Cloud is essentially online storage, but the applications of such a simple concept are numerous. Cloud is often associated with social media and business data sharing, however it’s been in wide use for games for about the last several years.
What’s the Relationship Between Cloud and Video Games?
In order to answer this question I will take you a few steps back. Let’s think of the very first Halo game for example; it was released back in 2001, and although I still feel like we only just passed the year 2000, it’s already about 11 years ago. And now I feel old too… well the point of this wasn’t to test my old-man memory, I was just trying to say that cloud wasn’t used for gaming back then.
Cloud computing as we know it now was only introduced around that time by Amazon.com, although the underlying concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1950s.
Thus the relationship between gaming and cloud is very young, but it’s one that is sure to last.
Going back to the first Halo, if you wanted to play with a friend of yours when you went to see him at his house, you’d have to bring your Xbox with you if you wanted to play together using your own saves.
How do Video Games and Cloud Work Together?
There are several ways cloud is used for gaming. The most obvious use, so to speak, is the hosting of saved games.
Services such as Steam and Origin for example will not only allow you to buy games, but they will also keep a copy of your saved games in their cloud storage so that you can play the same games on any computer, providing they have a licensed copy of the software.
It also makes it easier to keep a copy of your saves when you need to reinstall your computer’s operating system.
These online services work through the installation of a client through which you manage all of your purchases, save games and can even send messages, adding a social element to gaming. You don’t just play the game, you talk about it while you play with your friends and get tips on how to beat certain parts.
Now fast forward to the Xbox 360 with Halo 3, or even the remastered version of the first Halo – all you have to do to play with someone at their house is to load your profile from your cloud on their Xbox, and now you can play with your very own save game 50 miles away from your home.
Another way gaming companies utilise cloud computing is by offering free online demos. Users can play free demos online, at the ‘cost’ of some advertisement being served with the games through the cloud.
Nowadays game boxes are no longer needed for PCs, and the people who tend to buy them are either collectors or those with a slow internet connection, which means they can’t download entire games. For consoles you’ll still need them, but you can still keep your game saves… safe in the cloud.
With the added messaging functions, playing video games is now a lot more social than it used to be, as you can interact closely with your friends even if you’re half a world apart.
What are your thoughts on gaming in the cloud?
About the Author: James Duval is a tech wiz who loves spending his time on his Xbox when he’s not riding around on his motorbike. Here he blogs for ConNetU.