It was an unprecedented one Year after [put something under the sun], and while many tech industries saw changes, distorted business models, and changed user habits, 2020 saw the gaming industry see many new ideas. However, the loudest trends don't always hold true.
This year, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon have done a lot of research on the new cloud streaming technology, which is moving the processing and computing of games to cloud-based servers and allowing users to play graphics-intensive content on low-power systems or play tracks without having to deal with long downloads.
It was heralded by business executives as a tectonic shift for gaming that would democratize access to the next generation of titles. However, upon closer inspection of the products based on this technology, it is difficult to see a future in which any of these subscription services will thrive.
Massive changes in gaming from year to year are rare, because even when a historically unique platform is launched or revealed, it takes a critical mass of developers time to gather and adopt something new – and longer for users to unite. Even in a year where major console manufacturers are launching historically powerful hardware, massive tech giants are pumping money into new cloud streaming technologies and gamers are logging more hours than ever before. It seems like not much has changed.
Even so, the gambling industry broke boundaries in 2020, although it is unclear where significant ground was gained. The most ambitious endeavors have been to redesign marketplaces in the image of video streaming networks to take a more coordinated move to encourage subscription growth and move away from an industry that for decades had been defined by one-time purchases that relied dramatically on single-player storylines shaped by internet networks and instant payment infrastructure software.
Today's products are a far cry from dead ends for what the broader industry is doing with the technology.
Player relocation from one-time purchases wasn't even the most fundamental game industry overhaul of the year, however, a space reserved for a coordinated move by the world's richest companies to end the console wars with an invisible competitor. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest games in this space come from the triumvirate of cloud services, with Google, Microsoft, and Amazon each making significant strides in the past few months.
The driving force behind this change is both the maturation of virtual desktop streaming and the continued evolution of developers towards online crossplay between gaming platforms, a trend that old platform owners have long resisted in order to maintain isolated network effects that prompted gamers to do so to buy the same consoles that their friends owned.
The cross-play trend has peaked in recent years as a company like Epic Games. Fortnite developed massive user bases that gave developers exceptional leverage in doing business with platform owners.
While a trend toward deeper crossplay laid the foundation for new ventures in the gaming world, it was the deepest pocket tech companies that pioneered the most concerted games to get a third party contender into the console wars.
It is already clear to many gamers that even in their early days, cloud gaming platforms fail to live up to their hype and standalone efforts are not technologically impressive enough to make up for the apparent lack of choice in content libraries.