Managing Partner at Nair Ventures
The gaming industry is one which is growing at an unprecedented rate each year. The technological advancements that have taken gaming to a whole another level, also pushes different competitors to keep coming up with new concepts to blow teenage minds. Gone are the simpler days of Vice City or Counter Strike, the market is alight today with buzzwords like Cloud Gaming. Win or lose, you keep coming back for more.
When we talk about cloud gaming, we observe a delightful shift in the traditional requirements for hardcore gaming. There is no need for expensive gaming hardware or powerful graphics cards anymore; cloud gaming lets you play a game controlled by a remote server which does all the heavy work for you. All your PC is expected to do is to simply stream the audio and video of the game and help you enter the commands. Think of it as the “Netflix of gaming.”
To begin with, the one tech giant that sits on the gaming throne and is worshipped by gamers all around the world is undoubtedly Microsoft. With its Xbox franchise, Microsoft has changed the face of gaming for many. They are currently developing their xCloud which will enable high-quality streaming of console and PC-grade experiences to any screen.
Other companies like Sony and NVIDIA have come up with their own cloud gaming products like the PlayStation Now streaming service and Geforce NOW service respectively. They are veterans of the gaming industry and are now adapting to the changing times by focusing on cloud gaming, which almost everyone believes is the future.
Hold up, there is a new Sheriff in town. Upstaging all other competitors at the Game Developers’ Conference 2019, Google unveiled its big cloud gaming project, Stadia. It grabbed all eyeballs and hogged the entire limelight at the conference because of the vision of this project. What Google is offering is one vast platform for anyone and everyone to enjoy their cloud gaming service which is both technologically superior and also enjoys a greater reach.
Stadia is expected to break down all the barriers that previously ensured the sustenance of an exclusive gaming community who could afford the right equipment for gaming. Google’s use of the name ‘stadia’ which is the plural of the word ‘stadium,’ is again an indication of how the giant aims to make gaming a universal experience for all. While many may feel it is an ambitious undertaking, I feel it is absolutely possible for Google to emerge as the be all and end all of cloud gaming.
In the words of CEO Sundar Pichai,
Think about the way the web works. You can share a link and it works seamlessly. We want games to feel that way too.
Stadia envisions to be a one stop destination for all gamers which offers instant access to players. You can start playing the latest Assassin's Creed game just by clicking on a single ‘Play Now’ button. What makes this possible is the mass storage and computational power that Google has, along with their server infrastructure. There is simply no other competitor in the market at the moment, who can match that level of resources
Remember, there are always two sides to a story. While on the one side Stadia will be the harbinger of a gaming revolution that is much required in the market today, it will also destroy some traditional aspects of the current market structure due to its disruptive nature. One such stakeholder which will take a big hit is the hardware manufacturers for gaming consoles. If there is no need to possess high end gaming equipment to play games anymore, then the manufacturers will have to close shop soon enough.
Additionally, the other competitors will step up their game and try to come up with exclusive content that Google won’t be able to provide. For now, Google doesn’t have the kind of reputation or market position in the gaming space to lure in the top gamers to their product. Other giants will hold on to their signature games in the hopes of putting up a fight against this coup d’etat by Google.
It now remains to be seen how the other games fare, considering that Stadia is offering a never before seen set of incentives for instant gaming.
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