Why device detection is essential for cloud gaming services

The latest buzz in the world of entertainment is "cloud gaming", with Google Stadia leading the most recent round of interest.

However, the idea goes back almost 20 years, when G-cluster demonstrated streaming games to handheld devices over WiFi. The first publicly available remote cloud gaming services came online in 2010, but OnLive didn't quite manage to navigate the issues around latency.

PlayStation Now is currently the closest to pure cloud gaming, but requires powerful hardware at the user's end, and still suffers frustrating delays even with the fastest of connections.

What Google are attempting to do with Stadia is remove the need for heavy processing at the user end. By letting their powerful cloud servers handle all the heavy lifting, all that's required to play is a Chrome browser (of course). Once a decent internet connection is available (35 Mbps+ is recommended), the experience can be just as good as using your own console or local hardware. Via Chromecast, this will allow users to cast their phone's screen to a big TV, essentially removing the need for a console to enjoy full 4K gaming.

With Microsoft also announcing they'll be dipping their toes into the cloud gaming arena, there's enough momentum to ensure cloud gaming develops into something truly useful.

Why does device identification matter?

Although Chrome browser (for Google Stadia) runs on almost every mobile device out there, knowing the exact specifications of each device connecting to a cloud gaming service could offer huge advantages over remaining device-agnostic.

An accurate device detection solution allows you to identify and differentiate between individual device capabilities. Without it, Android tablets may be mis-categorised as smartphones - User Agents are messy and easily spoofed.

When addressing iOS devices, the need for accuracy is equally important. Due to iOS device fragmentation, the specifications between models can be significant. For example, comparing an iPhone SE to the iPhone XS Max, the latter ships with twice the RAM (4GB) , and a much newer and faster Chipset with a Hexa Core processer, a huge upgrade from the SE's Dual Core 1.84 GHz offering.

They're hugely different devices, but without a reliable device detection solution, the cloud gaming service won't know which device is calling. With DeviceAtlas, you'll also be able to create rules to filter out bot traffic, and identify OTT and Smart TV devices. 

Cloud gaming needs to know the device

While the performance of cloud gaming will rely massively on connectivity, eliminating the device knowledge gap will set the services up to be the best they can be.

Google is expected to launch Stadia in select countries in the coming months, with prices set to be around $9.99 / £8.99 per month. Microsoft plan to launch their version in October, but if Google beat them to the punch and deliver on the potential cloud gaming offers, they could cement a firm foothold in the area.

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.

Download the Guide to iPhone Detection

Download our free e-book on iOS device detection to learn:

  • Why detecting iPhones/iPads is so difficult
  • How this extra information could benefit you
  • How DeviceAtlas solves the knowledge gap
  • iOS User Agents don't tell you the full story about visiting devices. With our solution, you can enhance your content and targeting strategies, and add vital information to your analytics and reports.

    Get your free copy >>