For a lot of people, gaming the way it was meant to be played – that is, with a monster of a computer, a ton of RAM and the latest high-end graphics card – will always be out of reach. Shelling out $2,000 for a juggernaut gaming PC is, unfortunately, just out of reach for the average Joe working a 9-5. However, cloud-based gaming could change that. People familiar with the gaming industry know that this isn’t a new idea, but it never picked up enough speed to actually make it into the mainstream. It always seemed a bit too ahead of its time, a bit too out of reach. A new company, however, says it may have the answer.
Shadow is a company that allows anyone to turn any device with a screen and internet connection into a well-oiled gaming machine – whether it’s a Mac, a tablet or even a cellphone. In a similar way to cloud server hosting from traditional internet companies like 1&1, the concept works by allowing gamers to play using the power of a rented gaming server via the internet while the game appears on their device. It essentially frees anyone from the constraints and limitations of low-grade hardware, meaning you can access games and other powerful programs regardless of the device you own.
There’s some concern that users will be pooling the same resources, which will affect the efficiency of Shadow’s server. However, customers aren’t sharing one powerful PC. Rather, the company provides a dedicated virtual PC for every single customer.
Although gaming is the obvious function when using a cloud-based gaming service such as Shadow, there are a number of other different applications that this service can be used for. Those whose job or hobbies require CPU-heavy applications such as back-end development, or photography and video editing, will also benefit massively from not having to own a all-singing-all-dancing tower, but instead can work on whatever projects they have from a simple laptop or tablet regardless of their location, internet-willing. Time will tell whether or not it makes more sense for traditional industries to shift to this type of cloud-based arrangement or if it will be more cost-effective in the long run to simply own all of their own hardware.
However, one of the main benefits of cloud computing is that, unlike owning a traditional PC, subscribing to a company that provides you with a virtual one means you’ll never have to upgrade. Your fees will remain the same and you’ll benefit from the latest hardware and technology. From that perspective, and if the monthly fee is low enough, subscribing seems like a no-brainer.