Right now, a confluence of events is happening all at once and could change the direction of the gaming industry forever. The Corona lockdown, hard to get next-gen consoles and high-end graphics cards right before the holidays & the wide-spread availability of Cloud Gaming options from Microsoft, Google, Nvidia and Amazon will change the industry forever because of one key factor – Access.
2020 was a big year for gaming
The Corona lockdown hurt many families economically and also saw knowledge workers working from home sometimes with their kids learning from at home as well. We are had more time available to play games in a year when the gaming platforms multiplied. Even if you didn’t buy a console this year, subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now, Nintendo Online, Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade expanded game availability to a wider array of platforms than ever before. These subscriptions also lowered the barrier to gaming in ways not seen in the gaming industry before. We also spent a record number of hours watching others play games on services like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and others.
Now during the holiday season when families are buying consoles for Christmas, or PC gamers are looking to install a brand-new high-end graphics card, this year the availability is highly constrained leading some to seek out the new kid on the block – Cloud Gaming.
Cloud Gaming is maturing at a moment when gamers need it to. Now families can subscribe to one of the many services from Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Google’s Stadia, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Amazon’s Luna. For between $5-$15 per month, you can have access to a huge library of AAA titles on nearly any device. When we say nearly any device, we mean devices of any platform like iOS/iPadOS, Android, ChromeOS, Windows & Linux. As long as you have access to a web browser and a controller you can play AAA titles. The power of the web is on full display with cloud gaming and for iOS/iPadOS devices the only hope. Apple’s App Store restrictions is forcing all these companies to build a web app instead of a native app.
Cloud Gaming offers users more choice since there is no hardware platform lock-in. If Google’s Stadia isn’t doing it for you, you can try Amazon’s Luna or Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass or others. Today if you own a PlayStation, Nintendo Switch or Xbox you can only buy and play the games made available to your platform. There are some exceptions with some studios choosing to make games available to every platform including Windows 10, but there are way too many platform “exclusives” that leave you feeling excluded.
The best of both worlds
Today you can own a console & stream games from it with the Xbox platform. Xbox Game Pass enables you to own your own xCloud server by using your own Xbox and streaming games you own or Xbox Game Pass games to your mobile devices inside and outside your home. This is something that Google and Amazon cannot match because they currently do not offer a physical game console. This may end up being a bridge to a total Cloud Gaming future, but right now we think it is the best of both worlds.
What game console are you buying next or are you going all in with Cloud Gaming? Let us know in the comments below.