Since its appearance in the 1960s and its progression with the rise of microcomputing, video games have regularly benefited from advances in the digital world. While cloud game streaming technology is reshuffling the cards of the gaming app industry and 5G promises to accelerate its democratization, let’s take a closer look at its contributions in terms of convergence, uses, and economic models.
How does cloud technology in gaming work?
Cloud is foraying in the gaming industry, allowing the user to stream high-end games on portable devices, such as laptops, tablets, and mobiles, with fast network connectivity. Thus eliminating the need for regular hardware upgrades of Console/PC/Laptop. These factors are expected to have a positive impact on the growth of the market. Moreover, making the most of cloud technology in the gaming industry will likely fuel the demand and engagement of multiple players for different games, thereby driving the market’s growth over the forecasted timeline.
Cloud gaming, considered a revolution in the gaming industry, is expected to break down the existing barriers of cost and platform. It is also likely to linger well with 5G. Cloud gaming platforms are expected to have multiple benefits cloud gaming for gamers, who will have access to various high-quality titles without the need for expensive hardware. Developers, publishers, and platforms will see more profits with greater reach and more ways to monetize their cloud solution services. However, companies owning most value chain elements, from intellectual property to infrastructure, will benefit the most and other game genres.
The emergence of cloud gaming has also dwindled the constant need for hardware upgrades, and gamers worldwide will be able to play cloud games on their existing devices. Along with future devices, which may have low specs but can host games that could be played on the cloud. The most significant opportunity for vendors in this specific segment is to access smartphone gamers, who make up a substantial portion of the gaming audience and prefer to play P.C. and console games on their mobile devices easily.
Cloud gaming platforms, such as Google Stadia and PlayStation, are already prevailing in the market; they mainly target console and PC gamers. With the launch of 5G services in several countries, cloud gaming services are also expected to rise, leveraging mobile ubiquity and fast 5G connections to deliver AAA-quality gaming to users. Of smartphones. Cloud gaming services and mobile network operators will also drive the global adoption of cloud gaming on mobile devices.
Advantages of Cloud Gaming
- No device limitation
Most non-mobile video games are tied to specific consoles and PCs (often Windows). They cannot work on other devices, so they can only be used by the part of the population that has access to those devices. Cloud gaming services allow games to be more platform-independent. PCs and tablets running Linux, iOS, Android, and Chrome O.S. operating systems can play games that previously could only run on Windows devices.
- Game Security
Cloud gaming systems store user data on secure servers. Data is also transferred over secure connections, eliminating the risk of hacking. In addition, game data is stored in the cloud, eliminating the hassle of backing up data locally.
By prioritizing user and game data security, players are less concerned. They can enjoy their favorite games knowing that no one can access their private data.
The highly scalable platform allows high-level video games to be played on low-end devices. In addition, the limitation caused by processing power, graphics capacity, and memory storage has been removed through the cloud platform, giving users a fantastic gaming experience.
With the arrival of Cloud Gaming technology, video games are at the dawn of a third revolution marked by:
- Ultra availability – This is the possibility for everyone, everywhere, and all the time to indulge in the joys and pleasures of video games. This promise is about to be fulfilled, among other things, to the deployment of 5G. But also to the ability of Cloud Gaming solutions to adapt to bandwidth constraints, particularly in emerging countries where economic and low bandwidth barriers have long restricted access to video games.
- Ultra pricing – Marked by various economic models: unit purchase, unlimited subscription, the introduction of an NFT digital currency to obtain virtual objects, freemium, more or less immersive and personalized advertising spaces, all of which correspond to as many user profiles. They will carefully but surely relegate to the background the ecosystems associated with console-type media and the closed ecosystems symbolized by the Apple App Store.
- Ultra playability – Servers manage sophisticated games in agnostic mode, strong players’ involvement from game creation to participation in metaverses, and disappearance of social, demographic, and geographical boundaries.
- Ultra convergence – Video games inspire and aspire other artistic forms and converge with other disciplines, such as the medical field, which has integrated them into the therapeutic area (neurology, autism, cancer).
One of the most striking examples of this convergence is the development of virtual concerts. The most recent example of experimentation in this area is the rapper Travis Scott’s concert on the Epic Games license: Fortnite. By launching a game, players could enjoy a creatively staged virtual show in which they could move freely around the avatar of the star in a performance made using motion capture techniques.
Cloud Gaming Market Overview
The Cloud Gaming Market was valued as per Verizon at USD 612.31 Million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 5370.37 Million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 45.2% during 2021- 2026. These platforms increasingly attract hundreds and thousands of new visitors to online traffic. According to the Verizon study, there was a 115% increase in gaming usage in the U.S. alone compared to a general day before COVID-19. Live streaming services and online gaming platforms furthermore pursued to break their concurrent user records in March and April 2020. An increase in gaming traffic was observed during peak hours of 75% last year.
Cloud Gaming Trends
The evolution of cloud gaming tech in the gaming industry allows users to stream high-end games to smartphones with fast network connectivity, thus eliminating the need for regular hardware upgrades or game consoles/PCs/laptops.
The growing demand for mobile games is a direct result of various technological advancements in cloud gaming, such as A.R., V.R., and 5G. This trend is not surprising, given that the mobile cloud gaming industry is mainly based on new technologies. A Mobile Video Industry Council survey suggests that mobile operators expect cloud gaming to drive 25-50% of 5G data traffic by 2022.
App Annie’s State of Mobile in 2020 report suggests that mobile is positioned as the most popular gaming platform, holding over 55% market share and recording over $100 billion in gaming consumer spending across all app stores in 2020, with 80 billion mobile game downloads. In addition, the total number of mobile game downloads in 2020 saw an 18% year-on-year growth from 2019. The report additionally suggests that cloud gaming is set to become increasingly relevant on smartphones, coexisting with the global mobile games arena.
The inception of 5G and the arrival of vast data plans are also expected to be critical factors contributing to the success of cloud gaming globally. In addition, surging services and investments in 5G infrastructure are imminent for this success. As per Ericsson, the aggregate of 5G mobile subscriptions in the Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to reach 1,545 million by 2025.
Utomik BV, NVIDIA Corporation, Numecent Holdings Ltd, RemoteMyApp SP ZOO, and Parsec Cloud Inc. are the major companies operating in the cloud gaming market.
The future of video gaming
Cloud Gaming is the future of video gaming because it offers many advantages for gamers and publishers. It is in tune with the times and its consumption patterns, in addition to being very accessible and reaching a vast number of potential consumers.
There are still significant irregularity in internet connection, even in developed countries. Cloud Gaming services are very greedy and will need some changes before this service is available and operational everywhere and for everyone.
New services will have to emerge and take market share against well-established players such as PlayStation and Xbox physically, or Shadow, Vortex, or GeForce Now, for example.
The competition will also have a substantial impact on the cost. It will be too expensive to combine a physical console and its games and a subscription to a Cloud Gaming service (and its games). Unless one of the players decides to make their platform available for free, combining subscriptions to enjoy the exclusive games of each platform will be effortless.
All this will have to be done by putting the consumer in confidence concerning an immaterial product on which property rights will have to be considered.
What started as a data storage platform is now integrated into all areas of the digital world. Games are used for entertainment, but they greatly help our mental and motor development. With the arrival of more sophisticated technologies and tools, analysts believe it will be almost impossible for the gaming industry ever to face a decline. By 2025, it is estimated that the gaming industry will earn $300 billion. Many people will find them associated in some way with this industry, and it will become one of the key players in the global economy. Just look at the number of streamers who have appeared in recent years on platforms like Twitch and who allow them to live from their passion thanks to donations and sponsors: more than a hobby, it’s a real career that offers itself to them.
The global gaming industry will continue to grow in the coming years, and it is difficult to predict its decline any time soon. With the arrival of key companies, the world will see more games and franchises develop. Although this game industry stimulates the global economy, these games must be a source of development, harmony, and benefits for future gamers.
[Also Read: How to create a successful gaming app?]
Appinventiv’s Cloud Gaming Development Services
Appinventiv’s cloud solution services supercharge our clients to build, run, and grow the games. In addition, our quality mobile game development services, such as Game Analytics, A.I., ML & Deep Learning, pave the way to build game development pipelines for distributed teams working remotely.
Our Game Analytics support comprises of:
- Stylistic analysis
- Space-time analysis
- Gender analysis
- Narratological analysis
- Cognitive analysis
- Mimetic analysis
- Intertextual analysis
- Social analysis
- Rhetorical analysis
- Analysis of ideology
AI, ML & Deep Learning
We are investigating how to combine machine learning with Unreal Engine’s Environment Query System (EQS) to update behavior trees for adaptive gaming. The main idea is to keep the interpretability and reliability of A.I. decisions coming from behavior trees while taking advantage of a data-driven approach to update specific values in the tree based on the current game state.
We introduce an adaptive game A.I. approach to learn the optimal difficulty from game data. The approach is based on machine learning (ML Machine Learning) as well as game A.I. tools such as Behavior Trees (B.T.) and Unreal Engine’s Environment Query System (EQS). Our formalism is inspired by reinforcement learning, an ML formalism that allows training agents to play video games in the context of automated game testing, where they can compete and win against players in games like Starcraft II or Dota 2. The goal of our work, however, is not to produce unbeatable agents but to build an A.I. for the enemy that is intuitive to understand and adequately challenging to play against. The main idea is to execute the expressability and dependability of A.I. decisions coming from B.T.s while taking advantage of a data-driven approach to update some tree values based on the current game state.
To achieve this goal, we trained an artificial neural network that learns to predict the player’s behavior from several game replays. These predictions are calculated in real-time with a runtime inference (ONNX) and used to update enemy B.T.s dynamically. Such predictions can be, for example, “what is the probability of picking up an object soon? “or” what is the probability that the enemy captures the player or the player soon? “. Thus, the game difficulty can be adapted in such a way that in hard mode the enemy moves towards certain places of threat, while in accessible mode, the enemy would be less aggressive and move further from the player or of the player.
We presented a novel approach mixing game A.I. tools with ML to create adaptive pursuit behavior. And to personalize the discovery process to generate player predictions for LTV, churn probabilities, or purchase probabilities. Our ML-based EQS test can perform analysis of game situations to control game difficulty by allowing the query system to prioritize points with low, medium, and high danger values. The performance of the testers in a simple hiding game indicates that our approach makes it possible to modulate the game’s difficulty effectively.
We are currently investigating how to include other game event predictions in our test EQS. More specifically, our model also predicts the collection of collectibles, which could be used to create defensive behavior: the enemy moves to protect locations around the next items the player is likely to collect.
However, a preliminary exploration of this defensive behavior revealed a solid bias to move to certain corners of the map to defend particular objects. It then becomes simple to go and collect all the other things and practically impossible to manage this last object, which results in a boring game. This contrasts our test based on capture events, where experiments show that the enemy explores the scene seamlessly. It will be necessary to overcome this bias to use item collection predictions to produce new game mechanics, such as alternating between intense chase episodes followed by defensive item-protecting behaviors. This idea is inspired by the alternation between chase and scatter modes used in Pac-Man to keep the player in a state of flow. We are doing research to find ways to overcome this bias in our item collection predictions and discover how other game events can fit into our framework for an engaging game experience.
[Related Article: How AI is Propelling the Gaming Industry into a New Epoch]
Appinventiv is a leading managed cloud services provider and gaming development organization. We have subject matter experts who understand data and its related concerns like no other. We could be your ideal partners because we provide you with skills such as commitment, confidentiality, flexibility, and ownership of each project or collaboration.
Q. What factors facilitate consumers’ willingness to utilize cloud-gaming-services?
A. Providing service that goes beyond the consumers expectations will increase their willingness to use cloud-gaming-services.
- Offering customization to consumers increases their likelihood to use cloud-gaming services.
- As a driver, options of social interaction between players can be an advantage for the new service and capture consumers attention and raise interest.
Q. Have you ever provided customization / personalization options for any gaming projects?
Yes, we offer building customized playlists and change in design layouts as a cloud gaming service-provider.
Q. What is your take on the overall idea behind cloud gaming?
A. Cloud-Gaming is at its heart a streaming service but for games, similar to Netflix. Most “Services” like that come with special service offerings from us.
Q. What is your position towards gaming-related-content in the internet, do you pay attention to it?
A. As you are aware of the concept behind cloud-gaming we would like to share with you our perceptions and impressions over a discovery call.
Q. The technology behind cloud-gaming is the same. Among cloud gaming providers each company offers some differentiation features to their customer. What does AppInventiv offer?
A. We provide fully customizable cloud-computers that are optimized for gaming.