As we all know, big companies like Google and Microsoft are working towards their Cloud Gaming platforms (Stadia and Project XCloud respectively) to provide gaming services on a paid monthly subscription. Now the paid subscription has its benefits of being able to play any title on any device of your like, let it be your smartphone, laptop, or your big smart TV at your home.
The problem arises when you go behind the scenes and look into what is the environmental cost of providing all these services.
Now to be able to understand this, we first need to know how this service works. All the hardware-intensive processing for the game is done centrally on a company’s servers and then streamed to a device of your like.
As of present video streaming is the biggest source of internet traffic, with Netflix alone taking 15% of it. The Gaming scene just takes around 8% of the traffic but is believed to increase its traffic by big network companies.
This will have huge effects on the energy that gaming consumes which would further lead to climate change. At the moment gaming consumes just the electricity used by the local devices such as TV’s and Consoles, but cloud gaming will require more electricity for the servers and the network infrastructure used to provide the service to the consumers.
The Silicon Valley, California is expected to increase its electricity demand to 11-terawatt-hours by 2021 which a decade back was just 5-terawatt hours.
Ultimately, cloud gaming is likely to increase energy use because it looks likely to create more gamers as this sort of service will surely increase the number of gamers worldwide.
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