Cloud gaming also known as gaming on demand is a form of online gaming that runs on hardware of a server this can be of a multi national company such as PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox better known as play-station mobile for instance or GTA ONLINE .
Through this report we will look over the technical background, advantages, disadvantages, how it affect our society, cloud vs console gaming, job opportunities in the cloud vs console field.
Cloud computing is a new way of delivering high quality game to the user regardless of the place with the help of powerful servers games are streamed directly to the user who interact with the game using internet and software even on low spec CPU.
We will study cloud research from different aspects, cloud gaming platform and optimization techniques.
Cloud computing modernization have revolutionized gaming in the past decade from the old Nintendo. Cloud computing has made a difference in the gaming industry by providing innovations in technology to businesses and consumers alike.
better security, increased compatibility, better and higher availability and easier access, this is the best time from the last decade to game through cloud.
Also the gaming industry is booming emerging as well as growing at a rapid rates.cloud has powered Online streaming services from gaming, music, video and more. Cloud technology gives you access to the streaming power of a powerful remote computer that’s connected to the internet and stream it into your user computer at home. Therefore, gamers are now ready to experience gaming on powerful hardware that the typical gamer might not have access to.
Gaming is an industry that will only continue to grow. Currently, there are 2.5 billion gamers, that’s a third of the world population!
The most famous example of such technology is PlayStation and Xbox as well as online gaming on CPU.
To experience cloud gaming one must have certain number of components such as keyboard mouse, screen, and cpu to name some basic to better enhance the experience on can also use headphones, virtual augmented hardware, speakers, the controller (joysticks ) and most important a stable internet connection.
The mechanism that follows in the execution of such gaming is as follows :
The user (gamer) executes a certain command such as to move forward which is transmitted to the server through game logic which converts the command to in-game interaction.
The command is then received by the server and executed within the game on the server which is then transmitted to the users online stream. Which is made visible with the help of a video encoder and played on the user’s CPU.
One such example of such technology is the PlayStation network it is the most compatible example of such gaming using cloud technology.
For instance, PlayStation games are really exclusive as well as demand extremely high CPU as well as GPU (graphic processing unit) specification they require high hard drive space, high graphic card , high refresh rate to name a few.
Playstation has an application on ios as well as android smartphones known as ps-mobile which the user can download which doesn’t require massive hard disk space. Then the user can connect their PlayStation console to their mobile through the application in the mobile.
Next, the user have access to all the PlayStation game download on the console, now the user can also connect its joystick(dual shock controller) to its mobile and experience PlayStation games on its mobile without requiring such extreme CPU and GPU specifications anywhere in the world with a stable internet connection
Similarly, cloud gaming on servers to CPU works the same way however we are not required to buy such expensive servers or consoles in this case.
It is a revolutionary way of gaming
Cloud gaming demands huge infrastructure (servers)(data center) to ensure the services to work as intended. High speed internet availability is a requirement for the delivery of huge amounts of video content. Very large server farms are required in order to deliver game streams to many consumers all at once.
It also requires certain hardware components as well as sufficient internet connection to execute completely, the average speed before 2015 was 2-5 mbs while the game demand around 10-20 mbs on average after the introduction of 4G and better wifi fiber broadband the speed one has access to now range from 10-2000 which is an astronomical leap in bandwidth speed.
Game servers are significantly more powerful than the users hardware available, big companies like google and amazon can dedicate more resources than an individual user. As the server which the user is playing on the user can play with other players as they are playing on the is the same
This allows more cost efficient gaming.
Despite such sophisticated hardware they require software to receive and request information from the servers and user such as thin client , thick client and hybrid client
Through this technology of cloud computing games can even be played on a low level, lower GPU as well CPU backed system whether it’s a laptop, the phone even a smart tv anything with a reliable internet connection. This type of gaming supports instant access which removes the necessity to wait hours to either download the game or go to a faraway store to purchase the DVD, with this you can instantly purchase and start playing the game online without any hazel. This also provides the advantage of better security for the gameplay inside the game such as the level or checkpoints etc. in the last decade the nature of gameplay has changed dramatically they require more graphics as well as space which puts tremendous stress on the system also the system degrades in performance overtime which may cost thousands of dollars of the user to experience smooth gaming experience. Cloud servers are upgraded and serviced every 6 months which keeps them running up to date to the latest technology as well as smooth user interference. Cloud gaming also provides features in advance which may not be available at the moment to local users as well as beta or trial based software or updates which may give the feeling of exclusive content play.
Cloud gaming requires both a fast and stable internet connection. The speed of the internet required for smooth gaming is between 10-20 Mbps where as internet companies conducted a survey that suggested that an average house receives 18-19 Mbps of internet speed and only 20% and lass has availability of more than 30 Mbps speed. Now, this 18 Mbps speed that the user receives in the entire house is divided among all the family members which would give each 4-6 Mbps each which makes it difficult sometimes to stream the games without any lag.
High transfer of data of latency is important in cloud gaming, now this depends on various factors such as type of display, a distance of the user or receiver from the survey, controller, and input devices. The amount of time it takes from the input to be compressed and transferred to the server, the time it takes to process the information and send back the execution, and again rendered by the user CPU to display for user understanding.
Even a small delay of 100 mili-second can completely ruin the experience and cause lagging in the game better know as pixel tearing or hang of the device . Which provides a short margain for the provide content.
Although there is no technical limitations in the area of cloud gaming still console or traditional gaming hold the more dominant hand in the industry mainly due to as it’s a social symbol of only few can afford such console to play games that demand such high graphical as well as visual components. The better half can afford such consoles and only the top 20% the most elite graphic CPU with the most sophisticated gaming mechanism.
However many companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart as well as many console-based companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft (Xbox), Nvidia are introducing and promoting cloud-based technology for gaming mainly because it is more efficient, futuristic as well as and innovative and a leap forward to cloud technology.
One such and more recent work is by google which calls its program STUDIA which is also based on the technology of cloud gaming. Imagine Netflix which stream movies and tv series without the need for DVD or CD and of course who doesn’t love the Netflix exclusive. Similarly, STUDIA is Netflix for games, and just like Netflix we have to buy a subscription to access the library of games which according to Google will range from 9.99€ to 19.99€ , the standard would give access to limited games and the more expensive to high-end games which compared to PlayStation Network or Xbox live starts from 30€ .
Just like when one used to go outside and play which was considered beneficial for physical as well as mental health due to the fact it provided social interaction as well as cognitive exercises. Similarly, cloud computing will change the notion of social interaction as it is the future. It will offer social interaction as well as cognitive exercises in a different way. Unlike in the past, the user will have social interaction through a screen in a virtual reality where the interaction might be with another user’s avatar and the cognitive exercises that the user will experience will be the one graphic artist or game script writers see fit. This may or may not be advantageous however some believe that it would cause people to be dumb while others believe it would enhance their problem-solving skills . Only way to know for sure is its more diverse application in everyday lifestyle.
However industries will flourish, a tremendous rise in job opportunities will be created as gaming is an industry that has always been a fascination of almost all of the population with such a demand of such platform manpower will be required to maintain the server. To prevent or treat any future software glitches, to ensure smooth user experience which would for the working individual would be a character as well as managing development chance. Also to maintain such sophisticated technology one must require high-level of skill and education which would only cause more competition as a result more and more innovation may come forward.
In the modern times with current state of the art technology, design of cloud games, architecture still gives open issue in/with The design of such games is restricted by the technology used to run them. This is true in single-player as well as multiplayer in which the developers have to keep up with the spontaneous architecture with limited internet speed and limited storage. Unlike turn-based or we can say predetermined strategies by the developers online gaming requires real-time or spontaneous interaction. This is made sure by designing the game carefully, ensuring rapid communication, and sending necessary data only. Due to this reason online gaming use 2 things TCP (for persistent connections and absolutely needed data) and UDP (for fast, but unreliable, communication). For this reason cloud gaming requires stable internet connection and transmission. Cheating , hacking and online mods are something that developers have to cope with too. Cloud gaming also enables a user to purchase virtual products that can be used in the game which require micro-transactions which requires secure database as hackers pay perform identity theft or steal other financial information. Cloud servers enable millions of users to experience its services which requires the data holders (servers) to hold all of the information of the user and their character and their game data this also leads to greater server cost. Cloud servers also require high computational power.
Therefore taking into account all these requirements cloud gaming present some basic client-server architecture which depends upon the game type.
Amazon developed an online cloud base gaming infrastructure known as ELASTIC CLOUD COMPUTE (EC2) infrastructure. This allowed virtual cloud gaming interaction using amazons cloud. Unity3-D, MySQL , smart fox server, and java SDK were the software used in this study .
It was a simplified version of FPS that was bought to cloud using unity 3D video game development. The unity 3D enables the developers to develop an initial prototype of the game for testing . It also provides all the tools to develop video game to perform on different platform due to this developers can focus on designing/developing of the game which will be based from smart fox server documentation . The players interact in a 3-d arena in form of soldiers against the enemy (other online players ). The goal was to collect loot by killing an opponent’s avatar. Other advantages such as health and ammo packs were distributed throughout the game arena which raise the diversity of the game. This cloud game was made up of two parts the client and server.
The client is in the form of a browser which means the game can be run with any browser if the unity web plugin is installed this is the only software the user needs.
The server is hosted on other than user’s machine using smart fox server 2x framework (sfs2x) it is a complete solution for using video games on cloud . It provides C# and java API for unity 3D.
Users can use client to log in and create virtual rooms and interact with other players in the same . While the users play the server forms a model of tue game which gets the information from the user and stimulate the information and return the new information to the player. This type of architecture is dedicated server which is preferred by large companies and does not make any favors or allow cheating however requiring high maintenance cost . A new architecture was introduced after user feedback.
In this architecture, the user(player) enters into a specific/special/designated server in this case which is called load balancer. The load balance has the job of maintaining equilibrium/balancer between the number of games run simultaneously on the server to cope with the user game demand . It also receive user connect and redirect it to the cloud game server. It is also in demand to either open or close the server using amazon web service java SDK. Load balancing service is provided by my server supervisor as in the case of amazon elastic load balancing service.
Both the load balance and game server are hosted by amazon EC2 with a smart fox server running them, also all instances have sfs2x and http which is open to the public . The load balancer also provides access to the MySQL database. This is used as a for security by the EC2 amazon server. However games run with java extension which provides information in MySQL database which is dependent on load balancer to run.
The user, in the beginning, connects with LB (load balancing) server. The IP OF LB (load balancing) servers is known by the user. The client is then logged in with the user interface in the load balancing server which go through the user load on each gaming server through MYSQL. It then picks a server according to the following logic :
From the total running cloud gaming servers, more than M users are not considered where M is the maximum number of users that the server can cope with or sustain smoothly with only a small delay of dt mili second. After this in this phase the servers which have no users are then marked to be removed the remaining servers (n) are given value of Wi for an individual server I = 1….n . The candidate value is somewhat based on the number of users on the server which is then offset to avoid over crowding of the server. Finally, all the servers which are marked to he removed except one to prevent wastage of power are removed except one even if no user is on the server to ensure one whole free service is available at any instance.
In case no server is available for the M USERS THE LB (load balancing) will create a new cloud gaming server . After the compatible (least loaded) server is found its IP address is shared with the user. Which automatically does all the connection , logging in as well as starting the game.
The amazon infrastructure was able to provide the required cloud server for cloud gaming. They can increase the number of servers for better efficiency of the gaming experience, they also avoid spending money on ideal server during less number of clients connected. With integrated architecture they were able to create whole game with no cost with free license . To conclude cloud gaming can be useful for developers putting the difficult work in maintaining server in hands of others. The expenses of running cloud games is say less than the dedicated machine used otherwise . A lot of work is still needed to be done as it’s fairly an emerging technology.
To conclude cloud gaming is fairly a new technology despite its application in some platform in the modern world it is still years behind to overcome the traditional gaming as the default mode of gaming. Cloud technology has tremendous benefits in terms of gaming , to our society, job prospects and overall productivity it still lacks some basic parameters to put into play. Numerous organizations have run trials of such technology and have been successful to provide though not at the same cost, comfort and user efficient way. Cloud gaming is still available to user who can afford it however not to the average consumer . To this, we can say that cloud gaming is the more efficient platform just not with the resources and technology available to this time/era .