4 Reasons Why Cloud Gaming Is Bad

I have been hearing a lot of talk about video game streaming services and cloud gaming recently and I am horrified. Sure, game streaming can have some benefits. Many game streaming services run around $10 to $35 a month. That is obviously a lot more cost effective than spending $700+ on a gaming PC or console then buying games? Well yes depending on where you live.

Cloud Gaming

Huge waste of bandwidth

Bandwidth caps and data limits are a real problem for most of the world. Just check out this list of USA ISPs with data caps and see for yourself. Some other countries have it even worse. But if you live in an area that offers unlimited bandwidth then a cloud gaming service may be perfect for you. But if you are like me a cloud gaming service is not an option unless I want to spend something like $10 a GB to play. Assuming 1080p and an average bitrate you are looking at over 3GB an hour or $30 to play a game for 1 hour.

Or you could go buy a new game for $60 and play it for as long as you want.

Update: According to Google, Stadia’s 4K quality stream uses 15.75 GB per hour and 9 GB per hour at 1080p. That is even worse than my earlier estimation.

Stadia also has some minimum internet speed requirements that will knock a lot of people out of the service. But that is to be expected I guess. You can not afford to be buffering video when trying to play a game.

Stadia Speed Requirements

Latency Issues

Latency is another issue. Depending on the game latency may not matter as much. But I find it kind of annoying when I push a key and I detect a small delay before the game responds. This gets even worse if you are also playing a multiplayer game. I don’t like the idea of needlessly adding latency to any game. It ruins immersion and the whole experience.

I do not get motion sick very easy but I have heard that others have experienced motion sickness because of latency in game streaming. So good luck ever being able to stream a VR game were motion sickness is a real issue

You can also forget about playing any games if you are having any internet issues or outages.

No Modding

Mods can extend the life of a game for decades and build huge fan bases. But based on the setups I have seen so far there are no modding options in games on streaming services. This is one of the things that could probably be fixed but for now, if you want to play with mods or build your own then you will need your own local copy of the game.

No Service Stays Online Forever

Perhaps the worst thing is that the plug can be pulled on you. The game industry is pushing very hard for “games as a service”. But nothing on the internet stays online forever. Based on history we can assume at some point authentication servers will be shut down, cloud gaming services will remove older games, or providers will go out of business.

For example, Google kills off online services they make so often that it has become a bit of a joke in the tech news world.

OnLive Cloud Gaming Service

Then what happens if future games become cloud streaming exclusives? They could be gone forever…

Maybe I am old fashion, but I like to have control over things I have paid for. One thing I do know is that all the old games from my childhood still work. They did not need an internet connection to run and no server had to be online for them to work.

I can not say the same for a lot of games that have come out in the last 15 years.

Final Thoughts on Cloud Gaming

So while there are some benefits to cloud gaming it is my opinion that there are also lots of issues to work out. Because of those issues, I will not be doing any cloud gaming in the foreseeable future. And I hope and pray we always have a choice to buy offline copies of games.

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