Jio launched a beta of its cloud gaming platform JioGamesCloud last week. The launch surfaced as users on sites like reddit pointed out that they were now able to access GeForce Now games on their Jio set-top boxes. GeForce Now is a cloud gaming platform developed by Nvidia, which it appears Jio has licensed for its own platform. Cloud gaming allows games to be streamed directly from a server to users’ devices, like PCs, phones, tablets and set-top boxes.
Entrackr tried out the beta from Bengaluru on a Windows PC connected to a WiFi connection and from an Android device connected to Jio’s 4G network. Deliver Us to The Moon, a reasonably graphics-intensive game, ran fairly well on Jio’s network, with mixed results on the WiFi network. The game catalog is currently limited, with many hyper casual indie games but few AAA big budget games.
The web app and the JioGames app suggest connecting to a strong WiFi connection or a 5G connection. Jio’s 5G launch is happening gradually, but several large cities like Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata are included already, with a few users being eligible to start being able to connect to the 5G networks. But it is unclear to what extent coverage exists within those cities for 5G.
In any case, as Entrackr pointed out in August, cloud gaming is already happening in India without 5G, with services like The Gaming Project enrolling thousands of gamers for a subscription fee in various Indian cities, with the games running fairly well on a WiFi connection alone.
That said, bringing intensive high quality gaming to devices that may not be able to run them locally is a key selling point for 5G networks, and likely why Jio has moved fast to deploy its cloud gaming service. (One hopes the rollout works well at scale, unlike JioCinema’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stream for the first two days.)
Jio’s plans to roll out the service on its set-top box is also interesting, as STBs are not out of reach for customers in the way that a 5G phone or a decent PC may be at the moment. The company last year obtained clearance for a gaming controller it licensed from Korean firm Aksys, according to a filing with the Bureau of Indian Standards. The company sells this controller on its website now.
Other telcos are trying to get in on the cloud gaming frenzy too, now that their 5G networks are getting deployed around the country. Vi demoed its solution, in partnership with CareGame, at the India Mobile Congress 2022 in October. Previously, Airtel had demonstrated its own cloud gaming service in September. Neither telco’s solution is in a public beta at the moment, and no telco has done a full launch.