It is fascinating to watch how quickly consumer habits change and what can literally become a new standard overnight. If you like movies and serials, you’re already stuck in Amazon Prime, Netflix or HBO GO waters, the growing popularity of subscription content, but years ago it has also entered the video game segment, and in the years to come, this trend will grow dramatically. After the collection of selected premium games you get under the Xbox Game Pass or Access Access for a couple of hundred crowns a month, a new wave is going to flush the need to own a console or game computer. Although there have been experiments such as OnLive or Gaikai, now the time to stream the games to almost any device to which you can connect a gamepad or a mouse, and when you look under the lid, you will find that the pot is not only PlayStation Now or GeForce Now . Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are looking for streaming services, and telephone operators are also entering the online platform competition. So let’s take a look at together what we can count on in the near future, how much it will cost, how individual services are in sight of Europe or the Czech Republic, and what we will need to play the latest games on a tablet.
Only speed is not enough
A clear answer to the last question is – fast internet – but you might be surprised by specific specifications. Although most of the services we talk about today require a connection rate of around 20 megabits per second, and more, PlayStation Now requires just 5 megabits to run. Due to the fact that even in the Czech Republic, where the 4G or LTE connection would not be available, the speed seems to be a secondary problem. Much more significant is the physical distance of the servers and latency associated with it, which has been and still is the biggest nut. From playing at home, on our own console or computer, we are accustomed to playing the game instantly, at the very least with such noisy losses that we are unable to recognize it and do not even react to it. But slowing the response a few milliseconds, and some faster games become unplayable. The very limitation of our view so far remains the availability of services, but due to the already functioning online infrastructure, which could start using the games soon, there will be no latency
The popular streaming of game content is so-called local streaming over the home network. Whether we talk about consoles or PCs, there are services that allow you to move from a living room to a smaller device or vice versa – from a computer straight into a chair in front of a large television. Its solution is Xbox – Game Streaming, PlayStation – Remote Play, and NVIDIA Shield or Steam Link (no longer available but still available) for PC games. These devices or applications need only connect a suitable controller and play virtually no latency anywhere in the house or apartment
But I promised you a list of the most interesting services that will be relevant in the near future, and there is nothing easier than starting with the biggest ones. I mean, of course, Google and their approximately 3 months running the Stream beta project. Simply called service currently does not have a set price frame and allows testing only for selected players in the United States, but the impressions so far are incredibly positive. On Reddit, it was a coveted review in October that positively evaluated not only the speed at which the only available Assassin’s Creed Odyssey game is triggered but, above all, how smooth it is. Slow internet connection breaks the image, just as if you missed the speed of watching any stream, but the control does not suffer. There are also those who have not experienced any latency at all and the game has been running at full resolution without any problems. Considering that the closest cloud data center in Frankfurt is in Frankfurt, the hope for lossless gaming in the Czech Republic is very high. However, you can not expect Project Stream earlier than the end of this year, with the fact that launching in the Czech Republic can be a topic for years to come.
Denial of Cloud Gaming with Console Sense
Another project is xCloud – this is Microsoft’s service, which can be connected with the already running Xbox Game Pass rental and come to the world with a new console. Project xCloud is currently testing only a carefully selected and appropriately closed group of players and we are still waiting for a more open-ended approach to the beta. Certainly, at the beginning, six games will be available at the beginning, all running on Azure servers (closest to Frankfurt), and mobile apps should be available from scratch. However, the xCloud force is in a hybrid approach to a streamed game, part of which should still be running locally to reduce connection speeds and eliminate the lag. Victims of this decision will experience instant playability, but even after downloading or continuously downloading the necessary background data while playing, even better results should be achieved. But now it is certain that although Microsoft sees huge potential in xCloud, there will be concrete results in a few years, and we still have to count on Microsoft not changing anything from plans to a new console. But in the case of fully functional cloud play, it would become unnecessary and this – for many inevitable process – would be artificially delayed
If speculation over the form and characteristics of the new generation of PlayStation and Xbox consoles is at least partially true, overall standard performance upgrade. Indeed, the former head of Sony Andrew House’s gaming division spoke in April last year that Sony’s games on physical carriers are still very important, and similarly, according to speculation, they are at Microsoft. On the other hand, it has to be pointed out that Microsoft is trying to test the waters with a new revision of the Xbox One without a drive – Maverick – and it could be later taken as the first important step towards cloud play
So let’s go to something that’s already available now and you can actively report direct testing. Directly but technologically not so advanced competition of xCloud is already running PlayStation Now, whose availability literally licks the borders of the Czech Republic. The neighboring countries are available in Germany and Austria, but it does not seem to be actively spread throughout Europe. Rather it does not seem to spread at all, which would of course be a shame, but it seems to be a service of breath. The latest expansion from the United States to Europe took place less than four years ago, and the most striking news of September last came as a reaction to the ever-popular Xbox Game Pass – PS2 and PS4 games from PlayStation Now can now also be downloaded for local gaming without the internet. The cost-effective service is not the worst-annual subscription is set at 100 euros, but the menu is missing the biggest bumps and it is almost certain that with the arrival of the new console the service will be canceled. However, according to speculation, it should be replaced by a completely new mix of rental and streaming platforms, which prevents Sony from closing its eyes, in line with the belief that physical copies of games are still very important for the next generation of consoles
American trends are not European trends …
If you are not interested in a console and would like to play something from Steam, Battle.net or uPlaye without a powerful computer, you can try it in the free beta version of GeForce Now. In the introduction, however, it is important to note that GeForce Now works as a robust streaming platform, but you do not borrow it through it. There are about 500 supported titles on the menu, but GeForce Now now authenticates by signing in to one of those digital stores. And even if GeForce Now is slowly expanding, even if it’s a business, it’s a bit out of the mainstream. In addition, gaming requires a stable, fast connection, and the 35-50-megabit line-up is a program of possible mistakes, and the game is not playable due to packet loss. For GeForce Now, there are also typical drops in the resolution for what it looks like according to the available gaming experience as if you were watching a game stream. Not unplayable, but image quality unavailable from locally launched game
There are profound differences between the new and for some time running services, and it is quite obvious which of them have the potential and which, in the interest of their operators, a necessary revival is to be expected. So let’s go back to the most up-to-date Project Stream from Google, where people from Amazon have also seen the latest news. At the beginning of the New Year, they announced that they are also preparing their streaming service and are looking to use all of the server capacity that their Amazon Web Services can offer. We have the closest data center in Frankfurt, but it is new in Milan and is considering France or Sweden, so latency would not be bad. Amazon’s plans are not specific at this point, he has just indicated he is dealing with publishers and will be ready to run in 2020. And when talking about operators, the first swallow is American Verizon. He also has great plans for streaming games, and he could talk directly to GeForce Now’s already-up functionality. Streaming games under Verizon will work on Nvidia Shield and Android-powered devices, and according to the first screenshots, players in the United States can enjoy literally a stream of titles. Detroit and God of War take a look – it can only be placeholder pictures – there are news like the Anthem or the new Metro that underline the fact that the testing has already begun. For other operators, it could be a signal, start streaming games more openly, and not just quietly build a 5G network.
We have the closest Amazon data center in Frankfurt, but it is new in Milan and is considering France or Sweden. Looking at latency, cloud play might not be bad, but Amazon has no plans at all
But I was promising you a bunch full of goodies and actually – in the United States, it offers streaming games in connection with the rental of the titles for many platforms. For all, we can name Shadow, promising the fastest Nvidia cards and 4K gaming support, PlayKey for just $ 10 a month, LiquidSky where you de facto rent a virtual gaming computer and finally Vortex. No, we did not restrain you but the Vortex really exists, and without offering the latest games is a nice alternative. But it is time for American trends to start appearing in Europe, and we could actually begin to see the streaming of games as a proclaimed game changer. So far, it’s a very nice theory, but without proper practical use. At least here, with us, in the Czech basin.