Cloud gaming: The new racetrack for Amazon, Google and Microsoft
According to CNBC, Microsoft has long been a strong game company. The tech giant released its amazing Xbox in 2000, and in October 2018 it announced the launch of a cloud gaming experiment starting this year to expand the ways and places for customers to play games.
Microsoft's Project xCloud will work on many mobile devices. The announcement of this project followed the acquisition of PlayFab in January 2018. This is a startup that provides developers with cloud-based gaming tools.
Amazon often keeps quiet about ambitions in the market. However, The Information reported on 11 January that the company had just talked to many publishers about launching games on a new service, as early as 2020. The project is based on many efforts that Amazon has made previously to support game developers.
Meanwhile, Google has begun testing cloud-based gaming services called Project Stream with a limited number of users.
This is the latest examples of how the three major US infrastructure firms apply technology to develop new businesses: Encouraging customers to bring storage and computing needs to the cloud so that these customers could do more without relying on any expensive hardware.
However, these three companies do not have the same starting point. In the game segment, Microsoft inherently has the advantage of home field. "Amazon is not a gaming company. Google isn't. Sony is a gaming company, but they don’t have a cloud presence," said Former CEO of cloud game company OnLive, Steve Perlman. "Then you have Microsoft - Microsoft has both of those things."
Perlman knows many challenges in this market. He founded OnLive in 2007, eventually selling the business to Sony in 2015, a year after the Japanese company announced its PlayStation Now service. Previously, Perlman also had sold WebTV to Microsoft and some members of this group used to participate in the developing process of game console Xbox 360.
When Perlman had just entered the online gaming arena more than a decade ago, gamers could play by connecting to remote servers, but this activity had not yet reached the mass market. Apple and Google were not yet companies that dominate the app store market, and publishers had not focused much on developing games on the cloud.
However, the technology back then attracted some users. Although it was still sometimes late in some highly competitive game situations, OnLive ran tests and realized that users often could not distinguish the difference between running games remotely and running games locally. At this point, Microsoft was more interested in selling game consoles. The company told Perlman that cloud gaming was not its goal.
"We had some conversations with them", Perlman continued his talk about Microsoft and cloud gaming. "It just wasn’t a place they wanted to go."
But the situation is very different now. Microsoft is now primarily in the cloud business. In addition to the existing relationships with many game companies such as Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive, the company has also invested heavily in cloud infrastructure.
"At least in theory, I think they could do it," said Perlman.
By: Jonath Martin