What’s Up With Cloud Gaming? Why It Hasn’t Exploded in Popularity Yet

Is cloud gaming the future of gaming? These setbacks could jeopardize its success.

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Cloud gaming is supposed to be the demise of consoles. Its affordability and accessibility make cloud gaming seem like a fantasy for any gamer.

Even though tech giants like Google, Nvidia, Microsoft, and PlayStation have all launched cloud gaming services, none of these platforms have knocked out console gaming.

While cloud gaming is still expected to overthrow console gaming eventually, that just doesn’t seem likely right now. It faces many setbacks that consoles can easily compensate for.

Poor Internet Connections Render Cloud Gaming Useless

Gaming used to depend solely on hardware—having the next-gen console and latest GPU was (and still is) important in getting the most out of gaming.

But as soon as gamers make the transition to cloud gaming, hardware no longer matters, which is both a blessing and a curse.

When you game on the cloud, your gaming experience depends on your internet connection. Google Stadia recommends an internet speed of least 35Mbps for 4K gameplay, while GeForce Now requires a minimum of 25Mbps for a resolution of 1080p.

If your device has a lousy connection to the platform’s server and tries to stream the game, you’re stuck with incredibly laggy gameplay. In this way, cloud gaming contradicts itself—a service that’s meant to be highly accessible is also very inaccessible at the same time.

Anyone with a bad internet connection at home can’t take advantage of cloud gaming, and the same goes for people who want to game on the go. How can you expect smooth gameplay when you try to connect to the cloud from a crowded airport?

Bandwidth Caps and Cloud Gaming Just Don’t Mix

Cloud gaming faces another major internet-related hurdle: bandwidth caps. When compared to streaming movies on Netflix, cloud gaming uses up a lot more data. 4K gameplay on the Stadia uses up about 20GB in an hour. You could just opt for 720p gameplay at only 4.5GB per hour, but who wants to play a fuzzy, low-quality version of your favorite game?

If you’re stuck with a basic internet plan, chances are, you’ll need to upgrade in order to accommodate the requirements for cloud gaming. Cloud gaming allows you to save money on hardware, but it certainly doesn’t save you money on your internet plan.

Cloud Gaming Doesn’t Appeal to Hardcore or Offline Gamers

Cloud gaming services, like GeForce Now, Project xCloud, and Google Stadia, allow you to play games on almost any device. This throws away the need for a high-end gaming PC and expensive consoles, which means you can access AAA games from your smartphone, low-end Chromebook, or even a tablet.

So, what’s wrong with saving some cash? With cloud gaming, there’s no need to upgrade your hardware. This money-saving aspect no doubt appeals to casual gamers, but it leaves avid gamers in the dust—and this is especially true if these avid gamers love single-player games.

There aren’t many hardcore gamers willing to abandon their current gaming setup to start gaming on the cloud. You can still use an amazing gaming rig to play games on the cloud, but when cloud gaming relies on internet connection rather than the pure power of your device, what’s the point?

Cloud gaming still has yet to appeal to serious gamers, as well as gamers who enjoy playing purely offline games. Asking these gamers to sacrifice their smooth-running gaming experience just doesn’t make sense.

Cloud Gaming Does Away With Game Ownership

In general, cloud gaming eliminates game ownership. When you subscribe to a service, you gain access to all of the games in the library, but none of them are technically yours.

That said, if a game suddenly gets pulled from the library, you’ll lose access to that title.

While you can purchase games to own on most cloud gaming platforms, you don’t actually download the game to your device. This means you can only play the game when accessing the cloud.

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Cloud Gaming Has a Ways to Go

Cloud gaming may become the norm in the future, but it won’t overtake consoles anytime soon. A slow internet connection is enough to put a damper on cloud gaming for tons of players.

If you don’t want to rely on an internet connection to get a quality gaming experience, you might want to try a download-based video game subscription service instead.

A wide selection of games is just one of the why Xbox Game Pass is worth it for PC and Xbox gamers.

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