Game streaming has been around for years, but it will see a significant boom in 2020. Why are all these companies working to develop the best streaming service, and how will streaming change the gaming experience?
The First Year of True Game Streaming
2020 will be the first year in which game streaming is taken seriously. Sure, there are already some game streaming services on the market, like PlayStation Now and Shadow, but these services do not show what makes the game streaming so revolutionary, and they barely hold a candle to the services we use in the familiar next year.
The most discussed game streaming service is of course Google Stadia. It's an affordable open platform service that lets you stream 4K / 60fps games to even the dullest computers. However, Google is not the only company that deals with game streaming. In 2020, services such as Orion, Microsoft XCloud and Liquidsky will hit the market. Even Amazon and Walmart are interested in joining the market, and NVIDIA GEFORCE NOW (which has an open beta version of NVIDIA hardware for years) should reach the mass market.
Many companies see the potential of streaming games. But what about all the hype, rumor and speculation about game streaming services? Are you revolutionizing gaming in 2020?
Great Quality at a Fair Price
Although most streaming games have not yet released their streaming quality, Google was more than pleased to boast the quality of Stadia. With a reliable Internet connection (about 35 Mbps), you can stream games in 4 kbps at 60 fps with no noticeable latency. Of course, lower streaming resolutions lead to more consistent frame rates and lower latency, and most people with a 20Mbps connection should be able to stream 1
Somehow, companies like Google offer this magic for a reasonable price. Stadia starts with a free baseline plan and a pro plan for $ 10 a month. With the free basic plan, you can buy games at the regular retail price in the Stadia store and play them whenever you want. The baseline limits the resolution to 1080p / 60fps, but that's no big deal.
The Stadia Pro Plan, on the other hand, is only $ 10 a month. This is cheaper than the Netflix standard plan. This pro plan includes some free games, discounts and 4K streaming, but you still have to buy most of the games at the full retail price. And honestly, that's fine. With Stadia, you essentially have access to a game library without having to buy a console. One year of Stadia Pro is cheaper than an Xbox One, a PlayStation 4 or a Nintendo Switch. This is huge for anyone who does not want to spend a few hundred dollars on a new console.
It's important to know that Stadia Pro costs about half the price of PlayStation Now and Shadow, and we do not know how much people will have to pay for services like XCloud, NVIDIA GeForce Now or other 2020 streaming services. It can be assumed, however, that these services are offered in competition with Stadia at a reasonable price.
Everyone has streaming hardware.
The most exciting aspect of streaming games is openness. A service such as Stadia or XCloud runs games on a computer in a remote enterprise warehouse, but transfers them to your computer, phone, or game console. As a result, you can play AAA games with insufficiently powerful hardware and you do not have to buy a new console to get the latest gaming experience. Damn, you can even use Orion to play DOOM's 2016 version on your iPhone, or pause a game on your PC and restart it on your iPad.
In addition to the technical ability to play big games on crappy hardware, most games also have streaming services designed specifically for use on multiple platforms. Stadia and Orion are "agnostic" services that can be run on any device as long as the device manufacturer is open to the service. Anyone with a reliable Internet connection can play AAA games without investing in a gaming PC or game console.
Months of streaming games will be a bit limiting. Google's Stadia service only works on computers running the Chrome browser (including Chromebooks), Chromecast Ultra, and Pixel 3 phones (including 3 XL and 3a). Console manufacturers like Microsoft and Sony are not planning to open their third-party gaming streaming consoles. However, this could change over time.
There is also the possibility that some of these streaming services will not be enough for modern games. The PlayStation Now catalog consists of older PS1-PS3 generation games only. So if Sony wants to be competitive in this market, the Now service has to be extended to more modern titles. It looks like Stadia can host new games, but it's hard to say if some of these services will shoot at the same height or not. It's hard to tell just around the corner which service to sign up for. But whatever you do, do not try to fall into anything. Some of these services offer expensive "beta" modes that are strangely expensive for an unfinished product. And when we've learned something from gaming consoles, fold-away cell phones, and sophisticated tablets, early adopters tend to pay off for a below-average experience.
But hey, we will not stop you from pursuing your dreams. If you would like to access Stadia early, you can cancel the pre-order for the Stadia Founder's Edition worth $ 130. If you want to play DOOM on your iPhone, sign up for Bethesda's Orion testing program. And if you want to test Microsoft XCloud, you have to wait until October this year.
If you want streaming games now, you can always sign up for PlayStation Now or Shadow. However, keep in mind that you will not get the same game streaming experience that you will find next year at services like Stadia.