Cloud Gaming and the Latency Obstacle

By the time you’ve read this article, 300,000 milliseconds will have elapsed. Or 9000 if you Johnny 5 it. That’s about 8980 too many if you’re a streamer.

In gaming, the difference between seamless playability and stomach-churning lags sits somewhere in between a total latency of 20ms and 40ms. Or around a fifth of the blink of an eye.

The latency conundrum has kept developers in work for years. Online gamers have been promised a limitless treasure trove of marquee titles, available on demand via the cloud, in high definition and without interruption. For the better part of this decade, that promise has proved too good to be true. OnLive and other streaming services ultimately failed to deliver, at least on the scale required by a gaming market comprising a third of the world’s population.

If OnLive’s shortcomings were in the execution, their concept was sound. Instead of investing thousands of dollars in hardware, gamers would stream content over IP while submitting control inputs back to the remote server. It would give casual gamers the benefits of state-of-the-art equipment with none of the financial burden, save for a small subscription fee.

When it launched in 2007, OnLive was regarded as one of the most promising game companies around. But delivering the level of performance they promised — 720p at 60 frames-per-second — simply wasn’t possible with the computing and rendering power available at the time. OnLive’s 1:1 concurrency model (meaning the service required one desktop PC to host one user at a time) was not sustainable. The more users that were attracted to the service, the greater the expense incurred by the platform. The technical hurdles proved too great to overcome, and the company was forced to cease operating in 2015.

In the ten years since OnLive was founded, streaming has become commonplace, with cloud services like Netflix and Spotify driving the evolution of large cloud-based libraries of content and the technologies required to deliver them to masses of people. Gaming platforms like Playkey have stepped up to meet the demands of a huge global market in a way that allows for scalability, using server technology like Nvidia, which renders the latest games in cloud servers, encodes each frame almost instantaneously, and delivers the the results to any web-enabled device.

Of all the technical advances made over the last few years, reducing the latency has, arguably, been the most critical development. The dream of truly seamless streaming has finally transcended the imaginations and ambitions of its early proponents. The cloud gaming revolution is here.

The Playkey ICO will end on Nov 30. Visit to purchase tokens.