What’s Cloud Gaming And How Does It Work?

Gaming has rapidly evolved, and today’s advancements have introduced a concept that was unimaginable a decade ago: cloud gaming. Services like Google Stadia, Xbox Game Pass, and PlayStation Now have popularized this new way to play. The idea is straightforward: rather than purchasing a physical console and game discs, you can stream games directly to any screen you own, similar to how Netflix streams movies and TV shows.

But what exactly is cloud gaming, and how does it function? We’ll explore its rocky beginnings, delve into the technology behind it, and review the various platforms currently available.

How Exactly Does Cloud Gaming Work?

Most cloud gaming services typically require a monthly or annual subscription to access the content, with some requiring additional game purchases on top of that fee.

For instance, GeForce Now allows you to buy games from other stores like Steam or Battle.net. This means you can eventually play them locally if you acquire the necessary hardware. However, there’s a catch: free-tier users must wait in long queues and have limited playtime. Subscribing to a paid plan moves you closer to the front of the queue and extends your playtime.

Nvidia’s main competitor, Google Stadia, takes a different approach. On Stadia, you purchase games to own on Google’s platform and can stream them to any compatible device in full HD, without any wait times. The paid subscription tier increases the resolution to 4K and grants access to a library of games that you can play at no additional cost as long as your subscription is active, similar to Xbox Game Pass. Unlike GeForce Now, which is tied to your Steam library, Stadia does not allow for local downloads and installations of the games.

Benefits of Cloud Gaming

It doesn’t matter at all whether we are talking about Xbox cloud gaming iOS or other devices, the benefits are the same everywhere:

  • Accessibility: With cloud gaming, there’s no need for expensive gaming hardware. Players can dive into resource-heavy games using various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and low-spec laptops.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Cloud gaming lowers the financial barriers to entry. Gamers can avoid spending on pricey consoles or graphics cards, as remote servers handle all the heavy lifting.
  • Instant Play: Cloud gaming allows for immediate gameplay without the hassle of long downloads or installations. This rapid access significantly enhances the gaming experience.
  • Portability: Cloud gaming offers seamless device transitions, providing a truly portable gaming experience. Players can start on a computer and continue on a smartphone without losing any progress.

As for the game library, the list available to you will depend on the region you are in. Just try opening the Google Play Store from different countries and you will see how noticeable the differences are, the same goes for cloud gaming platforms. Do you know how to change region on Android? Just like a VPN for Google Play Store can remove regional restrictions, you can also unblock a large library on cloud gaming platforms. If you have VeePN or another top VPN, you can do this trick. You can start with a free trial period and check how the VPN works.

What are the Downsides of Cloud Gaming?

You may also encounter some disadvantages of this approach:

  1. Internet Speed Dependency: Seamless gaming experiences are contingent on having a stable, high-speed internet connection. In regions with slower or less reliable internet, players might encounter lag and gameplay interruptions.
  2. Latency Issues: The necessity for real-time interaction between the player’s inputs and server responses introduces latency. High latency can cause delays between a player’s actions and the corresponding on-screen reactions. But you can choose the closest servers, optimize the traffic route, and use more hints to reduce latency. Sometimes you will need an additional tool, like a VPN, but it is worth it.
  3. Restrictive Game Library: Despite expanding game selections, some cloud gaming services may lack the latest or more niche game releases. This can lead to a more limited game selection for users when compared to traditional gaming platforms.
  1. Subscription Expenses: Although cloud gaming removes the need for significant upfront hardware investments, the recurring subscription fees can add up. For some users, these ongoing costs may be less attractive than the one-time expenses associated with traditional gaming.

What Causes Cloud Gaming to Be Popular?

The primary challenge hindering the progress of cloud gaming has been infrastructure. Earlier endeavors like OnLive and Gaikai faltered due to insufficient bandwidth and the lack of comprehensive service networks that are available today. With the advancements in cloud technology from giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, cloud gaming platforms can now achieve global coverage, enabling swift deployment and expansion across various regions.

Beyond the technical details, cloud gaming is gaining popularity because it now functions effectively. The pioneers of cloud gaming were working with nascent technology, and while early adopters showed interest, services like OnLive and Gaikai lacked the performance and reach necessary to appeal to a broader audience.

Today, cloud gaming benefits from the financial support of major tech companies, which has led to reduced latency, higher frame rates, and simplified setup processes. Platforms such as Stadia and GeForce Now have achieved a baseline level of performance, allowing them to emphasize the practical advantages of cloud gaming.


Cloud gaming is revolutionizing the gaming industry with its advanced technology and flexibility. As internet infrastructure advances, the future holds even more immersive and easily accessible gaming experiences. This innovation opens up a myriad of new possibilities for gamers from all backgrounds.