The gaming industry has raced forward exponentially since first invading arcade spaces, with gamers now accounting for more than a third of the world’s population. That’s according to a study commissioned by InterDigital and conducted by ABI Research, which projected that half of the expected global population would be gamers by 2024. The infrastructure required to support such astronomical growth lives in the Cloud, coinciding with the introduction of 5G and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR). InterDigital’s new white paper, Cloud gaming: Enabling a next generation gaming and streaming paradigm, explains how to reap the bonuses and avoid the pitfalls of this rapidly emerging technology.
The immediate beneficiaries of Cloud gaming are the gamers themselves, whose gaming system of choice (whether that’s a personal computer, games console or mobile device) can enjoy the processing power of a high-end PC without the hardware costs. Add to that the potential for technologists and businesses looking to enter the $150 billion gaming industry, plus the sustainability benefits of sharing power in remote data centres, and Cloud gaming appears to represent a silver lining in an otherwise crowded marketplace.
The InterDigital white paper breaks down the confluence of the video streaming and Cloud gaming landscapes, noting the opportunity for repurposing established technology while recognising unique requirements around latency and content ownership. Early Cloud gaming business models suggest the viability of subscription models, albeit radically different from the video market. The costs and timeframes inherent in game development render a Netflix-type model impossible, even for an industry giant such as Google or Microsoft.
However, there is a unique opportunity in the Cloud gaming sector for the gamification of other (ie. non-gaming) content. From workplace collaboration to academia and even fitness, the potential to add gaming elements to untapped environments is not specific to Cloud gaming but is considerably enhanced by its increased flexibility in delivery and consumption. Meanwhile the high-compute requirements of immersive AR/VR applications can eventually be offloaded, while the arrival of 5G and the opportunities for network tie-ins are expected to grow the Cloud gaming industry further, as detailed in the white paper.
No technical revolution is without its challenges, but through constructive partnerships, Cloud gaming is on track to reach the next level, spurring cross-market impact for industry players and smooth action for billions of international gamers.
Download InterDigital’s Cloud gaming: Enabling a next generation gaming and streaming paradigm white paper here.