What determines quality experience for cloud gaming
Several factors determine the quality of experience (QoE) for cloud gaming:
Latency is one of the most important factors impacting QoE for cloud gaming. Higher latency leads to delays between player inputs and corresponding actions on screen, reducing responsiveness and comfort. Low latency (<50ms) is required for a good cloud gaming experience.
Throughput and bandwidth
Throughput (data rate) and bandwidth determine the video quality and resolution of the game stream. Higher throughput is needed for 1080p and 4K resolution gaming, as well as higher frame rates. Limited bandwidth can lead to pixelation, stuttering and delays.
Jitter refers to variations in latency over time. While a certain amount of latency can be tolerated, fluctuating latency makes for a poor gaming experience. Low jitter (<10ms) is important for cloud gaming.
Packet loss occurs when packets of data traveling across the network fail to reach their destination. Even low packet loss rates (<1%) can significantly impact QoE for cloud gaming, causing visual artifacts, audio glitches and instability.
How effectively game video and audio are encoded and compressed impacts the streaming requirements and perceived quality. More efficient encoding algorithms reduce throughput demands while maintaining high video quality.
Resolution and frame rate
Higher resolutions (e.g. 4K vs 1080p) and frame rates (e.g. 60 FPS vs 30 FPS) generally provide a better experience, though they also demand more network throughput. There are diminishing returns beyond a certain combination of resolution and frame rate.
In summary, latency, throughput, jitter, packet loss, encoding efficiency, resolution and frame rate are the main factors determining the quality of experience for cloud gaming. Of these, latency is arguably the most critical, followed by throughput and bandwidth. With high enough throughput and low enough latency, cloud gaming can provide an experience comparable to local gaming.