Just a few weeks ago Sony unveiled its next generation PlayStation gaming console, offering advanced processing capacity and new games. The PS5 is set to be in the shops by Christmas. But watch out, there’s a whole new ball game in town being driven by the major technology players. They’re on a ‘dastardly’ mission to switch as many as possible of the current 2.5 billion gamers worldwide onto cloud-based gaming.
With the video games market predicted to be worth $300 billion by 2025, it’s just too good an opportunity to pass up. Google, for example, entered the cloud gaming market in 2019, allowing subscribers to play multiple games on smartphones and PCs via its Chrome browser. Meanwhile, Microsoft enjoyed a stellar rise in its Xbox Live service at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, notching up 90 million users in April alone. Added to this, free-to-play games and in-game purchases via the cloud is catching on big time.
All things considered, these developments are conspiring to become a major disruptor to the traditional games console market, dominated by Sony and Nintendo for the past 25 years.
Traditionally, dedicated consoles or powerful graphics laden personal computers designed for video games, have been a prerequisite to play high-definition games. But cloud gaming with its streaming of games across the internet is changing the status quo: pretty much all the compute power and high-resolution video graphics is shouldered by super-powerful, super-connected servers being hosted in data centres. So now, you can even play on your smartphone!
However, it’s not all plain sailing. There’s a huge amount of technological infrastructure behind cloud gaming: For one, processing games via the cloud demands the exchange of massive amounts of data with servers. These eat up megawatts of power. Then there’s the hurdle of network latency to overcome – multiple users simultaneously playing any time of day or night won’t tolerate any kind of delay when instantaneous action or reaction is the nature of the game.
To make cloud gaming really fly, all comes back to the data centres involved. This may come as something of a surprise to many of the millions of gamers out there in their virtual worlds.
Mind you, we’re not talking any old data centres. These are the super-powerful, hyperconnected variety such as NGD. Without them, it’s effectively game over.
- They supply the massive power necessary for the high-density server racks required for delivering all that supercharged processing and awesome video graphics capability
- They provide the infrastructure necessary for keeping the servers nice and cool 24/7 365, even when the action is red hot!
- They form the network of high-speed communications hubs which connect directly into public cloud provider network infrastructures, allowing individual or multiple players to enjoy a real-time, no lag user experience - no matter where in the real-world they are
Make no mistake, the big tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft will be looking to reinforce their competitive edge further in the lucrative cloud gaming market. Fully leveraging their global networks of cloud hosting data centres is the name of the game.