In the last 20 years, video games have gone from kid's toy to a widespread entertainment platform. Business 2 Community reported as of January 2014, over 50 percent of Americans play video games and most gamers are adults. Gaming is a major industry and one that is directly tied to advancing technology. Recent game developers have turned to the cloud to meet the needs of their players.
Advantages of the cloud
It has been a long time since video games were confined to arcades. As gaming becomes more and more popular devices needed to play them have become smaller and smaller, going from furniture-sized arcade machines to consoles and hand-held devices. Cloud options look to eliminate the need for gaming specific hardware altogether. With a streaming cloud gaming service the customer can play the game on his or her home computer, mobile device or smart TV. This will eliminate the need to replace a gaming console every two years as technology improves. Gamers would not need cartridges or discs, they could keep purchases through an online library and browse new games instantly; similar to how movie and TV streaming services work.
One of the greatest success stories is Steam. The Valve corporation developed the Steam gaming service back in 2003. Steam uses online streaming to make games available to players and cloud computing to save gamer's progress. Recently, Gamespot announced Valve had broken the record for concurrent gamers playing online with 9 million. Steam has over a 100 million overall users.
What went wrong with OnLive
OnLive was at the forefront of the cloud-based gaming service but just announced it will be shutting down services. As stated in a VentureBeat article, OnLive filed for bankruptcy back in 2012. The article suggested OnLive was a good idea that arrived too soon. Gamers weren't ready for a total paradigm shift. Another problem OnLive faced is that it did not offer the most popular games players and their friends were excited about.
OnLive is not completely dead, however. The company has been sold to Sony and its technology will be featured by the Playstation gaming system. Sony plans to introduce new games through the cloud and give players a chance to experience new and old Playstation games with the ease and convenience cloud computing software provides. Other platforms, such as Xbox, have started to integrate cloud technology. Major gaming systems offering cloud-based solutions to typical gamer problems while offering the hottest titles is a trend that has many industry experts and fans excited.
The future of independent game designers
When OnLive announced it would be ending service, OnLive customer Larry Gadea posted a step-by-step blog about how anyone can create a gaming cloud service. Digital Trends featured Gadea's story in a recent article about how new technology makes it possible for gamers to create their own systems. Wired published a similar articled about how the processing power provided by the cloud allows designers to create their own virtual world. Cloud computing is not only a tool that big industry games can use, it gives independent game designers a chance to break into the market as well.