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From One Edge to the Other: Exploring Gaming's Rising Presence on the Network

Marsden, Matthew; Hazas, Mike; Broadbent, Matthew


Matthew Marsden

Mike Hazas

Matthew Broadbent


Audio and video streaming and on-demand services have dramatically changed how, and how much, media is consumed. Streaming generally allows a much larger selection of content, and arguably greater convenience. Gaming is the latest medium to place delivery of content into the cloud, via services such as Google Stadia and NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Just as with video streaming, this new ease comes with a hidden cost from the infrastructure used to deliver it, including the hardware cost, engineering cost and the energy to power the data centres and communications networks. Although gaming is currently only 7% of global network demand, with more than 95% of that being made up of downloading content, the possibility of streamed games could rapidly change this network footprint. In turn, this affects the yearly growth of energy impact from IT services. We explore possible futures where growth of these services continues, and we illustrate the implications a decade from now with three possible future scenarios for shifts of gaming practices. Our analyses show that game streaming will cause significant increases in the energy and carbon footprint of games.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name ICT4S2020: 7th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability
Start Date Jun 21, 2020
End Date Jun 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2020
Publication Date 2020-06
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2022
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages 247-254
Book Title ICT4S2020: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability
ISBN 9781450375955
Public URL