To give you a short answer: Maybe.
For a longer answer, you will need to read a full article down below:
What is cloud gaming?
Said in short: Cloud gaming is a principle that allows you to play the games you usually wouldn't be able to play on your device, using external hardware. The external hardware you connect to will run the game instead of your device and give you the video and audio as an output. That being said, you will be able to play the newest games using the hardware that you were already thinking about throwing into the trash.
Free cloud gaming
...is one of the most Googled terms related to cloud gaming. It is obvious that cloud gaming enthusiasts are eager to find a service that would not only provide them with seamless, lag less gaming experience, but also to be free. Is this possible to achieve, and what options do Cloudy Gaming providers have? Let's try to imagine a Free cloud gaming service. First of all, nothing can ever be Free, but it can be „Free“. The difference might not be so obvious, so let's talk about the Free, and „Free“.
The misconception of the Free.
There is an old saying in the Balkans that I can only try to translate to English: „You cannot get anything for free, even from an old granny“, or something like that. This obviously means that nothing in this World is free. Free is a "misconception" often used in marketing campaigns & sales pitches, and it is often used with a bigger goal of attracting users and then offering them paid plans. Some companies also have some other ways of earning money while giving out something for Free. Companies like Facebook and YouTube allow you to use most of their services for free, but they still need to earn money somehow, in order to be profitable. We will explore the ways companies like this earn money later in this blog post.
The concept of „Free“
„Free“ is a more accurate term for a model that social media platforms and some other companies use today. Basically this means that you may not pay for a service directly, but you will pay with something else, whether that be your attention, data, or time.
Let's explore each of those ways you will pay for something.
Data is wildly appreciated by the companies, but users don't have a perception of their data's worth. The fact that an average data generated from an adult person is worth around $35 per month is staggering. Data now seems to be a valuable resource, some research says that data is worth even more than oil on today's market. The people's neglect-ion of this fact creates a perfect condition for companies to harvest your data and earn money. Just lately there have been some ideas, primarily related to blockchain technologies, that will keep your data secure, allow you to control it and keep it private, and maybe even sell it for a profit that otherwise a companies whose product you use, take for themselves.
What you divide your attention to matters. What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you scrolling through? These are all questions you may ask yourself once you get on the Internet. What you divide your attention to matters more than you think. In my personal opinion, platforms like YouTube, TikTok or Instagram are serving as an "attention transfer" platform. They are skilled from transferring attention from the people who watch the content, to ones that are creating that content, and taking a "small" amount of that attention for themselves. People who watch a lot of content gradually lose attention, making them more passive & neglected. This could be very dangerous for the people who have developed an internet-related addiction.
Time is related to attention, but it is not the same as attention. The time you spend on a service might not equal attention. This can be described with an old concept - TV commercials. TV houses have a way of measuring the time you've spent watching a TV. When commercials show up, many people grab their phones, but their TV program often stays the same. In the eyes of a TV house, you are still watching the program. In your eyes, you are scrolling through Instagram. So this is why time you've spent watching something is not equal to attention you divided towards it. Attention implies that user is actively listening or watching content.
Both attention & time give us Data in some sense, so all 3 terms are often unified and referred to as "Data".
So, what are some other ways for companies to earn money? Charging an one-time fee, monthly subscription or a "freemium" model which means offering you some features for free, but adding a paywall once you want to use the full software. Companies can also sell merchandise & accept donations.
There has to be some way of payment towards the company, because without payment, a company wouldn't function at all, and will be unavailable to provide a service you want to use.
Which costs does a Cloud gaming company have?
Well it is pretty obvious that a Cloudy Gaming companies need to cover their costs, as every other company does. Some of the bigger costs include: Salaries, Server rental fees, customer acquisition costs (sales & marketing), tax, and product development costs. Not only does the revenue need to cover costs, but it also needs to be bigger than costs in order for a company to be sustainable.
One of the Clastr's competitive advantages is that we don't need to rent out servers in order to bring gamer to the platform, but we need to pay the PC providers for their rental. We won't go into the details here, it is better for us to keep some things private...for now ;)
To conclude...will Cloud Gaming ever be "Free"?
Now we are getting to the first sentence of this article. Yes, Cloud gaming could be free, but only if a certain company finds a way to earn money without directly taking it from it's users. This is not a simple process and requires a lot of time and effort. After a certain company finds out how they will give out something for "Free", that assumption needs to be tested, and this also takes time & effort. Now that you know what it takes to create something that will be "Free" to users: How would you create a free cloud gaming platform? We are interested in hearing your suggestions.
And remember: If something is Free, you are the product.
Cloud Gaming Reddit
Want to find out about the latest Cloud Gaming trends? We prefer to follow a subreddit named r/cloudygamer, where people are posting the most recent news.