The Future of Gaming
Some experts believe that cloud gaming will entirely replace the current gaming infrastructure as soon as the next generation. Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, which has made enormously popular games like Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry, is one of these experts.
“There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us,” Guillemot told Variety.
With the recent blockbuster releases of both the Xbox Series X console as well as the PlayStation PS5, it is clear that the market has not yet reached this point. However, these companies have already made big strides to enter an industry that was worth $320 million in 2019 and anticipated to grow to a value of $7.24 billion by 2027.
Playstation, for its part, has unveiled PlayStation Now, which provides users with hundreds of games on a subscription basis. Xbox, likewise, released Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming in 2020.
Some relative newcomers to the industry have also attempted to cement their place in the fledgling market. Google’s Stadia service can stream video games from popular developers Electronic Arts and Sega at up to 4K at 60 frames per second. Amazon has also announced its cloud gaming offering, dubbed Amazon Luna, that costs only $5.99 a month for unlimited play hours in an expanding slate of games on various platforms.
The coronavirus, however, has drawn attention to the fact that internet connectivity across the country can be sparse. This could be a liability for these cloud gaming companies, all of which boast high definition graphics capabilities that are entirely dependent on the existing broadband connections of the gamers themselves.
Still, the majority of Americans own a smartphone, which is where Apple, Facebook, and even Amazon have placed a large part of their focus. Amazon’s success in partnering with Apple for its Luna service has been in stark contrast to Facebook, who, due to Apple’s cloud gaming policies, has been unable to launch on iOS.
"Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource," said Jason Rubin, vice president of Play at Facebook. "Stay tuned as we work out the best way for people to play games when and how they want, regardless of what device they bought."
Facebook’s focus on free, ad-based funding of its ventures has been enormously successful in the past, and they stand to gain quite a bit from in-app purchases and ad revenue. Microsoft has also seen its revenue jump in response to the new developments, to the tune of a 22% increase in gaming revenue in the recently finished quarter, and a jump in Xbox revenue of 30%.
Importance of Feedback to the Growing Cloud Gaming Market
However, what the streaming companies’ successes come down to are not necessarily the size of the platform or its offerings, but customer satisfaction. Marc Whitten, vice president at Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services, sees Amazon’s move into gaming as an opportunity to hear from customers what they want out of their chosen gaming service.
"We are just getting started and need streamers and players of all kinds — core, casual, and first-time gamers — to provide feedback," he said.
In an increasingly online world, gaming is bound to follow. And, for consumers, the degree to which corporations listen to that feedback may make all the difference.
About the Author
Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.