Nvidia’s GeForce Now is a cloud-based game-streaming service that was launched in
Electronic Arts acquired cloud gaming startup GameFly in 2018. A little later, Electronic
Arts announced their new cloud gaming program, Project Atlas.
Google unveiled Project Stream in 2018. Then Google announced, at the Game Developers
Conference 2019, Stadia, it is a game streaming platform. Stadia may be brought to Android
TVs by 2020.
Loud play announced an expansion of its cloud gaming service to Ukraine, Belarus and few other
Eastern Europe locations in 2018.
Microsoft unveiled Project xCloud in 2018, which aims to incorporate Microsoft Azure cloud
services into cloud gaming. In 2019, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft started
collaborating to develop cloud solutions across several divisions, including cloud gaming.
Apple Arcade was also announced this year.
You get the idea!
Big Tech is investing heavily in subscription-based cloud gaming – just as Netflix has for
film and web series. These platforms will seek out games developers to get content – just as
Technological advancements in cloud services have created incentives for Big Tech to go after
subscribers for content platforms for video content – film, web series … and esports.
Nowadays, playing a video game on the cloud (where the server is somewhere else) can be
just as good as a game played on a local server/equipment. The major platforms will improve
services and their cloud equipment to make gamers migrate to their platforms.
These platforms will seek out games developers to get content – just as Netflix has. They will
probably take some game development in-house. Competition between Netflix and its
competitors to get popular content such as Friends, Seinfeld, etc. is fierce. The same will play
out between the game streaming platforms. Except with gaming, a new phenomenon is
esports enthusiasts watching a pro-gamers play which will lead to more opportunity for the
game streaming platforms. Esports may, one day, overtake ‘physical’ sports as the most
followed form of entertainment.
Music, films, web series and, now, video games are driving investment in the streaming
What is it about video games or esports that attracts gamers in such large numbers? There are
regular esports tournaments being held worldwide, every month. Gamers seem to have their
own language and customs and are in a world of their own. PUBG and Fortnite are often in
the news. 4K gaming, virtual reality, AAA games, gaming hardware … and now blockchain
– which is perhaps the next big opportunity in gaming – a little more on this later on. The
technology is driving the growth - a higher resolution to HDR to 4K and now gaming is using
virtual reality technology. Game developers are pushing technology to the limit where cloud
providers, streaming services, virtual reality firms, screen tech firms are at the cutting edge to
provide gamers with better, faster gaming experience.
We’ve all heard about the blockchain, cryptocurrencies and now, blockchain gaming is
gaining in popularity and is showing its potential. Currently, it has its small but hardcore user
base. Blockchain games are decentralized and can issue digital tokens which can change the
nature of gaming giving new incentives to gamers. In some regular games, you can get
‘collectibles’ which have no value beyond the game. But in blockchain gaming converting
those ‘collectibles’ into digital tokens which may have some use outside of the game can add
value – and marketing opportunities for brands.
Blockchain gaming also creates a new paradigm for game developers in that there is more
transparency as users/gamers can more easily see the inner workings of a game. Updates to
blockchain games may be supported by some gamers or may create a ‘fork’ in the game,
thereby creating a different version of the game supported by other gamers. Many
decentralized games are already out there on public blockchains like Ethereum.
Blockchain gaming has its limitations, though, such as the low number of transactions per
second that can be done on blockchains which make for lesser user experience. This will
improve as blockchain technology improves with faster transaction speeds. With more
collaboration between blockchain techies and game developers, blockchain gaming will grow
and possibly become the mainstream. Also, once a game is put onto a blockchain, there may
be other social issues like those surrounding public blockchains, like the bitcoin blockchain.
Professional gaming or pro-gaming is fast catching on. The prize money for winning at
various esports tournaments is growing and may catch up with regular sports events. Can you
imagine when top esports players get the same fame and celebrity as those in Soccer, Golf,
Basketball, Tennis, Cricket, Formula 1? And just like regular sports, practice makes perfect,
if you want to become a pro-gamer. There are also team esports events and esports leagues.
The day will probably come when esports will be in the Olympic Games. Esports
tournaments will probably get the same viewers as the Super Bowl or Soccer World Cup.
This is the way gaming seems to be going.
Brands are taking notice at the huge number of gamers and their audiences and are creating
their own versions of their branded video games as a marketing opportunity. Earlier it was
merchandising, now film and series franchises are being re-created into video games also.
Sports franchises too. English Premier League (soccer) and Indian Premier League (cricket)
are just 2 examples. Sponsorship of pro-gamers, just like other sports stars and celebrities, is
India has a cult-like following of esports just like elsewhere with a weekly gathering of gamers
around the country playing and exchanging ideas and tips. Gaming, Bollywood, and Cricket
would make a great mix of entertainment, marketing, and revenue!