Image source: Wikimedia Commons
In an era where smartphones dominate consumers’ time, tech companies are finding a way to embed gaming—not just by creating games for these phones, but also by trying to combine them with consoles.
However, this is not a new thing—cloud gaming existed before xCloud from Microsoft and Stadia from Google. Indeed, Switzerland based company, N-Dream AG, released its cloud powered gaming console, AirConsole, in 2015.
When Google first announced Stadia back in March 2019, much hype was generated by the gaming community, but the requirements to run the game are high. According to Google, if you need to stream and play games at 4K resolution, you need at least 40Mbps connection with 0 latency.
Here comes the problem, although 4G networks are great at reaching hi-speed connection, and ADSL and VDSL connections have sky-high speed, issues with latency are still being watched. Maybe 5G will help to solve this issue?
In its own words, AirConsole is “… a cloud-based multiplayer game console that uses smartphones as gamepads and web browsers as a console”. Andrin von Rechnberg, the founder of N-Dream, and his team tried to make the process as simple as it is.
Logging into the console using your browser and connecting your mobile using the app is as simple as entering a seven-digit code. Once logged in, you choose the game you want using your phone as the controller and the browser as the display area.
Over 140 games are already available, with indie studios DNA Studios, Manifesto Games Studio, Mad Mimic and others publishing their games on the platform. The games are not free—you need to pay a $4.99 monthly subscription, although that beats Stadia’s announced subscription fee of $9.99. With Stadia, you also need to pay the full price of the game.
Google has announced that by mid-2020 the subscription will no longer be a requirement, but it is offering multiple platforms for developers to create their own subscriptions, so we may see a hectic situation.
AirConsole gives you a glimpse of its platform, offering a free mode that gives you the ability to play two-player mode and access free games, but if you want to unleash the platform’s full potential, it will set you back the monthly subscription of $4.99.
With cloud gaming, an important note that should be understood by everyone that uses these systems, as with Netflix and other TV streaming services you will not really own the game. You will be allowed to play it whenever you desire, but you have no control if the game developer or the platform removes the game from your library.
With xCloud and Stadia now on the scene as the next big thing, AirConsole may need to step up its game—players are likely to want to see some AAA games from world class studios like Ubisoft and 2K Games.