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Thursday | October 22, 2020
Why has Game-Streaming not Taken Off?

Why has Game-Streaming not Taken Off?

As Apple seemingly prepares to throw its hat into the arena, game streaming is finally becoming viable on the mass market. Still marred by potential technical issues, however, this arm of the industry has its work cut out for it. Taking a look at these issues, as well as the market’s current state, we want to investigate why this industry continues to underperform, despite its lofty promises.

Technical Limitations

While problems related to bandwidth might rapidly be falling by the wayside, the other core concern with game-streaming, latency, is not so easy to address. For most fast-paced action-centric titles, players start to feel disconnected with a game once a threshold of around 50ms is passed. Beyond this point, control feels sluggish, lowering accuracy in commands and harming the overall experience.

This one concept lies as the heart of what holds game-streaming back. Unless you can operate at lower than this 50ms mark, many games simply aren’t going to compare to their counterparts on other systems. Achieving this will tie mostly into ping, and how closely you are physically located to a game-streaming server. If your ping is under 50ms, that’s great, but it’s also only the start.

As WhatSetup explains, there is much more to latency than just ping. Also of major importance is display lag, which on standard TVs can reach upwards of 30ms. In these instances, a player would need to be running on a ping of under 20ms before the additions of display lag for a smooth experience. This is unlikely to occur in real-life circumstances.

 

 

A Reason to Switch?

As the history of tech shows, creating wide-spread appeal is often as simple as developing one solid hit. The original iPhone is a strong illustration of this, where, despite doing nothing new, the device almost singlehandedly popularized the smartphone market. Game-streaming hasn’t had that yet, where all they could need is one great reason to make people switch.

Attempts at creating this level of buzz can be seen in Stadia and their free trial offer which they opened in early April 2020. Undoubtedly taking the idea from free trial media services like Netflix, this idea from Stadia wasn’t bad, though their execution was flawed. Free trials are nice, but as Stadia requires users to additionally purchase most games on their platform to play, the trial’s scope was limited.

Perhaps a better idea would have been to integrate concepts as popularised by other forms of interactive entertainment like online casinos. The websites listed on CasinoWings, for example, implement initial bonuses like free spins and deposit matches to give visitors a more welcome start over a wide range of games. Since Stadia already has complaints with their game library, showing this form of flexibility to newcomers might serve to better ingratiate their platform.

 

A Fit for Some

No matter how much the internet develops, there’s no arguing over physics. For this reason alone, it’s unlikely that action-games will ever see much of a welcome home on game-streaming services. That doesn’t mean the platforms are dead, however, as it still leaves thousands of titles in other genres which could play perfectly.

Given their lack of early progress on their current routes, it might have been best that game-streaming services leaned into this genre disparity. Instead of ignoring practically insurmountable problems, these services could acknowledge them and instead focus on their strengths. It’s not that there’s no place for what streaming has to offer, it’s that by setting too broad a scope, these services might have missed the forest for the trees. Whether they’ll learn from these mistakes or continue down this road, only time will tell.

About Author

Brian Joyce

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