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Why device detection is essential for cloud gaming services

Cloud gaming is revolutionizing the world of video entertainment, providing the hardware and connection are up to scratch. How can device detection help providers ensure a quality user experience regardless of the device?

James Kielty - 17 Jun 2019
2 min read

In the last few years, both Google and Amazon have dabbled in cloud gaming services, with rumors of streaming giant Netflix now following suit shortly.

Device Detection for Cloud Gaming Services

Yet the origins of cloud gaming date back to the start of the current millennium when Finnish startup G-cluster demonstrated that handheld devices could be used to stream games over WiFi, rather than having to rely on expensive gaming consoles. The first publicly available remote cloud gaming services came online in 2010, but OnLive didn't quite manage to navigate the issues around latency.

Despite many companies now offering cloud gaming services, (Sony, Microsoft, Nvidia, etc) latency issues remain a huge problem, despite fast connections. Google has also recently announced plans to pivot its cloud gaming platform, Google Stadia, to 'Google Stream' - a white-label service that will power other companies' cloud offerings.

Why does device identification matter?

Knowing the exact specifications of each device connecting to a cloud gaming service could offer huge advantages over remaining device-agnostic. Accurate device detection solutions allow publishers to identify and differentiate between individual device capabilities. Without it, Android tablets may be easily mis-categorized as smartphones. This can happen because user agents are easily altered.

When analyzing iOS devices, the need for accuracy is equally important. Due to iOS device fragmentation, the specifications between models can be significant. For example, an iPhone Pro 13 Max has double the RAM of an iPhone X, and also has a maximum clock speed of 3.2 GHz vs 2.3GHz with the iPhone X. They are completely different devices, but without a reliable device detection solution, a cloud gaming service provider won't know which device is calling. Identifying the device also provides the opportunity to filter out bot traffic, as well as identify OTT and Smart TV devices (in Q2 of 2021, TV screens accounted for 73% of all streaming devices).

Cloud gaming needs to know the device

While the performance of cloud gaming relies massively on connectivity, eliminating the device knowledge gap will set the services up to be the best they can be. Knowing the exact specifications and capabilities of mobile devices using the service will be a key aspect of this delivery. To learn how DeviceAtlas does this, read our product overview. Our case studies feature many major players in other industries who've also benefited from accurate, reliable device detection.