Streaming is the future, as long as your connection doesn’t suck.


Every now and then something develops further in the realm of responsive video streaming. This in turn means it’s closer to the possibility of having more accessible streamed games, meaning all the heavy duty hardware is on the server’s side and the person playing only needs a basic gateway that can show video and take some kind of input. That, and a good connection online. I feel that in itself will be a major stumbling block the way things have been going.

The connections that make this possible do exist, they’re just not out there as much yet, and the telecoms seem reluctant to roll it out quickly enough to stay ahead of the development of technology. Either that or it’s somehow not physically possible, but in any case, major cities will be prioritized. Getting rural areas the speed that average cities currently have may be another decade or several, and that’s if they even want to make use of online. It’s perfectly fine to not use it, but the idea is to have the option.

It’s not just the speed, though, many ISPs make use of bandwidth caps, which should have been on the way out by now but it’s just another way to extort so it’s sticking around for longer. I’m currently stuck with one of those, where I have pretty good speed but need to not watch everything at high resolution all the time if I want to accomplish other things, such as downloading game patches. Modern AAA games have become massive in filesize, and between the possibility of downloading all necessary files or just streaming it anywhere between 720p and 4K, that can use a considerable amount of bandwidth.

Playing for a while on 720p versus downloading 4K-capable textures and assets that a 720p-based machine won’t be making the most of, the streaming may actually use less. Given the number of streams I watch online and how long those can go, that is a fair number of hours, and a lot of games can fit comfortably in 10-20 hours. I’ve watched entire games be played, so that in itself is possible, but going past 720p just multiplies the bandwidth used. Either way, it’s still an argument against the data caps.

That’s just one issue regarding switching over to stream-exclusive games, the connection itself. I didn’t even start on things such as lack of ownership, the overall cost per usage potentially being higher for more casual players that aren’t playing all day, games going in and out of availability, and so on. I’m pretty much describing my feelings about Netflix, because this would essentially be Netflix for games. Like how Gamefly is or was or attempted to be at some point possibly. There are benefits, but those just tend to come with consequences. A lot has to be considered when coming up with new technology, and apparently everyone’s still figuring out the whole online thing itself, such as how much to spy or not in order to target ads which might be propaganda in an unexpected form that’s actually obvious if looked at closely.