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People Said Cloud Gaming is Dead. We Went to Check its Pulse And the Results Are Surprising

What is the future of cloud gaming?
Is Cloud Gaming Dead
Image by Ryland Dean/Unsplash

Cloud gaming has been in the gaming news for quite a few years now and the prognosis for it has been both great and grim, depending on who you ask. Even though some have predicted that it will soon die out, it seems that the reality is far from the truth. Although the most well-known cloud gaming platform, Google’s Stadia, was shut down there are some that are thriving and becoming more popular as we speak.

Since I currently don’t have a console or a gaming PC that would be able to run AAA titles, I decided to try out some of these platforms and find out what you can and can not play with cloud gaming services. And I must admit that the impressions I got aren’t the ones that I expected to have.

Related: Top 5 Best Games Available on Xbox Cloud Gaming

What Does the Cloud Gaming Look Like in 2023?

After a few bumps in the road for cloud gaming, in 2023 it still looks promising with some of the biggest names being GeForce Now, Boosteroid, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Amazon Luna. Most of these services cost from $10 to $20 a month with some newly designed services like Shadow emerging bringing new offers of online renting of a whole PC for $32.99 and up.

If you haven’t had a chance to try them out before, cloud gaming platforms allow you to play games that you own on any device (PC, tablet, smartphone) as long as your internet connection is in the range of 15-20Mbps or higher, with 40ms latency or lower. All you have to do is subscribe to the service you like, log in to the gaming platform your game is on (Steam, Epic, etc.), and start playing.

It sounds too good to be true right? Well, that’s because in a way it is. As I discovered through personal experience there are certain pros and cons to this new sphere of gaming.

What are the Pros and Cons of Cloud Gaming?

As I mentioned even though cloud gaming can look great on paper there are some cons to it as well. And I believe this is the main separation point for most gamers, as not everyone has the same gaming needs. That’s why I decided to brake this story down with pros and cons so everyone can decide for themselves if this kind of gaming will suit them.

Pros of Cloud Gaming

Playing games through streaming platforms offers you an opportunity to try some of the latest AAA titles even though you don’t have a PS5, Xbox X, or a $2000 gaming setup and that’s a terrific opportunity right off the bat. Single-player games run smoothly and I could bet that if I was to put most of my friends in front of a monitor where cloud gaming is being used, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

For example, I played the campaign of Red Dead Redemption 2 on the platform Boosteroid and got some amazing results. As you can see below, the game has almost a steady 60 fps in benchmark testing, and the graphics settings that were set by default are almost all set on High or Ultra.

The video memory used was 5526MB out of 12287MB with me having Firefox open with multiple windows, which is generally not recommended by cloud gaming platforms.

Screenshot by Gamer Journalist
Screenshot by Gamer Journalist

During 20+ hours of playing RDR2 via cloud gaming, I had only a couple of hiccups which lasted for a second or two. I can’t honestly blame cloud gaming when I know that in the past I’ve had similar (and much bigger) issues while playing fully supported games on my own hardware.

The game ran smoothly on both Wi-fi and Ethernet. My Wi-fi speeds are 120Mbps download and 20Mbps upload, and when connected via Ethernet cable it’s around 170Mbps download and 30Mbps upload. If you want to be extra safe, always connect your computer with an Ethernet cable as it not only provides a better speed but a more stable connection as well.

Cons of Cloud Gaming

You probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned multiplayer in my Pros of Cloud gaming segment and there’s a reason for that. Even though multiplayer runs fairly decent most of the time as well, I did experience some annoying lags in the most crucial moments.

I tried playing Enlisted which I love very much. I mostly play snipers in that game and more than a few clutch moments in the game were ruined because of a small lag that made me miss my target. A similar thing happened when I tried out Warcraft III Reforged so I can conclude that cloud gaming still needs to perfect some elements before it can be offered to people who play fast-paced shooters and require an ideal FPS rating with no lag.

It could probably be argued that if you play slow-paced or even turn-based multiplayer games, you could still benefit from cloud gaming as you don’t depend on those fast reactions.

Additionally, I noticed that when your connection becomes bad during some games, your graphics drop instead of you being disconnected or laggy. This allows you to continue playing and even pause if you have to and means that cloud gaming services prioritize keeping you connected over the image quality.

Another thing worth mentioning when it comes to the cons of cloud gaming is that not all games that exist can be played on these platforms. Similar to popular movie and tv-show streaming platforms which struggle to get popular shows on their app, cloud gaming platforms are trying to get as many game titles under their banner as they can.

One of the biggest setbacks until recently was the decision from Activision Blizzard to ban the streaming of its games on any cloud gaming platform. Doing so would result in a permanent ban on your account. However, even though this restriction is still in their EULA, there seems to be a turning of the tide.

In the recent legal case regarding the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, the European Commission requested that Blizzard allows its games to be played on cloud gaming platforms. Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft confirmed that on his Twitter profile.

Who is Cloud Gaming For?

When all is said and done, who is cloud gaming for anyway? As you could see, some games benefit from it, while others don’t. But can we really expect this form of gaming to get a bigger share of the market? I would argue that it certainly will.

I got my answer just by looking at my own example. I’m a 30-year-old gamer and a journalist and not that kid that used to grind video games all day. Nevertheless, I still enjoy an occasional relaxing gaming session and like to try out some of the most popular titles that come out as well as some niche games like puzzle adventures.

This makes me feel reluctant to buy a console or a gaming PC since I already know that I won’t be using them that much. So, something like cloud gaming is an ideal solution for me. Moreover, I know that tons of my gamer friends my age feel the same way and that if they were to return to gaming, something like cloud gaming would have the best chance of attracting their attention.

An Affordable Option

Lastly, we should state the obvious – cloud gaming is pretty affordable. With prices of just $10 a month and this removal of Activision Blizzard’s ban on cloud gaming, you could literally play Diablo IV for $80 right now on any device (the game’s price for the US is $69.99). If we were to tell this to a gamer back in 2012 when Diablo III came out, they would laugh at the idea.

Sure, cloud gaming might not become the next best thing in gaming but it doesn’t have to be. It’s enough that it’s good enough and that it can provide great fun to people not being able to buy themselves expensive gaming equipment. It has the potential to democratize gaming, spread the love for video games, and widen the audience as the “entry fee” for it is now significantly lower.

We hope you learned something new about cloud gaming today! If you liked this article, we recommend you check out more of our features like How Dota 2 Bot Walked So OpenAI’s ChatGPT Could Run and Dragonflight Proves World of Warcraft Needs a Sequel, Not an Expansion. Follow us on Facebook to get more exciting guides and news from the gaming industry every day.

About the author

Đorđe Ivanović

Đorđe Ivanović (Djordje Ivanovic) has been a staff writer at Game Journalist since late 2022. He has a BA in Journalism and five years of professional writing experience behind him, with a recent personal focus on gaming and technology niches. His GJ coverage includes Path of Exile, Ragnarok Origin, and Blizzard hit games like Diablo, WoW, and Overwatch alongside other live service games.
In his free time, you will find this adamant fan of Dota solving some sort of puzzle games, and getting familiar with board gaming.

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