Streaming entertainment has been a common practice for music, T.V., and movie content for a while now. It was only a matter of time before video games were added to the mix. Now, amidst the incredible growth of gaming popularity, and advancement of virtual reality, video game streaming seems to be the next industry wide race.
In recent news, video game streaming services have emerged with mention to several big name companies including Amazon and Verizon. It looks as though the list of top video game streaming sites is about to expand.
In this article, we’ll discuss video game streaming, streaming services that are currently available, and new services that are about to change the way people play video games.
What is Video Game Streaming?
A Simple Description and a Well-Known Example of Streaming
Streaming is simply transmitting digital content from a source to a user via an internet connection. Hence, video game streaming is the process by which a user plays video games that are transmitted by an online source, without having to download and install the game to the user’s gaming device.
Why would anyone choose to game this way?
- It saves valuable memory space on your gaming device because, although, technically, the game is temporarily downloaded during play, it is automatically deleted from the device upon end of play (saving your progress all the while).
- It enables a user to switch devices and pick up right where they left off.
Popular example of such usage… Netflix.
Think of a movie, for example, that you started on your T.V., then continued on your computer or mobile device. That’s possible by way of streaming. The movie isn’t “on” your T.V. It’s provided and transmitted by a streaming service that thereby allows you to switch devices and continue from the point you changed over.
Let’s look at a couple of examples in the gaming world…
How To Stream Your Favorite PlayStation Games
PlayStation Now is a service that’s been around since 2014. It’s Sony’s subscription based cloud service that provides a library of games for PS2, PS3, and PS4. It’s the only way for PS4 users to play the older generation games, as the PS4 is not a backward compatible device.
For more information on the PS4, see this article: Play PS3 Games with PS4?
With a paid subscription, you gain unlimited streaming access to PlayStation’s cloud library of games which currently holds over 700 titles. Users also have the option to download some (compatible PS2 and PS4) games.
Don’t own a PS4, but want to play some PlayStation titles?
You can also enjoy PlayStation Now on PC with a DualShock, or XInput-compatible, controller.
However, this service is limited to the PS4 console or a PC, and is for use only with PlayStation games.
Still Looking for Beta Testers
GeForce NOW has been under development for years and you can still join for free during the beta period.
Just visit NVIDIA’s website and request access. (not sure how much longer this will be an option)
With any Mac or PC, supposedly even those that are underpowered, you can stream PC titles in high performance. There are over 400 supported games, including a lot of popular titles such as Fortnite and PUBG. You can play titles you own, titles you purchase, or titles from digital sources such as Steam.
So if you have a PC, Mac, laptop, or SHIELD TV, you can experience the “ultra streaming mode” with the GeForce NOW cloud service.
How Is Streaming About To Change?
Streaming Is About To Broaden Its Horizon By Infinite Miles
While prior streaming abilities have offered increased, yet limited, potential to gamers, the race is on to deliver a cloud service for gamers that will provide play of any game, at any time, from any smart device for one subscription fee.
Naturally, the big names who have already made mention of introducing such a service are those who already exist in the cloud; companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.
Let’s take a look at some of the info that’s been released.
We’ll start with a couple of Official trailers:
Microsoft Project xCloud
Google Project Stream
Electronic Arts Project Atlas
EA has quite possibly introduced the most ambitious of streaming services.
It’s vision of future cloud gaming is a large one, touting the “most optimized development platform” for “seamless convergence” and the “lowest latency possible.”
Though little information has been released by EA, it’s been said that they have a team of over 1000 people working on the Atlas project, and have promised to deliver big things when this service rolls out… with no indication just yet as to when that may be.
It should be of no surprise that Amazon has been working on a game streaming service. Is there anything that Amazon doesn’t do?
Amazon already owns the very popular streaming website Twitch. Though Twitch has been around for about 8 years, it has grown widely popular since Amazon’s acquisition in 2014, and with streamers such as “Ninja” providing gameplay on titles such as “Fortnite.”
Millions of viewers tune in every month to watch livestream action of not only video games, but also sports, music and other creative content.
So what are the genius minds of Amazon working on now?
They are working on providing a service that will offer subscription based cloud gaming, of course. Do you think that will be included in the Prime membership?
Rumor has it that Verizon has also been working (under the radar) on its own cloud based gaming service.
Just do a Google search for ‘Verizon Gaming’ and you’ll find articles and pictures of a test that’s apparently been quietly running behind the scenes. More information may be provided by the giant in February.
As for accessibility, I think its safe to say that this would be a convenient ‘add-on’ service for current Verizon customers, as Verizon already offers various packages for mobile talk, text, and data with the ability to stream tv, movies and sports.
Be aware, though, that this news seems to be in the early stages, with no realistic expected time frame for any available service.
What’s the Advantage of Increased Streaming Services?
- Greater gaming mobility.
- The ability to play any game, at any time, on any smart device.
And with all of these companies racing to deliver their version of service, competition will be fierce.
The Obvious Disadvantage?
Having to rely on network performance.
Geographically, network availability and speed varies greatly. Will there ever be a day when we don’t face the currently inevitable random loss of connection?
Freedom of game selection, without limitation of brand specific titles, and play mobility are a gamer’s dream. But are we able to rely on a cloud based service?
Will users be able to play without connection interruptions and failures?
What Does This Mean For Gaming Consoles?
Well, in all likeliness, at some point the consoles, such as Xbox and PS4 will fade out.
Don’t expect that anytime soon, though. Most people still can’t even get truly reliable mobile phone service. I don’t think we’re ready to go totally hardware free with our favorite games.
There’s a lot of work ahead for all of these companies to provide the quality of service that we’d expect!
What is the best Virtual Reality System? Oculus VR and HTC are both releasing new headsets this year. How do you choose the right system?
Why Oculus VR is the Leader of Virtual Reality Gaming This article will take you through the history of Oculus VR, and explain why they continue to be the industry leader in virtual reality gaming.
We want to know …
Do you use a game streaming service such as PlayStation Now? Share your experience below!
What do you think about the expansion of streaming services to provide multi-player / multi-platform gaming, without the game consoles?
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