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Cloud-based gaming takes off in 5G era
New Delhi, March 31 - With the onset of 5G, Cloud-based gaming that eliminates the need to invest in expensive hardware is set to gather momentum at a time when the gaming industry is witnessing an upward curve globally including in India.
Cloud-based games like "Assassin's Creed", "Call of Duty", "Counter Strike", "PUBG" and "Fortnite" are very popular, contributing to a turnover of $135 billion globally and over $890 million in India last year.
Stepping into the gaming arena, Google this month introduced its own Cloud gaming service called "Stadia" that aims to help developers create games with "nearly unlimited resources" without being dependent on hardware and computing.
The platform is essentially a Cloud-based infrastructure where game developers would be able to design and write games to run directly on the Internet giant's hardware at data centres.
The tech giant believes that game developers will no longer be limited to computing and will be able to create games with "nearly unlimited resources".
Google will also launch a game controller to use with its service, called the "Stadia controller".
"We are currently witnessing how over-the-top (OTT) content is impacting our traditional entertainment and television and as the Cloud-based game streaming services catch-up globally as well as in India, the same will happen to gaming as well," Thomas George, Senior Vice President (SVP), Head at CyberMedia Research (CMR) told IANS.
Primarily based on video or file streaming, Cloud-gaming only requires high-speed Internet connection to turn any screen into a gaming arena to provide gamers frictionless experience on all devices, including smartphones.
However, the transition from hardware-dominated gaming habits to advanced Cloud gaming still requires more time, advanced game-oriented technology on smartphones as well as uninterrupted high-speed Internet to mature as expected, say experts.
"The temporary challenges while transitioning are going to be around making all the popular games available on the game streaming services, coupled with network speed and connectivity," said Thomas said.
"However, upcoming technologies like Extended Reality (XR) which will ride on 5G connectivity will accelerate the trend of Cloud-based mobile gaming in the next three to four years," he added.
A recent "State of Online Gaming" research by content delivery network (CDN) service provider Limelight Networks noted that game enthusiasts not only enjoy participating in digital gaming, but watching other players has also become a popular trend.
Mobile phones have emerged as the most common device used for games globally and players choosing to download games on their smartphones has become the most preferred way of accessing games.
"As more people continue to join the digital bandwagon, the need to transfer data processing to the cloud will become an industry imperative," said Jaheer Abbas, Senior Regional Director, South East Asia and India, Limelight Network.
Realising the potential of the Cloud-based gaming, social networking giants including Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and WeChat have begun dedicating in-app spaces only to games in an attempt to increase user-engagement on their platforms.
Apple this month its first game subscription service called "Apple Arcade" which has been promised to feature over 100 new and exclusive games as part of a new tab on the App Store across iOS devices.
Experts say that Cloud-based games and game streaming services like Google Stadia and Apple Arcade - along with in-app games on social networking platforms - would make gaming accessible to a wider set of audience, eliminating the trend of brands merchandising gaming with dedicated devices.
(Radhika Parashar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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