Cloud gaming is the talk of the town, but what is it really and will it survive the many performance problems posed by cloud infrastructure?
What is Cloud Gaming?
The rise of the cloud has facilitated all kinds of web services to become more efficient, optimize resource utilization and scale up quicker.
The same is true of cloud gaming. Traditionally online games are rendered locally through powerful gaming PC’s or consoles. Cloud gaming aims to shift the massive resources required for rendering games from the end user PC to the cloud. This allows heavy duty online games to be rendered in the cloud. Gameplay is then streamed to the end user much like video streaming.
Cloud gaming has the potential to sky rocket the number of online gamers, by removing the minimum hardware requirements for most games. It would also allow games to be platform agnostic and be instantly playable without the long wait times for downloads.
In spite of all the benefits, cloud gaming brings a whole new set of performance problems to the table. These problems are inherent to cloud infrastructure and internet routing policies.
Problems like latency, congestion, packet loss and bandwidth utilization are even more visible for cloud gaming because of the strict performance requirements.
Let’s take a look at each of these network performance attributes to understand how they affect cloud gaming.
Internet latency refers to the speed of online communication. Internet latency translates into cloud gaming lag or the time between a user action and that action showing up on the screen. Multiplayer online games are particularly sensitive to internet latency, because player actions have to be synchronized across all players. Most heavy duty multiplayer online games become unplayable at 100 ms latency.
Bandwidth is another limiting factor to the wide scale adoption of cloud gaming. Since cloud games have to be rendered in the cloud and then streamed to clients, they require a lot of bandwidth. This has implications for both end users and gaming providers. Users would need to dramatically upgrade their internet connection bandwidth. Cloud gaming would also jack up the costs of data transfer by a significant margin for Gaming providers.
Internet congestion occurs when network nodes carry more data packets then they can handle. The increasing amount of data transfer required for cloud gaming has the potential to feed into this phenomenon, which will in turn feed into network latency.
Network congestion also feeds into packet loss. Packet loss happens when data packets travelling across a network do not make it to their destination. Packet loss results in skipped frames and increased buffering for cloud games.
Will Cloud Gaming survive latency and Bandwidth?
For cloud gaming to be viable network latency has to be brought under manageable levels. Bandwidth optimization, congestion avoidance and maximizing availability would also go a long way.
This is where network optimizers like Datapath.io come into play. Datapath.io generates a real time performance map of the internet. We then use this map to route internet traffic over routes that have the best performance attributes. Cloud gaming platfoms typically see a reduction in latency of up-to 60%.
Download the Whitepaper to learn how-to optimize your AWS hosted cloud gaming platform