Thus far, cloud gaming has seen an interesting amount of growth, between OnLive’s resurrected service and the launch of Sony’s PlayStation Now for its PlayStation consoles and mobile devices. However, according to a report from VentureBeat, its growth could be even bigger in the forthcoming year.
With the expansion of streaming services — and Microsoft supposedly making plans to introduce its own cloud-based channel within the next few months — the cloud gaming market has potential, as it could reach nearly 150 million people. That would increase its current audience by five times.
This is according to information from Strategy Analytics, who believes that the audience for such services as PlayStation Now, Onlive and Nvidia’s recently announced Grid game streaming service would reach those kind of numbers, although certain factors, like pricing and quality of said service, could still come into play.
With the increase of cloud-compatible devices, including game consoles and tablets, more players would come on board to try such services, making them easy to play their favorite titles without needing to “hog” hard drive space.
Cloud gaming has seen its fair share of hurdles in the past, such as Onlive’s near-death experience in 2012 (which led to its recent restructuring with its new CloudLift Steam-enabled service, which now reaches audiences worldwide). However, with increased audiences in other Cloud services, such as streaming channels like Netflix, interest has been drummed up again. And bigger competitors like Sony and Nvidia indicate that there’s more to the market than some folks may realize.
Eric Smith, an analyst of home devices for Strategy Analytics, believes that “hardcore” players could be a key factor. “This puts cloud gaming in the PlayStation Store and the Nvidia Hub platforms, directly in front of some of the most committed gaming consumers as opposed to the average consumer, which are by and large content with mobile-gaming quality and genres, not usually core games on dedicated gaming devices,” Smith explained to VentureBeat.
Network lag issues could play a factor, but a large reach could still more than make up for technical hiccups. Michael Goodman, director of digital media strategies for Strategy Analytics, also stated, “2014 is proving to be a watershed moment with major players putting their credibility and brand names on the line to make cloud gaming work. While broadband speeds and consumer acceptance of subscription models have come a long way, access to content remains an issue for all services.”
He also added, “The major video game publishers have so far successfully managed an incremental transition from physical to digital media, but cloud gaming offers publishers a new revenue stream.”
We’ll see how the next few months play out — especially as Microsoft and Nvidia introduce their respective services to the public. The chart below also shows how well Sony and Nvidia could reach out to a potential market for the coming year, and you can see the increase as clear as day.