Cloud Gaming and OTT: Similarities and How Their Future Looks Like

neuCentrIX - 30/12/2021 14:00

In the past few years, the world’s leading gaming companies and technology firms have been working together to shift the paradigm in the video games market towards cloud gaming. According to Juniper Research, cloud gaming and subscription services revenue is expected to grow 9% per year, reaching USD 8 billion by 2023. Even telecommunications companies are taking a part in this paradigm shift since cloud gaming is believed to be an ultimate use case for 5G and edge computing.

What is cloud gaming?
Cloud gaming has been developed for one simple objective: to make high-end gaming experiences easier and cheaper to access. With cloud gaming, players will no longer require discs, consoles, downloads, and installations to play. As the terms suggests, cloud gaming means games are stored, delivered, and played entirely in the cloud servers, so players only need an app or browser to be able to receive the game information and interact with the game components. That is why cloud gaming is very similar to OTT; players will be able to stream games via the internet as easily as they stream movies on their favorite OTT platforms.

How similar is cloud gaming to OTT?
Besides their content delivery method, cloud gaming and OTT are similar in a number of other ways. One notable similarity lies in their business model. Although they can and apply varied terms and conditions, most cloud gaming and OTT platforms are subscription-based, which generally means that users are required to pay for a certain price to gain access to the content available. Another similarity is their flexibility. Cloud gaming allows players to play on any screen from wherever they are as long as there is a reliable internet connection. OTT, too, only requires users to have an internet connection and a connected device that supports apps or browsers to be able to stream the content available.

Those similar qualities have made both cloud gaming and OTT very popular these days, and the big players of the industry know how to exploit the similarities. Some OTT providers across the globe have started beyond their core offering of originals and incorporated cloud gaming to their platforms. Even Netflix Inc., according to Bloomberg, is planning to offer video games on its streaming platform in 2022. 

Another significant similarity between cloud gaming and OTT is the fact that their users’ quality of experience greatly depends on an excellent content performance: service must be smooth, uninterrupted, and in the resolution required by users. Unfortunately, ensuring a stable content performance isn’t without challenges, and the biggest challenge of content delivery is latency. When it comes to content delivery, high latency causes various issues: slow loading webpage, abruptly closed app, video buffering, interrupted game, and many others. Although software, hardware, networks, and bandwidth all affect the level of latency, the single biggest factor that slows down content is the distance it has to travel.

What infrastructure improves cloud gaming and OTT users’ quality of experience?
The future of cloud gaming and OTT relies heavily on technological advances. Next-generation technologies such as edge computing and 5G, supported by infrastructure like hyperscale data centers and cloud providers, will play an important role in helping platforms provide superior, latency-free experience to users.

Another key to top-notch cloud gaming and OTT user experience is CDNs or Content Delivery Networks. CDNs refer to a network of servers which are strategically placed in multiple locations to cache data. Essentially, CDNs have two main features that help cloud gaming and OTT platforms provide a superior user experience: content caching and multiple points of presence. CDNs’ content caching ability allows content to be stored at the closest points to the end-users. Meanwhile, CDNs’ points of presence ensure content is served to the user from the nearest server, not from the origin server located further away. Both features allow request-fulfillment to be much quicker, thus reducing latency, increasing the buffering speed, and ensuring better content resolution. 

Looking at the current trend, cloud gaming — and OTT — is expected to grow even more rapidly along with technological development. In the future, we might also see OTT platforms to incorporate cloud gaming into its services, making them one stop digital entertainment platforms.