How gaming finds its place in cloud computing
Video games represent a phenomenal market nowadays, which leans more and more towards mobile games. The cloud has become essential to the players, as well as to the developers who need cloud computing to stay competitive.
Mobile Gaming growth
Newzoo, a company specialized in games analytical processing, announced: “Gamers worldwide will generate a total of $99.6 billion in revenues in 2016, up 8.5% compared to 2015. For the first time, mobile gaming will take a larger share than PC with $36.9 billion, up 21.3% globally.”
Hideki Hayakawa, Konami’s CEO also thinks mobile gaming is the future of videogames, he plans to push most of Konami franchises like Metal Gear Solid or Pro Evolution Soccer onto mobile platforms. The mobile gaming spread can be even be noticed on the streets, more and more people are busy throwing Pokeballs and defending their castle in public parks or on the subway.
Mobiles games have now richer content and better graphics. So much power is needed to run these games smoothly and the compact format of a mobile phone may not be best suited for this. Thankfully, developers can use cloud to store images and data and on demand cloud computing power to process it remotely (complex Artificial Intelligence or procedural world generation executed server side for example), which allows to lift several limitations in mobile games development. Services like LiquidSky (US) or Shadow.tech (FR) even allow playing the most graphically-demanding PC games on any screen (old computer, tablet or mobile phone), as long as your network connection is good enough to broadcast the video stream from the remote server (the game is entirely executed server side).
The importance of collecting data
In the same way, videogames on consoles and PCs are more and more connected, enriching the gaming experience while players can communicate in a same universe. Frank Gibeau, Zynga CEO, former EA Games Vice President, confirms it “Single player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished. Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.”
The future of videogames thus seems to revolve around the development of connections between players and between software and game servers.
Cloud computing services purpose goes beyond improving latency and responsiveness: companies can also use the cloud to collect commercial data. The Halo franchise used a service named Spark and Hadoop to analyse raw data, which was used to supply game statistics for tournament organizers, whom used the treated data to class players according to their game performance. This data also permitted to update Halo 4 weekly and allow a strategy of retention of its players by sending them email daily.
The era when players had to create their own physical servers to play online with other players is nearly bygone and replaced by servers based on cloud computing.
Thus, for many games, if not all, the cloud provides an essential infrastructure layer which allows game development studios to offer a richer and more reliable personalized experience to players.
Last but not least: Cloud computing actors propose turnkey and on-demand infrastructures, resources and solutions allowing to cut a large part of the purchase and maintenance costs of physical servers, letting game developers concentrate on what they do best: creating immersive and challenging entertainment.
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