There seems to be a lot of concern regarding the state of cloud video gaming ever since Google announced it was closing its internal Stadia studios on Feb. 1, 2021.
But not all hope is lost — far from it. With physical video games declining in market share and digital games increasingly requiring more storage space, cloud gaming should see a rise in interest.
Google Stadia, launched in 2019, promised to provide high-quality video games on any PC or compatible smartphone. Your favourite games could now be in your back pocket or your laptop bag. You no longer need a physical copy or large digital files on your computer to play the latest big release. Basically Netflix, but for video games.
But that pitch failed to connect with consumers, and the torch is now being carried by two new cloud gaming giants — Amazon and Microsoft.
Earlier this month, on March 1, Amazon Luna was released after spending nearly 16 months in beta. The subscription service costs $6 USD a month and provides PC and smartphone gamers with access to a wide catalogue of games. Users can then spend extra for other video game bundles, as well.
Luna is trying to avoid a similar fate to Stadia by providing cheaper bundles so gamers can choose which games to play based on their tastes and budgets.
But the company most poised to succeed Google Stadia is Microsoft with the Xbox Game Pass. Launched for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on Nov. 17, 2021, Xbox Cloud Gaming lets Game Pass subscribers play the hundreds of games that the service offers without downloading anything.
While many detractors could point towards Stadia’s lack of subscribers and swift decline as a reason why cloud gaming cannot succeed, Amazon and Microsoft could prove them wrong. The need is there, and so is the technology. Cloud gaming is still a relatively new idea, and it hasn’t reached its full potential yet.
Gamers don’t want physical discs or large download sizes, and the ability to switch to gaming on the go is a luxury that many players love to have. Cloud gaming not only has a potential market, but it is being supported by major companies that are going all-in.