Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Netflix of Games is coming

Microsoft vs. Amazon will face-off in an epic pursuit of rising vertical worth $Billions

The future of gaming in the Cloud in a 5G world is granted, pretty epic.

Microsoft is building a service that intends to be the “Netflix for games. The problem is, so is Amazon. Now these companies are pretty friendly with partnerships, but here is one domain neither can afford the other to get too far ahead in.

Streaming Games is the Future

As convenient as portals like Steam and Twitch are, they aren’t the end-game. Amazon is working on a video game streaming service, like Netflix but for video games, according to a new report in The Information. Of course, we’ve known this for quite some time.

The subscription fees for such a service alone is mouth-watering to the evolution of the Cloud at the intersection of gaming. So just how big is this market really? The video games industry generated nearly $135 billion in 2018. With the convenience of streaming, this could sour in the 2020s as countries like China regulate it more seriously, platforms like Amazon and Microsoft can definately evolve a global base of users.

The concept is hard to believe, but as the Sony’s PlayStation Now, the new service from Amazon will reportedly allow players to stream games rather than having to buy and download individual titles.

Indeed, multiple jobs listings spotted by The Verge point to Amazon building just such a service. Microsoft thinks it can be a gaming ubiquitous service as well, where its “ Project xCloud,” is to stream high-end video games to any device.

Let’s face it though, this “Netflix of Gaming” concept is also a threat to developers and independent studios. As tech companies become monopolies in new industries that make their Cloud rule even more sustainable, a lot of little guys will be out of business. Think about what that means for innovation in the gaming industry and all of these creative developer type jobs.

Sony’s PlayStation Now largely obtained its infrastructure from two companies that Sony purchased: OnLive and Gaikai. Let’s not forget a little company called Google that will also be vying for its place with its Project Stream initiative. Tencent had a brutal 2018 in its gaming sector, largely due to conditions outside of its control. It too is a likely leader in this sector of gaming streaming of the future.

Whatever we’d like to think, this isn’t the democratization of gaming, its the tech oligarchy centralization how distribution will work in the future. As Netflix did with TV shows and movies, and Spotify did with music, a gaming platform could offer customers a wider universe of content through a monthly subscription, while giving game studios a steady revenue stream and a broader pool of potential customers. In techno-capitalism we only care about convenience, and this poses many ethical challenges for how technology evolves in 2019 and onwards.

Trust me, gaming studios are not the winners here. Consumers and monopolies are and to pretend anything else is dishonest PR. In a 5G world of greater convenience, where does “immersion” become itself problematic and unethical for humanity to well, remain human? Is time spent on Netflix or gaming, time well spent? We don’t seem to ask ourselves these simple questions often enough.

While it’s exciting to witness the evolution of the Cloud and as gaming advances surprisingly slowly — a world where we can stream anything and everything, isn’t a more noble and beautiful existence; it’s simply a more addictive one. That won’t stop Microsoft or Amazon from cashing in, Gen Z adores gaming and it’s a might big cohort.

Streaming services in gaming represent a potentially significant shift in the video gaming business and could in theory eliminate the need for players to purchase expensive hardware, such as consoles or PCs, to run the most elaborate titles. Sounds incredible, right? Technology becoming more invisible, doesn’t mean humans are any more empowered.

So I interact with my smart speakers about as much as I do with my mobile device, but that’s still time in theory I could be interacting with actual humans. But I’m not, I’m being programmed to rely more on technology. Tech companies and the future of the Cloud are creating an alternative world, which is less about the individual, the community, the tribe or society at large, but about speed of dopamine gratification.

By Michael K Spencer
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