The term “cloud gaming” refers to the practice of running video games on remote servers and streaming them directly to a user’s device, or more simply, playing a game remotely from “the cloud”.
The video game industry’s giants are heavily investing in this technology, and hardware maker NVIDIA is one of the leading gaming entities in the Cloud Gaming space with its outstanding GeForce Now service.
NVIDIA GeForce Now is a subscription service that allows players to enjoy their games without needing beefy PCs or other gaming devices while providing crips and high-quality visuals. The service lets you play the games that you already own on other platforms like Steam, Epic Games, GOG, and Ubisoft Play through the cloud, and eliminates the need for downloads and, updates.
Keeping up with Cloud Gaming’s fast-paced development can be difficult, hence Mobidictum decided to reach out to an expert on the matter, Nvidia’s Senior Product Manager Candice Mudrick, and asked her queries about Cloud Gaming’s today and future. Candice also talked about the relationship between Cloud Gaming and Metaverse, and how these two work together.
Cloud Gaming explained
Mobidictum’s Emre Can Kartal starts the interview with a simple question, “If you were to introduce Cloud Gaming to a game developer who has never heard of it, how would you describe it?
NVIDIA’s Cloud Gaming expert Mudrick gives a detailed, yet simple and easy-to-grasp answer:
“For a game developer, cloud gaming can expand the TAM of any game by making it available on a broader range of devices than it was originally designed for, with relative ease. GeForce NOW can stream the full PC version of a game to any device that doesn’t meet the typical minimum spec system requirements for RAM, HDD, GPU, or CPU, whether that’s on desktop, TV, or mobile.
“Cloud gaming also unlocks new user acquisition and marketing strategies. It can be used to let gamers instantly demo a game they may be interested in. Or, let’s imagine that you’ve decided to download a game off Steam – you can start to play the game even before the download finishes. In another example, it can provide easy access to a game’s prequel developed for a previous hardware generation, boosting awareness for the upcoming title.
Mudrick then explains how Cloud Gaming services like GeForce Now can improve both developers’ and gamers’ experiences alike.
“Developers can also use cloud gaming for other use cases. GeForce NOW Cloud Playtest is just one of several developer tools built on GFN infrastructure enabling developers to manage content on the GFN service, triage issues, and move more of their game development workflow into the cloud.
“Such tools allow developers to upload game patches, schedule deployments, and debug issues via access to a game seat in the cloud. GFN Cloud Playtest virtualizes all aspects of testing a pre-released game with a set of external players: game build distribution, scheduling, playing, and observing sessions are all performed via the cloud.
“Some cloud services like GeForce NOW also restrict user access to the server and game files, which creates barriers to several typical forms of cheats and hacks– common challenge developers face.“
The experienced marketer also talks about what she thinks lies at the core of Cloud Gaming.
“GPUs, latency-reducing innovations like Adaptive Vsync/NVIDIA Reflex, high-speed networking; 5G/6G, cloud & edge infrastructure, and network optimizers and accelerators are all essentials for Cloud Gaming and its future.”
Can Cloud Gaming replace PC and consoles in the future?
At this point, the same question that boggles the minds of many pops up in our brains too; if the future is all cloud gaming and whether building gaming rigs and investing in hardware is coming to an end. Emre Can becomes the voice of many and asks Candice, “Which technologies are essential to the future of Cloud Gaming?“
She responds with the following words:
“Many in our community have already made the switch to GFN as their primary gaming platform. GeForce NOW, especially the RTX 3080 membership offering streaming 1440p at 120 FPS, has reached the point where many gamers report no discernable difference from playing on native hardware.
“With a good internet connection, it can be an even better experience than some native hardware, like current-gen consoles connected to a TV – no downloads, patches, and hardware that’s updated on average every 2-3 years compared to once every 7 years.
“There’s still a belief out there among some gamers that cloud gaming can’t be competitive with native hardware, but Digital Foundry recently ran a latency test showing that the GeForce NOW RTX 3080 tier can even beat a native Xbox Series X. The streaming technology has come along at an astounding pace over the last few years.”
Mudrick, however, adds that Cloud Gaming’s goal isn’t to replace PC and consoles completely, and mentions that a big part of the community enjoys building gaming rigs. She also adds that some people (a considerable amount too) want the absolute best experience they can achieve and that can’t be offered by Cloud Gaming just yet. She says:
“This does not mean that it will completely replace PCs and consoles. There are competitive gamers who need the absolute best performance and PC enthusiasts who have developed a very significant bond with their hardware.
“For some, building their own gaming rigs and keyboards is even the most important part of gaming. In the coming years, cloud gaming is likely to continue its role as a parallel way of accessing games and be seen as an expansion of the ways one can play – on any device. The technology can even be integrated with current forms of gaming. For example, older consoles can use cloud gaming to be able to play the latest-gen titles.”
GeForce Now, Cloud Gaming and Metaverse
The Cloud Gaming expert talks about their recent collaborations with brands in and outside of the gaming space for metaverse-based projects and further explains how there’s no limit to what experiences can be achieved via the combined powers of Cloud and Metaverse.
“What we’ve done with GeForce NOW is build a global interactive content/graphics delivery platform – or, in other words, a metaverse access platform. GeForce NOW is optimized for gaming applications, which are among the most challenging interactive consumer applications to stream.
“Leveraging that expertise, there’s no limit to any additional type of applications or metaverse experiences that could be hosted on GeForce NOW’s infrastructure. For example, last year we streamed the interactive touch video short, Disney’s Baymax Dreams of Fred’s Glitch. More recently, we partnered with truck company DAF to deliver a virtual test drive experience via Euro Truck Simulator 2.“
She then introduces NVIDIA Omniverse, “the world’s first simulation and collaboration platform that is delivering the foundation of the metaverse”, and its benefits with the following comments:
“We’re also leveraging GeForce NOW for Omniverse. This year, NVIDIA announced Omniverse Cloud, a suite of cloud services for the Omniverse platform for 3D design collaboration and simulation. One of the Omniverse Cloud services is Nucleus Cloud, which features Omniverse View, an app for non-technical users to view Omniverse scenes streaming full simulation and rendering capabilities using the NVIDIA GeForce NOW platform.”
What awaits Cloud Gaming in the near future?
Emre Can addresses the elephant in the room then, and asks for Candice’s expert opinion on what the future will bring in Cloud Gaming’s way, and if it will become the main form of gaming. Candice gives a data-driven answer to our query.
“The future of cloud gaming is exciting! Newzoo forecasts that the cloud gaming market can reach $6.3 billion in global consumer spending by 2024.
“Cloud gaming can democratize access to games by freeing players from expensive hardware requirements, and we’ve seen incredible demand for it in countries like Brazil. We expect cloud gaming to continue growing its footprint around the world, and we look forward to adding partners and new data centers in the future.
“Never before have gamers had such extensive access to both a vast library of games they want to play and the hardware required to play them in just a few clicks (or taps). This ease of access will introduce GeForce gaming to the next billion gamers.”
To back up Candice’s data, another reliable data provider DFC Intelligence expects Cloud Gaming to reach over $13 billion in revenue by 2026.