It seems like the console wars have been going on for eternity. Nintendo versus Sega, Microsoft versus Sony, or, alternatively, PC versus everything else. A war that that will never end, many have assumed, with fan boys and mega-corporations destined to face off for as long as the gaming industry stays strong.
On the other hand, a new contender has stepped into the ring that threatens to make consoles, regardless of brand name, extinct entirely. That new contender is, of course, streaming. Live video game streaming, to be precise, which may just be the ultimate future of gaming that will make hardware obsolete.
If you haven’t heard of services like Google Stadia or PlayStation Now you might just want to look them up. These names, although not widely known at present, may just be the inevitable future of gaming. What do the services offer? Essentially; gaming without the need for powerful hardware.
Forget having to spend hundreds, or even thousands on the latest console iteration, you need only have an internet connection, a device capable of receiving that internet connection, and the latest games are in the palm of your hands. No, we’re not just talking about bingo Australia, we’re talking about the most demanding AAA titles.
Basically; a Netflix for gaming.
How Does It Work?
As with Netflix, the idea is to make an account, pay a monthly subscription, after which instant access is granted to a library of games. As easy as that. Or, is it as easy as that?
The big hurdle with streaming services of this kind is that they require a powerful, stable internet connection. Far beyond the requirements for something like Netflix. It was stated, after Google Stadia was demonstrated at GDC 2019, that a 25Mbps line was needed in order to play a game at 1080p, 60fps. If you’re a big fan of 4K, the requirements were then bumped up to a 30Mbps line.
Plus, stability is key. If you meet the above mentioned requirements, but your line is temperamental and suffers fluctuations, the gaming experience is not going to be a very good one.
Is Streaming The Future?
There is no way around it; streaming is undoubtedly the future. The real question; just how near in the future? In the case of video game streaming, it is probably a long way off that it becomes the standard. Given that most of the world is not lucky enough to have such powerful internet connections, game streaming is likely to stay accessible only to a tiny percentage of the population.
Google Stadia has not yet officially launched, with only a closed Beta having been online for a brief time earlier this year. Vague indications suggest that it will go live later in 2019. In the meantime much attention is being given to the PlayStation 5, which is due to release probably sometime in 2020. Perhaps after the PS 5 has run its course, in five years or so, streaming might be a touch more feasible.