With the PlayStation 5 and XBOX Series X coming this Holiday season, the next generation of consoles will only continue to cement itself as one of the primary ways to play games. However, there’s a blossoming technological advancement in the world of gaming that deserves attention from players and console manufacturers alike. If or when it’s implemented properly, it’ll change the way we play forever. Let’s talk about Game Streaming services, and how they could kill game consoles as we know them.
A NOTION YEARS IN THE MAKING
Ever since the idea of “cloud gaming” hit the scene in the early teens, gaming companies have been tinkering with services that let players stream games over the internet on demand, rather than downloading and running those games on a dedicated device. It’s always been understood that the future of game streaming would be an immense advancement, as it eliminates many of the common gripes plaguing the video game experience at present. Ideally, game streaming services would allow for a seamless gaming experience, free from the anchors of physical purchase and digital download times; enabling a fast and smooth gaming experience henceforth only dreamed about. Recently, the consumer market has seen a lot of progress in that department, and with so many game streaming services appearing, now it’s just a matter of smoothing out the kinks.
BIG WHEELS KEEP ON TURNING
Originating with pioneer companies like OnLive(check the video below) and Gaikai, cloud gaming was quickly picked up by the big names in the industry, with Sony minting PlayStation Now in 2015 and companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, and even Amazon unveiling their takes on the game streaming service formula in the past few months. As they continue to develop their products, it won’t be long before streaming games is just as viable as the downloadable alternative.
The process isn’t without its hurdles, however. Since it launched its beta, Nvidia’s GeForce Now has encountered many issues with big-league developers like Bethesda, Rockstar, and Activision Blizzard all pulling out of the service as the result of several contract-related misunderstandings. Additionally, there has always been the issue of reliable and consistent streaming quality, something which will likely remain an issue until faster internet speeds become the norm.
All of this aside, it really does seem to be only a matter of time until game streaming services take their place on the stage; whether it’s as a lead role or just an extra remains to be seen.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
If game streaming services get their act together, what does that do to the value of a dedicated game console? Could this be the last generation of consoles full of expensive hardware, or will the industry’s big names still find a way to make them necessary?
As much as you may enjoy having a box that plays video games sitting on your shelf, it’s hard to say whether the majority of consumers think the same thing. If, during the lifespan of these next consoles (which could easily be 5-8 years), game streaming continues to improve at the same rate as the last few months, then this could mean gaming consoles are going the way of the DVD player.