E3 and the future of the $70bn gaming industry
Running from the 11th to the 13th of June, and held in the grandiose Los Angeles Convention Center, the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (known as E3) is the definitive gathering place for lovers of gaming and electronic entertainment worldwide. This year’s convention featured game demos, announcements of hotly-anticipated releases, and a surprise Keanu Reeves appearance. With the global video games industry surpassing $70bn in 2018, carving out and maintaining a place at its leading edge is big business.
In the same way that arcade games like Nibbler and Donkey Kong gave way to the home console, the mobile phone is taking steps to claim the throne of the world’s favourite gaming platform from the likes of the Xbox and Playstation. Of all gaming revenue generated in 2018, over half came from mobile gaming.
In order to better compete against the dominance of mobile gaming, and harness both the ‘as-a-service’ revolution and the power of the cloud, both Google and Microsoft are in the developmental stages of a cloud-powered game streaming service. Microsoft demoed its xCloud product at E3, highlighting a coming shift in the way that games are delivered to customers. As described by The Verge, the race to become the “Netflix for games” is on and hotly contested.
According to the report, “people increasingly want to experience games the same way they experience other facets of entertainment, with instant access to a breadth of options. Demand for physical games has bottomed out, affecting mega chains like GameStop, as more people move to digital.”
Using Microsoft’s dedicated cloud technology, the xCloud can reportedly stream existing Xbox games to mobile devices at 60 fps in 720p resolution, a huge benchmark for gaming experiences.
In addition to changing the way in which games will be delivered to future audiences, cloud-based games could also be developed at a much higher level of power and computing consumption, as software could be effectively run through multiple consoles strung together.