Cloud Gaming has some interesting new players
Cloud gaming services are beginning to take the market by storm, and the usual suspects (Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Sony’s Playstation Now) are already on the scene. While the big kids in gaming have certainly established themselves in the console space, some new faces have begun cropping up as well, one of them being Facebook.
Now that internet service providers are offering faster speeds at lower prices, cloud gaming has become a viable option for many gamers. While service in some rural areas may not be optimized for the streaming of a modern day video game, most city folk have suddenly found themselves with a cost effective way to access expansive libraries of games - from last gen classics and retro titles, to the latest and greatest - all on any gaming console of their choosing. Never before has there been a more intuitive way for gamers to access so much content.
Facebook has had a small stake in gaming since its early days with flash and HTML5 browser games such as Farmville. It seems that Facebook’s latest interest in cloud gaming has taken a different direction from existing cloud services with a focus on casual and free to play games. Facebook VP of Play, Jason Rubin, had this to say about the company’s new endeavor:
“We’re doing free-to-play games, we’re doing games that are latency-tolerant, at least to start. We’re not promising 4K, 60fps, so you pay us $6.99 per month. We’re not trying to get you to buy a piece of hardware, like a controller.”
Amazon steps into the cloud gaming arena
If you’ve been plugged in to recent cloud gaming news, some of the details in Rubin’s quote might ring a bell. Amazon launched their own cloud gaming service, Amazon Luna, in beta form at the beginning of October. Pledging 4k streaming on select titles, 100 different games at launch, a dedicated Amazon Luna controller, and an introductory price point of $5.99 a month, Luna immediately slated itself as a competitor to PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass.
Facebook has clearly distanced their service from the likes of Luna where Amazon seems to be after the enthusiast gamers, while Facebook is attempting to corner a more casual market.
Luna however, is launching with stiff competition. Established gamers who are interested in cloud gaming have already subscribed to their console’s cloud gaming service, and it will take an attractive offer - most likely more functionality at a lower price - for much of the market to be swayed. Microsoft and Sony have been earning the attention and recreational spending of Luna’s target market since the early 2000’s and late 90’s respectively, so Amazon could be looking at a steep uphill battle with this venture.
Switching it up
The other player which could prove a worthy adversary to Facebook and Amazon isn’t a cloud gaming service at all. Too frequently underestimated, Nintendo is already leading the mobile gaming market with their flagship Switch and the more compact Switch Lite. Out of the 65 million units sold since launch, every one of them can be used anywhere - one of the heavily touted features of both Amazon Luna and Facebook Gaming. Nintendo’s console is yet another way for gamers to play their favorite titles on the go, or on any screen in the house. Further, there is no internet connection needed once the desired game has been installed.
No market left untouched
Facebook and Amazon have been ambitious in their recent projects, and competition or not, the two companies are offering up interesting takes in a red hot market. While neither of them have been traditionally game-oriented, they have been successful in hammering home a lot of the major talking points of cloud-based gaming. One thing is for sure, Facebook has come a long way since Farmville, and Amazon continues to innovate at every turn. What do you think of these companies branching out into the gaming world? What market will they venture into next? We'd love to hear your opinion! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: (303) 536-5505.