The Rising of Cloud Gaming: My views
- Life, IT and Video Games - Part 1/6
- The Boom of The Cloud - Part 2/6 ⇐ You are Here.
- Game On and Heads Up! - Part 3/6
- From your Room to the Data Center - Part 4/6
- Google Stadia and Beyond - Part 5/6
- Cloudy Games - Part 6/6
An Embarrassing Real Joke
Last year (2018) I attended VMworld Barcelona with the company I work for. Everyone assisting this kind of expo-show know how exhausting the boot duty can be, primarily when you work with hardware. Configuring your heavy stuff, standing for several days, and then picking up all the heavy stuff back, can be a pain in the butt -But was worth being at VMworld :). So, the last day of WMwold, I was exhausted packing everything up, our area was a real mess. A guy in the boot next to us approached, took a glance at all the chaos, smiled, and said: “That’s why we do software.”
“There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer."
What is the cloud? As you already should (may) know, it’s not an imaginary fluffy place into the sky where you magically place your data. My short and favorite explanation is “what before you had locally, now you have it remotely, via a global network.” The cloud is the internet.
Very likely you (the non-IT guy) wasn't aware that one the firsts and popular cloud service that you ever used were email platform services, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. Having an email service, you could access your data from any device, anywhere and anytime. And whatever you modify and configure with your user account, all changes will be kept there, on the cloud. The cloud is all about data mobility.
Similar to Cloud, -and moving close on our main topic- Cloud Computing is the on-demand delivery of storage, network, compute, apps, and other IT resources. Notices the word "delivery", which (unintentional) highlights that rather of place, the cloud is a way to operate. One more time, through the internet.
Cloud services have been a massive thing for some years now, and another excellent example of these services is the file storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, to name a few. And from over a decade, Cloud Computing has become more popular as a near-limitless solution, where EVERY computing resource could be cloud-offered.
The King of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been called differently through the years, always making reference and related to the use of the internet; and the options and multiples ways to operate it. The boom of cloud computing started with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This subsidiary of Amazon was launched in March 2006, popularizing the term “cloud computing.”
The history of AWS is fascinating, and even though it’s out of the scope of these cloud-gaming series, it’s important to mention at least one of the key factors that inspired the creation of this public cloud service.
As all solutions (should) start, AWS was born to solve a problem, in the first place, an internal Amazon problem. The “problem”? Amazon was growing too fast, but its operation wasn’t. They had many infrastructure silos (storage, networking, computing, databases, etc.), holding the IT departments and the business back. They started working with the idea of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), one of the main models of cloud computing, allowing Amazon (the retail) to move faster. This model consists of using or offering many IT equipment (hardware) as if they were software, through systems, and the use of programming languages. These types of equipment, when used as software, could be accessed remotely from any computer, without the need to invest in offices, facilities, or hardware.
They then started offering this idea of infrastructure to other companies, helping them to solve the same problem, so they could focus on running a fast-paced business at ease, without the need for on-premise infrastructure. Target, as an example, was one of the first companies that Amazon took in, to be part of this model.
Note: Another problem Amazon had to solve was related to the Black Friday season. When Black Friday was approaching, they had to be prepared for the massive and sudden traffic increase on their web services. The solution was to add additional computing infrastructure throughout the time of that season. But what to do with all this expensive infrastructure after Black Friday? Box it back and reuse it the next year, or give it a good use for a public cloud?
Following AWS, the same year of 2006, Rackspace founded its cloud division, Rackspace Cloud. This trend was shortly followed by the tech giants, Google Cloud Platform (2008) and Microsoft Azure (2010). Currently, almost all the most prominent IT companies are providing cloud computing as part of their services, and there are many other cloud-computing focused new companies, over 200 of them.
Of all these companies, AWS and Azure are the ones keeping pace with a vast number of applications and services. Still, AWS remains as the current king.
Did you know that companies such as SoundCloud, IMDb, Coursera, Netflix, and even some services of the CIA, run on AWS? For a complete list of companies and solutions working under the cloud space of AWS, check this link.
Connecting the dots
I want to break down cloud computing into two key factors. The type of media device storing the data, and the platform (also a device) playing the data itself. Both have evolved improving data mobility. The played media used to depend on the type of platform, now the way of delivering the data is molding the evolution of these platforms and the media itself.
If you lost me here, let me try to explain the prior using these well-known and straightforward technology evolutions.
- You had Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, then downloaded large playlists of songs on your computer. Now, you don’t (really need to) download data/files anymore, you can use Spotify, SoundCloud, etc., on multiple platforms.
- You had Beta, VHS, DVDs, then downloaded large collections of movies on your computer. Now, you don’t (really need to) download data/files anymore, you can use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc., on multiple platforms.
- You had bulky arcade machines, ROM cartridges, CDs, DVDs, now you download game libraries on your gaming console or PC… and well, soon, you won’t, here we go…
The point with these silly examples? All platforms (devices) to play and reproduce the every-day data are becoming universal and interchangeable.
We can also approach these examples from a platform-only basis and mobility. As for video games, we are moving from the consoles like Atari and Nintendo to portable consoles like Gameboy, PSP, and also the very well developed and positioned Nintendo Switch. These days, tablets, and smartphones.
Mobile games are considered for many just for that, for a mobile need. Commuting to the office, school or anywhere, is what makes these games attractive, so attractive that are taking 50% of the entire video games market.
There are games for all tastes. BUT, “true” gamers don't consider these games to be real games, they aren't inclined to move to the mobile games, and they don’t want somebody else to own and configure what could be theirs. This "BUT" is a huge one.