You might not think the technology being developed for videogames has many implications for everyday life, business, or even marketing—but you’d be wrong. E3 wound down in early June revealing a few more details about some interesting technologies that are in development. Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project Xcloud will allow players to utilize cloud computing to play their favorite games. They will only require a controller, screen, and internet access – removing the need for most hardware.
The technology is interesting, but it is hard to understand how it could compare to having your computer right in front of you. Because it is essentially streaming the screen of a computer running in some server farm across the country you wouldn’t expect it to be more efficient than Netflix or Hulu. Who hasn’t had buffering issues or service loss at some point with any streaming service? However, I recently have been playing around with a similar service that has been available for a few months now call Steam Link. The performance is far better than I imagined, and that was on my phone through my 4G LTE mobile network.
That made me wonder—what kind of implications could this have for the machines I currently use in my office as a designer. Could I run Photoshop and build multi-canvas files without a noticeable slow down? Would effects-rendering in any app be as snappy as if it were a low-resolution mockup? Could I FINALLY stop having to wait for fonts to load properly? And what about the tools I normally wouldn’t be able to use because I don’t have “workstation” grade equipment? While most of my work may remain unaffected, the possibilities are exciting and hard to ignore.
The potential of cloud computing is almost limitless. Tasks that you would normally run on a single computer in your office can now call on the resources of thousands of machines at the same time. With the technology behind these cloud gaming applications, there is a very real possibility that computers will no longer be in-house and all processing power will be farmed out. After all, you only need the bare minimum of a computer to stream through the internet and send out mouse/keyboard inputs.
Although cloud computing has been around for a while, it seems to mostly be used for things like video rendering and enterprise class analytical tools. However, with it now being sold directly to consumers we may be on the verge of it becoming mainstream. Especially with 5G on the horizon, and I for one am pretty excited about how it could improve marketing applications and creative production.