Game streaming has been poised to revolutionise the gaming industry. By streaming games over networks, and invalidating the need for expensive hardware, game streaming services could potentially eliminate the concept of gaming generations by making any portable device a viable gaming machine. Moreover, streaming games over the internet could affect gaming in the same way that Netflix has affected video. But to do this, there are unique challenges that must be addressed for it to reach mainstream appeal.
A new report from the Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Strategies (UXS) service, Cloud Gaming: User Preference for Smartphones & Tablets, surveyed consumers in the US, UK and China investigate user preferences for cloud-based gaming subscription services when using smartphones and tablets. Consumers in China play games on their smartphones and tablets more than any other region regardless of age or brand of smartphone; subscription rates are also much higher.
Commented UXIP director and report author Diane O’Neill, “With cloud gaming, high-end PC games can run on tablets or computers without licensed operating systems (e.g. Windows). However, ensuring an acceptable quality of service is difficult; high bandwidth and low latency is critical, but with 5G, the mobile gaming experience will continue to improve. But there is a disconnect in other global regions. While frequency of play and subscriptions are both high in China, despite comparable daily rates in frequency of play in the US and UK, subscriptions in these regions are low – more than 60 per cent of consumers in both the US and UK do not subscribe to any service compared to less than 20 per cent of consumers in China. The two biggest issues for every cloud gaming service are one) having the new releases most desired by gamers and two) exclusivity to the newest and most desired games to differentiate themselves from the competition. Each of these factors will drive subscriptions. Service providers must provide more compelling content, experience and subscription structure to encourage consumers to subscribe and be retained; and this is particularly true of the current subscription rate in the US and UK.”
Added UXIP VP Kevin Nolan, “But, the cloud gaming industry is changing, especially with the introduction (e.g. Amazon Luna) or removal (e.g. Google Stadia) of branded offerings from providers. Stadia has been refocused into a technology platform for industry partners; its dependence now rests on consumers subscribing to games which license Google’s white-label version of Stadia. While cloud gaming is not a new industry, continued hindrances by technology and infrastructure limitations for the last 20 years suggests that there is more to be done to overcome the persistent challenges that can deliver an experience that is not only compelling, but also financially viable.”