Last week, Sony Computer Entertainment Executive Vice President Masayasu Ito expressed his thoughts on the PlayStation 5 console, if there is to be one:
"I think there will be a PS5. However, I don’t know what form it’ll have. It could be a physical console, or it could be in the cloud".
Well I'm glad to see that they're at least thinking about the idea. Lets see, gaming on the cloud? Sounds exciting doesn't it? Just think of the possibilities that it can cater. All we'll need is a controller in hand and a smooth connection to be able to play and stream fast enough and the main servers of the cloud-based ninth-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles will handle it all. If its going to happen at all, the consoles could be based on a subscription based model or they could just be bought virtually. Either way, the excitement doesn't die, it marches on.
Even if we are to implement something like this on such a big scale, it is definitely possible of course with the huge amount of data available today online and the enormous processing power we have in store but such a venture requires some very deep rooted approach where many things have to be taken into account as you're dealing with personal information here and the consequences of such a mishap can be grave. And this has ever been more important owing to recent DDoS hacker attacks on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
Practicality of Cloud Gaming on a Large Scale
The centralization of data and such comes with it's limitations and for me some of the important ones are listed below:
- Data on the cloud is available to use for users round the clock but what is not taken into account is the system's proneness to dis-functionality. No matter how advanced the technology is nowadays it is prone to regular upkeep in forms of technical issues. Even the best cloud service providers run into problems irrespective of the high standards of maintenance.
- Another major issue with cloud is the Security Issue where you'll be sharing your personal information online with other players. You will be surrendering all of your personal information to a third party which can be used for any kinds of purposes, be it just storing your data for customized preferences available to the user according to his/ her likes and dislikes.
- Storing Information online makes a company more lucrative for hackers and a greater risk to an attack. As you might very well be aware that anything on the internet is secure only to a certain degree, hence there is always a possibility of stealth of sensitive data.
- Although Cloud computing may look like a cheaper option to many in terms of its benefits and future room for improvement, i personally do not like the idea of investing tons of cash into an idea which will turn out to be more expensive at first than you'd expect.The costs of Cloud computing as of yet change on a daily basis and this does not look like a very stable option if it will continue into the future.
- The idea of next generation of consoles on the cloud may be more inflexible than expected. With many limitations placed on the type of data which can be used, makes for a very shaky ground to something someone pays for and calls his. Typically, users have been driven to value something of material and hence the acceptance of such a system might be very slow.
- Lack of Support is also a major issue on the cloud where the customer has to wait 48 plus hours for a response. Real-time maintenance of a cloud platform is very hard and not attainable at the current level of technology. The New York Times puts it this way: "The bottom line: If you need hand-holding or if you are not comfortable trying to find advice on user forums, the cloud probably is not ideal"
- Lastly, the biggest issue here is probably the infrastructure not being able to support this sort of a venture as of now. It might be possible to setup something as advanced as this in countries like the U.S., Canada or basically the well of nations, but in the third world countries, as of yet, such internet speeds and infrastructure maturity does not exist to support Cloud gaming. Even though the major markets for such products are the well off nations, still there is a lot of potential yet to be tapped even in the developing economies which can not be ignored for a possible future return.
The Benefits of Cloud Gaming
Cloud gaming, although risky (as explained above), comes with its own benefits and the benefits are as such that it is hard to figure out whether the benefits outweigh its limitations or whether the limitations over-shadow it's benefits. I'll let you decide. The benefits of gaming on the cloud are as follows:
- Firstly, this helps you achieve economies of scale. Economies of scale is an economics concept which deals with cost minimization through mass production where an inverse relationship exists meaning that per unit cost decreases as the production increases. So basically a venture like this may be very cost efficient in the long run which will help decrease costs but in the sort run, it requires major investment.
- A subscription based method implemented will have its own benefits including the availability of such luxuries at minimal upfront payments and increased productivity throughout the target market. And this also means increased profits for the parent companies who will be able to get a larger return so basically relating to cost in the long run, its a win-win situation.
- To a certain extent a globalized system will be advantageous in a cultural sense aswell where increased interaction with different cultures and nations will create better understanding, increasing tolerance for each other.
- A centralized system for such a venture will definitely increase the 'relevant' data collection available for analysis at low or minimal costs. Basically this will help companies produce more effective products/games in the future for specific target markets.
- The Games/Softwares will be available for a much larger part of the population and the issue of piracy can be resolved through a system such as Cloud Gaming. This will help companies decrease their product cost without dealing with revenue losses and in fact increasing them.
- A very important advantage for such a system is that new system changes will be available to everyone and this will ease the acceptance of new ideas and technology. This will increase increase flexibility with any major financial or personal stakes.
- Probably the best thing about the Cloud is its flexibility in the system as a whole. Where now you have limited resources available e.g. limited hard drive space or processing power, now you'll be using a subscription based system where you can easily increase the resources available to you by upgrading your package, resulting in an easy solution to your problems.
- The integration of Cloud Gaming will use less resources and provide for a much larger market as different time zones will have different activation/usage times. So now you'll be able to do as much work with less than half as much resources.
Like every new technology, Cloud gaming will have its own pros and cons. While the switch in technology can prove to be a great asset the the consumers and the company alike, it may prove to be quite damaging if it is not understood and implemented properly. Whether the console companies will implement such a technology in near future, only time will tell.
[socialpoll id=" 2241548"]