A network analysis on cloud gaming: Stadia, GeForce Now and PSNow

12/12/2020
by   Andrea Di Domenico, et al.
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Cloud gaming is a new class of services that promises to revolutionize the videogame market. It allows the user to play a videogame with basic equipment while using a remote server for the actual execution. The multimedia content is streamed through the network from the server to the user. This service requires low latency and a large bandwidth to work properly with low response time and high-definition video. Three of the leading tech companies, (Google, Sony and NVIDIA) entered this market with their own products, and others, like Microsoft and Amazon, are planning to launch their own platforms in the near future. However, these companies released so far little information about their cloud gaming operation and how they utilize the network. In this work, we study these new cloud gaming services from the network point of view. We collect more than 200 packet traces under different application settings and network conditions for 3 cloud gaming services, namely Stadia from Google, GeForce Now from NVIDIA and PS Now from Sony. We analyze the employed protocols and the workload they impose on the network. We find that GeForce Now and Stadia use the RTP protocol to stream the multimedia content, with the latter relying on the standard WebRTC APIs. They result in bandwidth-hungry and consume up to 45 Mbit/s, depending on the network and video quality. PS Now instead uses only undocumented protocols and never exceeds 13 Mbit/s.

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