2020 will see the highly anticipated arrival of the next generation of video game consoles. Game enthusiasts across the globe are waiting with bated breath for the next sliver of information from the likes of Microsoft and Sony. This autumn we will see what the future of gaming holds. Or so we think.
In truth, many are anticipating the future of gaming to come from less likely suspects. As I said in a previous blog, quoti,.7ng Google, “the future of gaming is not a box; it’s a place”. The battlefield for the next generation of the console war will be in the cloud. And Google won’t be the only newcomer.
Amazon, Apple, and Facebook have all already heavily invested in gaming and 2020 might be the year they unveil their efforts.
Head in the clouds
The cloud isn’t new, both as a concept within gaming and in a wider sense. But its usage in gaming is about to see a significant increase from familiar faces in the industry and new ones from outside it. We’ve already mentioned Google who launched its Stadia service towards the end of 2019. Despite its rocky start, Google still seems committed to growing its library of games and the number of devices which can take advantage of it. And no doubt Microsoft’s xCloud will be a cornerstone of its next-generation plans along with its console the Xbox Series X.
But they won’t be the only competitors on the field. Amazon is already knee-deep in the world of games, now owning massively popular game streaming service Twitch. They are also working on a number of their own games and their website sums up their intentions: Amazon is all in on games.
What will prove to be a huge boon for them are their already established AWS servers. Many games already use these as the backbone of their own online servers, so it stands to reason Amazon will want to further the gains on their own cloud server investment. This strong foundation could even put them above Google; the strength of their servers might eclipse Google and solve the latency issues many report with Stadia. But as average internet speeds increase across the world, could their rivalry become the new Sony vs Microsoft?
A new challenger approaches
They won’t be the only ones in the fight though. Both Apple and Facebook have made their gaming intentions clear. In fact, all of the above companies draw in a significant amount of revenue through gaming. Apple’s comes from the App Store, with them taking 30 cents for every dollar. But now they have added Apple Arcade to their repertoire; a subscription service that offers cross-device compatibility akin to Stadia.
For just £4.99 a month, you can access a library of over 100 games made for mobile devices. While Apple aren’t yet looking to replace your home console like Google is, they are carving a niche for themselves which could serve as a jumping-off point in the future. Their service eliminates advertisements and shady microtransactions that plague other App Store games. They have created a wholesome closed environment which is – so far – one of a kind.
Then there’s Facebook, who acquired Oculus VR. They already had a storied history with gaming; for many, it was the gaming platform of choice if you had a penchant for virtual farming. But the purchase of Oculus signalled a serious move into the gaming world, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg setting the lofty goal of putting a billion headset in gamers’ hands.
The war to come
Google. Amazon. Apple. Facebook. Currently, these four companies stand as some of the biggest in the world. If they wanted, they could accumulate the money to dominate the market. In their own way, each has already invested in new technology and gaming studios to bring something exclusive to each of their services.
And each is backing something slightly different. Will the future of gaming be entirely in the cloud? Will a subscription service become the new norm? Or will VR finally reach the mass market? No doubt the solution will be a mix of everything, but the involvement of these companies will only serve to diversify the market and bring about newer, greater innovations for gamers across the globe.
People are ramping up for the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but these four companies are lurking in the shadows and may be about to bring about the true future of gaming.
At REALTIME, we’re ready for whatever the future holds. We know that no matter what, your games will always need first-class trailers that set the world on fire. If you want to talk about your upcoming project, get in touch with me at [email protected].