users. It was inevitable that the gaming industry would not be far behind. Currently, gaming is a $68 billion industry that is growing more rapidly than any other media segment. Gaming industry executives must learn how to take advantage of cloud computing to stay ahead of the pack.
The Advantages of Cloud Computing
The basic advantages of cloud computing technology have relevance for many different types of media, including gaming. These include:
- Convenience. You have access to all of your data through any internet connection.
- Security. Virtually every cloud computing company uses industrial level security software and practices, which makes it difficult for hackers to break into your information. There are no guarantees, but cloud computing is significantly safer than any other data storage alternative.
- Collaboration. You have the flexibility to offer other individuals the ability to access, view, and modify your data, allowing for numerous collaboration possibilities.
- Back -up. In the event of a computer crash, you always have a data back-up.
- Energy conservation. Cloud computing is more efficient than other data storage options, reducing energy consumption. Some businesses take the additional step of using cloud computing for telecommuting initiatives.
A movement known as game streaming uses third-party cloud computing services to provide video games online. This concept is similar to YouTube and other online video-streaming sites. The difference between game streaming and video streaming is that gaming streams fully-licensed video games on PCs, hand-held devices, and console systems.
Freedom from the Console
On-demand gaming has a number of advantages over traditional console gaming systems, including:
- Simple click-to-play interface. Cloud computing is easy to implement and use. It allows users to access their entire collection of gaming titles and saved games from any device at any location without downloading and installing software. .
- Any-device gaming. Many games are available in high quality formats on multiple devices including TVs, PCs, Macs, smart phones, and tablets.
- Cross-compatibility. Cloud computers enable users to run high-end games, such as Call of Duty, on lower-end machines. Cloud computing makes it possible to run games without depending on specific memory requirements, processing power, or graphics capacity.
- No more hassle. Cloud computing eliminates the need for game installations, hardware, complex set ups, game CDs or DVDs, and game patches. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
- Reduced costs for both gaming companies and users. The traditional model for gaming companies is to “over pay” for bandwidth when there are significant traffic spikes in the system. Many companies experience this issue shortly after they have released a popular title. Typically a gaming company uses about 10 percent of server space and bandwidth during normal traffic periods, reserving the remaining 90 percent for traffic spikes. Cloud computing uses a utility billing model in which a company only pays for the resources it uses. They can then transfer these savings indirectly to users gaming on their cloud platforms.
- Reduced time for compatibility testing. Because maintenance and upkeep run through the same platform, less time is required for compatibility testing.