Over the past few years, several of the major players in the video game industry have been investing heavily in expanding technology for streaming video games. Despite Google Stadia’s rather poor launch that was riddled with issues, the future of streaming looks bright, and here we will cover five of the most common misconceptions about video game streaming.
Most Potential Users In The USA Lack An Sufficient Internet Connection
The requirements for streaming games vary significantly depending on the quality that one wants to see on their screen. Using Stadia as the most recent example, users need about 10 to 20 Mbps to stream at between 720 and 1080p and 60 fps. Attempting to get 4k with 60 fps required about 35 Mpbs. Since the average speed of an American household is 55 Mbps, this is more than adequate even for the most demanding of steams.
It is only 6% of American household that do not have access to broadband internet services. However, the misconception comes from the fact that by comparison American speeds seem sluggish compared to so many other developed nations, which have even higher speeds with fewer restrictions. While others certainly do have it better, most of the American people have sufficient internet download speeds to fully take advantage of streaming.
Most People Have Data Caps
Most do not in fact have any kind of cap. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Spectrum, Frontier, Windstream, RCN, Optimum, and Google Fiber are unlimited while ATT&T, COX, Cable One, CenturyLink, Xfinity, and Viasat offer unlimited as a premium. Only Mediacom and Hughesnet are truly data capped, and their markets are relatively small.
Throttling is another matter, but that is something that appears to be an ongoing discussion as well. Sometimes a story appears about how an unlimited data plan was throttled after surpassing a certain amount of usage, though these are few and far between, and are not likely to be the norm in the future as more and more people need access to data.
Games You Pay For Will Get Taken Offline Someday
There is something visceral about purchasing a physical good to hold in one’s hand, but games are quickly shifting from physical to digital distribution. The fear that one may pay for games on a streaming platform only to see them disappear in the future is a valid concern, but it has already been one for many years.
Sometimes a game is delisted due to a licencing agreement that only granted the use of a game for a certain amount of time, as occurred in early August with DuckTales Remastered. They may return at some point in the future but there is no guarantee. Other games as a service simply cease to exist because they are no longer profitable and shutdown. Marvel Heroes Omega was a free-to-play action role-playing game that launched in 2013, but struggled to survive, shutting down officially in 2017.
In the aftermath, players who had paid for cosmetic items in game were simply out of luck since the servers were shutting down. There is nothing to stop such failings within the gaming industry, but we should be clear in affirming that it would not be in any way a unique threat to games that we would stream.
You Have To Pay A Monthly Fee To Play Games You Buy
Nothing in life is free, and of course there will be a fee associated with game streaming, just like there is with all other gaming, but it is not simply to access purchased games. Platforms like that Google Stadia will be offering a free service following the conclusion of the Founder’s period, and anything that one pays for is going towards maintaining the hardware that is running the games on the company’s end.
When you stream a game, you are only seeing the result of their powerful hardware at work. Paying a small monthly free is essentially paying to access hardware that is probably far more powerful than what one might own in their PC or consoles.
Apart from that, of course one needs to pay for a game, because that is distinct from the streaming experience. Buying a game goes to the publisher and developer and has nothing to do with Stadia, exactly in the way that one needs to purchase a console and games separately.
I Don’t Need To Stream Games Because I Already Have A Computer, PlayStation 4, Or Xbox One
This is true right now since streaming technology is only now starting to pop up for public use, but it will not be true forever. Within a few years one may find their PC or console lagging in performance and power, and the only option is to upgrade. For a PC, this might mean a newer, beefier video card, but for consoles there is no choice but to buy the newest version, and next year we will be seeing the release of the Sony PlayStation 5 and the currently named Microsoft Project Scarlett.
As streaming technology improves, the hardware is kept up indefinitely by Google, or whichever company you may be using. This means that your PC, regardless of its age and own power will be able to stream games at 4k, 8k, 16k, ray trace, and whatever else may follow forever.
Most important is that while Stadia appears to have fumbled its launch, Microsoft has been hard at work for years in preparing its own streaming under project xCloud, which looks to offer its entire 3,500 game library from all Xbox consoles to be streamed anywhere. PlayStation has also been promoting its own streaming service now that Stadia has launched, and the reality is that the quality of all these products can only increase in the years to come.
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