Cloud Gaming Likely Replacing Traditional Consoles; Is It Viable?

Cloud gaming is like a supplement that wholly improves on the gaming sphere, but is it an option that could replace traditional consoles altogether? 

Cloud gaming has played a prominent role in improving the state of the gaming industry by providing an alternative to escape the complex architectural limitations. PlayStation 3 games would have been lost to time without the cloud technology, for instance, and Nintendo Switch owners would have fewer options.

Cloud gaming is a powerful tool that is in the early stages and remains to be fully explored. The traditional console blueprint includes purchasing a game to own it to have unlimited access. Subscription services did change it up, but that was eventually integrated successfully without a significant backlash.

Services like the Xbox Game Pass are highly sought after as well. Cloud gaming in the future could threaten that consonance and entirely alter the console gaming system. Players have been wary of changes historically, mainly for the right causes. Regardless, the topic this time is not to prove whether cloud gaming is a protagonist or an antagonist.

Both the goliaths of the gaming industry, Sony and Microsoft, have focused on innovations in hardware improvements. Newer generations have seen massive advancements to prior ones. However, a question originates while discussing cloud technology; is current cloud technology viable enough to wholly replace the traditional console structure that generational changes focus on?

In other words, would newer console generations solely concentrate on improving consoles in the hardware department, or would cloud technology become the main focus eventually? These questions are a never-ending series of labyrinths that can be curbed by exploring the future possibilities that cloud technology holds. Moreover, diving into Microsoft and Sony’s potential plans for forthcoming generations will also help us understand the future of console gaming and cloud technology.

What Is Cloud Gaming?

Cloud gaming is still an unknown concept for a part of the gaming community. It allows you to play hardware-extensive games without worrying about specifications. Powerful servers handle the hardware requirements for you, but a good internet connection is required for a seamless experience.

Cloud gaming enables you to stream games right to your device, from your low-end PC to your smartphone. Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia are among the best examples of cloud gaming. It has been a relative success, with over 10 million people having streamed on Xbox Cloud Gaming already.

Cloud Gaming
An official Microsoft mock-up from gamescom 2021 of how cloud-compatible titles can be found on the Xbox Series X|S console UI. | Source: Microsoft

Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, there are a plethora of hues to the colors of cloud technology. You need a good internet connection for seamless streaming. You generally ought to pledge to a premium subscription service to use it.

The biggest hurdle is that technology is hardly available outside of first-world countries. The sense of owning a game is also gone, which many find hard to accept psychologically. Players worldwide cannot access cloud gaming features besides the chosen places, making it very limited.

Will Cloud Gaming Put An End To Traditional Consoles?

Cloud gaming is quite an unexplored territory even after many triumphs already. The truth is that the technology right now is not potent enough to replace the traditional gaming systems. At least, that is what’s assumed, but could Microsoft and Sony secretly plan to invest more in cloud gaming for future generations? 

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S have sold like hotcakes and allowed us to experience the allure of the next generation by integrating the realistic graphics seamlessly without any limitations. Gone are the days when developers had to limit their imaginations due to hardware constraints.

Horizon Forbidden West is a perfect example of almost life-like graphics running smoothly on next-generation consoles. However, not everyone has upgraded to the next generation due to cloud gaming. The advent of next-generation began amid the COVID-19 pandemic that was rampant at the time.

The consoles, primarily the Playstation 5, saw massive shortages in stock in various parts of the world. Most players could not access next-generation consoles, so they chose the alternative. Xbox One and Playstation 4 integrate cloud gaming technology if you are subscribed to the subscription services.

So, players used the innovative technology to play the latest next-generation titles without having to worry about switching. Some still express no need to upgrade due to cloud gaming being a viable option for them. The shortages exempted a need to retaliate when an alternative was available. Current iterations in console generations include massive improvements in hardware and system, but that could change instead with more focus on advances within cloud technology.

Should Players Be Concerned?

Does all this mean cloud gaming is already beginning to take over consoles? We don’t have to worry about it for a couple of generations, at least. Two weeks ago, job listings for the SOC Verification Engineer position at AMD suggested that new iterations/generations of Xbox and PlayStation consoles are already in development.

Next-generation AMD SoCs (system-on-chip) are already being brewed, which could either be for future models of this generation or next-generation ones entirely. Furthermore, the job listing hints at the traditional approach to consoles with a focus on chip improvement.

As it stands, cloud gaming is incredible when used as a supplement, but it is not ready to replace traditional consoles and has a long way to go. Not to say that cloud technology is not good enough to be used; it’s improving after each passing day and ought to see massive enhancements.

All in all, tremendous advances are needed within internet technology itself before cloud gaming is made the preferred gaming method instead of the traditional systems. Players should not be afraid to adapt to changes as long as they benefit the gaming industry in the long term.

Shahmeer Sarfaraz

A computer science student with blooming reverence for fantasy titles. Shahmeer is a fairly new News Writer at eXputer. Flourishing his aptitude for writing with one article at a time. When not covering the latest gaming news, Shahmeer can be found farming away in a heavily modded Stardew Valley.