Cloud-based systems have been popping up everywhere online. Be it Google Docs, Microsoft’s OneDrive, it has slowly become a part of people’s everyday lives. With Nintendo’s announcement of their online subscription services that will have a library of classic games for you to download and PlayStation Now already out there, it won’t be too far-fetched to think that this could be the future of console gaming.
Whenever we talk of an overhaul of how a console should function what first comes to mind is how this benefits us as players or how this can become a detriment. Let’s try and break down the pros and cons of such a service.
With the advent of fiber connection starting to proliferate everywhere, having a cloud-based gaming console would actually be a good thing. Gone will be the days where you will have to wait for games to download those updates. All you’d have to do is log on and fire up your favorite game (considering the fact that your favorite game is already part of this library.) With a seamless connection to the cloud, you can easily access this game anytime anywhere so long as you log in to your account. This is like a Steam library only quicker.
Gone are the days where you’d have to worry about save files getting corrupted or deleted on your end. With cloud-based gaming, all of your save files can be remotely accessed anytime anywhere as well. You can probably make multiple copies of your saves as well.
With cloud-based gaming, you also don’t have to worry about a console being backwards-compatible. Any game can be loaded up into the cloud and once it’s where you can just play it right away. Maybe there needs to be an emulator incorporated for older versions to work but I think this is an easier solution than tweaking the console to allow it to play older titles via a physical disc.
You also don’t have to worry about having enough space to play a game since they will all be accessed through the cloud.
Now let’s talk about the cons. While it’s probably considered a first-world problem, collectors of the physical discs will be disappointed about this future. They will no longer have the joy of buying that physical disc from the store.
Another thing is while everyone may have probably connected to fiber, there are still some people out there who might not be even able to afford a connection at all. Sure it’s probably not a very strong argument about it but there are definitely some who would not want to spend money for a monthly connection.
We would also have to consider, how fast your connection really has to be to allow such a streaming service to be seamless and bug-free. It will probably take a 100mbps fiber connection for the game not to lag or anything.
A cloud-streaming service would also mean a monthly subscription to such a service. This adds more expenses for someone who probably could only afford the console itself. This would only really be viable if gaming is your life but for some people who also have real lives to go to, this could not be an ideal thing to have if you just want to game once in a while.
Personally, cloud-based gaming could be a future that we all wanted and desire. But considering the structure of how fiber is yet to be accessible to everyone and how this can be more costly than the current style of gaming these days. It doesn’t seem like a viable future for me. Maybe if this kind of style will open up other features like cross-platform, or that this will allow you to access your games in another device, perhaps this could be something we can all enjoy under one big cloud of games.
Until then, I much prefer buying my games the way they are. Good old-fashioned physical discs.