Video games are becoming increasingly complicated both in terms of graphics and mechanics to the point that they require more sophisticated computer specifications to run correctly. It’s unlikely you’ll be playing games in 2021 on a PC that’s been around for a while, unless it’s been upgraded significantly. Cloud gaming is where it is an option that allows you to play your favorite video games on any device, as long as you can get a stable internet connection.

Cloud gaming servers handle the processing of video games, not your device’s hardware. They accomplish this by sending you compressed frames in response to input. When you press a button, the input is sent to the cloud-based server, which will then send you a brand new video frame in response. It’s a simple idea, but it requires a significant amount of bandwidth to transmit those videos in real-time. This has always slowed cloud gaming, however recent advancements in cell networks and edge computing have enabled it to take off.

To accomplish this, applications like Stadia and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now are able to stream games in near-real quality on devices of varying power. They’re also designed to prevent the massive downloads and setup process of installing a game on your own hardware, which is important for people with variable network conditions. Cloud gaming isn’t a reality. There are a number of obstacles to overcome, including issues with bandwidth and latency.