Cloud Gaming’s Implications for the Video Game Industry

News of Google Stadia has been met with a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism. On one hand, there’s definitely appeal in the prospect of being able to play games on any device with access to Google Chrome without having to purchase a console. In addition, Google Stadia seems to be taking a step forward in terms of facilitating closer connections in the gaming community, allowing streamers and developers to share playable scenes with Stadia users and developing the Crowd Play feature for YouTubers to play games with their viewers, including those who don’t have the game themselves.

However, with the emergence of cloud gaming, different kinds of challenges arise:

  1. One issue that tends to be raised quite a lot is the concern about the internet connection required for streaming video games. Latency problems can be detrimental to playability and player experience, particularly for competitive multiplayer games that rely on precise timing of movements. That’s not to mention potential consumers without a high-speed internet connection in the first place, or those who have sporadic connection.
  2. Game preservation has also been a worry among the gaming community. In the case of traditional console gaming, the game is stored on a hard drive and the player can still pick it up at a later time even if the game is removed from sale. Cloud game requires the players to relinquish control of their gameplay history, as it is the cloud streaming platform that retains the code. In the case of Google Stadia, this raises the concern that if games are removed, users who have paid will no longer be able to play and complete the game. Though it is noted that Google responded to this question in June this year, saying they wouldn’t remove games no longer on sale from players’ Stadia libraries.
  3. As for the Crowd Play feature, little has been said about exactly how the queuing system will operate. How much control will content creators have to screen prospective viewers/players queuing to join their gameplay? Could YouTubers be in danger of internet trolls hijacking their livestreams and being disrupted by abuse in chat comments?

Overall, while cloud gaming has its perks, it also poses a number of additional challenges and implications for the future of gameplay and community engagement in the video game industry. It’ll be interesting to see how platforms like Google Stadia fare in the near future.

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