Places to find incredible online game experiences
Cloud gaming is a new development in the video game world, and some insiders are already hailing it as the gaming platform of the future. In essence, cloud gaming or "gaming on demand" leverages two types of technology to allow users to play games: video streaming and file streaming.
The video streaming cloud gaming model shares some similarities with on-demand video, in that the game content is not stored on the player's computer, but on an external server which the player accesses. As gameplay unfolds, the player's commands are sent to the server hosting service, which applies them. The game's responses to the player's input are then recorded and streamed back to the player to simulate play in real time.
With file streaming, you will actually host the game on your own computer, but you will be able to start playing before the game has completely downloaded. What happens is that your system will begin the download, and when you have reached a certain threshold -- typically around 5 to 10 percent of the total game size -- you begin playing. The game then continues downloading as you play it, using a connection to the cloud to ensure you don't experience any pauses, delays or lags.
Why Choose Gaming on Demand?
Cloud gaming offers several unique advantages over conventional PC gaming. The power and speed of the player's computer doesn't matter with video streaming cloud gaming, since all the processing needs are being met on the host's computer. This allows players to enjoy games that would normally be beyond the capabilities of their own computer. It also saves space on your hard drive and gives you faster access to a very wide range of titles.
Cloud Gaming Service Providers
Some of the leading names in gaming on demand include:
- G-cluster. Based in Finland, G-cluster was one of the first companies to get on the cloud gaming bandwagon. After developing proprietary technology, G-cluster first experimented with its service in 2005. After further refinements and beta testing, it launched its first commercial service in November of 2010. The company primarily targets users who already have their own gaming consoles, allowing them to play games using the console's Internet connection. However, it also supports a large library of titles for play on PCs.
- Gaikai. This is Sony's new cloud gaming service. Purchased by Sony in the summer of 2012 for nearly $400 million, Gaikai offers one of the best game-streaming services in the industry. Games can be played on users' PCs and consoles, through social media websites, and through a complete range of mobile devices. The company also plans to offer access to PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 games in the coming months.
- OnLive. Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X (version 10.5.8 and up) and Intel Macs, OnLive is one of the most versatile cloud gaming providers in the industry. The service has hundreds of available game titles and ongoing digital distribution deals with over 50 of the world's leading game publishers. OnLive was recently retooled and relaunched with an update range of technologies and service options.
- Kalydo. Online since 2008, Kalydo is one of the oldest cloud gaming companies and is among the leading names in file streaming cloud gaming technology. Kalydo enjoys robust subscription rates and offers users a great deal of choices. You can also take advantage of "first month free" and "low monthly payment" options to make your cloud gaming experience more affordable.
Look for this list to grow as cloud gaming technology improves in the coming years. Its possibilities are virtually limitless.