Recently, the UK’s competition authority blocked Microsoft’s attempt to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for a record $68.7 billion. The CMA cited cloud gaming as its biggest reason for intercepting the merger, suggesting that the cloud gaming industry is growing at a record pace and that Microsoft would effectively be monopolising an emerging industry by gaining exclusive access to so many popular franchises on Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Is the CMA right? We don’t feel remotely qualified to pass judgement on that; after all, we’re not a competition and market authority! One thing we do agree with, though, is that cloud gaming is going to be the next big thing. While it’s not quite there yet – there are some teething problems to work out – there’s definitely huge potential for cloud gaming to take over the world, and here are just some of the reasons for that.
It’s got the potential to be much cheaper
If you want to buy a modern gaming console, you’ve got to shell out around £400 or more for the privilege. Buying a gaming PC is even more expensive; you’d have to take out a £1500 loan just for a basic model, and the amounts increase exponentially with the capabilities of the machine. By contrast, cloud gaming has the potential to be much cheaper than regular gaming because you don’t need to buy any dedicated hardware; you simply stream games from a central server or machine, so in theory, any machine with internet access could convincingly run cloud gaming services.
More companies are embracing it
Cloud gaming was once seen as something of a novelty by the gaming industry at large, but now, more and more companies are embracing it. The Nintendo Switch has many games available via cloud streaming due to underpowered hardware, and PlayStation and Xbox both have proprietary cloud gaming services as part of their subscription models. In addition, companies like Nvidia are offering cloud gaming subscriptions that allow you to play all kinds of modern games without needing access to powerful hardware, so it’s technology that’s being adopted en masse.
Non-gaming authorities are taking notice
While the UK’s CMA is technically responsible for competition and markets across every industry, it’s not specifically a gaming body. The CMA doesn’t necessarily possess the specialist gaming knowledge necessary to know exactly how big cloud gaming is going to be. Despite that, the organisation is still clearly taking notice of cloud gaming as a nascent industry, suggesting that cloud gaming is getting widespread attention from authorities. When non-gamers start paying attention to technology, that suggests it might well be about to go mainstream!
It complements mobile gaming perfectly
Projections estimate that the mobile gaming market is set to grow to around $221 billion by 2025, which is a staggering number indeed. It’s clear that many gamers are turning to their mobile devices to play games, using them to augment traditional console or PC gaming, and cloud gaming could slot alongside that strategy easily. Mobile devices already support cloud gaming; you can access Xbox Cloud Gaming, as well as other services, on your Android or iOS device, so it’s not a stretch to imagine Nintendo or Sony offering similar services in the future.
Predictions by analysts are optimistic
Don’t just take our word for it that cloud gaming is going to take off in a big way – trust the experts. According to Statista, the cloud gaming market is set to be worth about $20 billion by 2027, and it’s only going to grow from there. That’s a big part of why the CMA decided to block the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal; since the cloud gaming market is predicted to grow exponentially, it’s considered an emergent market, so it’ll be significantly more important in the coming years. Make sure you’re not sleeping on cloud gaming!
Consoles might be reaching their endgame
Every single console generation sees the same kinds of predictions being made. “Graphics are as good as they’re ever going to get,” go the naysayers. “There’s no way for games to look any better than this.” Of course, every subsequent generation tends to prove these people wrong, but there’s a certain truth in the idea that consoles might be reaching the point where buying one is going to feel more like an iteration than a huge leap forward. Cloud gaming could offer a convincing remedy to this problem; no longer will consumers need to keep buying more and more expensive hardware for incremental gains.
Logitech is releasing a cloud gaming handheld
Gaming companies are already sitting up and taking notice of the potential the cloud gaming revolution has to destabilise traditional gaming. Logitech, one of the most well-known gaming companies in the world, is currently in the early stages of launching a device called the G Cloud, which is a handheld console geared towards cloud gaming. It’s being created in conjunction with the Chinese gaming giant Tencent, and it’s specifically intended for cloud gaming thanks to its in-built support for services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Geforce Now.
These are just a few of the reasons we believe that cloud gaming is going to take over the world. While it’s hard to imagine it replacing traditional hardware right now – and there will always be a group of hardcore gamers who would rather play their games on their own machines – the streaming revolution has already come to near enough every other medium, so it’s just a matter of time before it reaches the world of gaming as well.
Read Next: Best GTA Helicopters of All Time