The Cloud Gaming Market 2020 - Half a Billion Dollars

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

It’s almost an understatement to say that 2020 has been a tumultuous year. For millions of people around the world and for countless industries, 2020 has been disastrous. But there are some industries that have thrived over the past 9 months. One of these is the cloud gaming market. In recent years, cloud gaming has been going from strength to strength and gaining hugely in popularity.

Even the cataclysmic events of 2020 haven’t been able to stop the cloud gaming market. The industry has continued to gain in popularity and get bigger. In fact, the cloud gaming market has now reached an estimated half a billion dollars for the first time, as predicted by research from newzoo.

Before we go into more details about this milestone, let’s explain some key definitions.

What is cloud gaming?

Video games and the video games industry has evolved completely and fully away from its origins. It’s even vastly different to what it was a few years ago. Once games were played on cartridges, then discs, and now digital downloads is the most prevalent form of ‘owning’ a game. However, there is a newer form of gaming which is likely going to overtake its predecessors, this is cloud gaming. 

Cloud gaming lets people play their video games, by making use of hardware in a different location to themselves. This hardware is usually a server that’s owned by a third party company. With digital downloads the video game is downloaded onto a player’s system and it is played locally on that device.

Cloud gaming differs from digital downloads because the game gets streamed over the internet to be played on a chosen device. This has quite big repercussions as it means that computers, phones, televisions and consoles can all play the games. These systems are no longer relying on their internal hardware to load and play the video games - instead the remote hardware takes care of the processes required to play the game - the user can then stream this onto their device. 

The process involved with playing via the cloud means that a constant internet connection is needed. All the data involved with you and the game is stored remotely on the servers and can only be accessed by an internet connection. 

Cloud gaming has also shook up the gaming industry by its business model. Most of the time, cloud gaming operates on a subscription basis. This means that people can pay either monthly or yearly to have access to the cloud and services, with games then bought as an additional charge.

Because cloud gaming is played remotely on hardware, the technical side of running and processing is often taken care of better than most individual gamers will. Hardware is upgraded regularly and removes the hassle of an individual person doing it. 

Why is cloud gaming so popular now?

There are a lot of factors coming together to make cloud gaming so popular in 2020. Probably the biggest factor in this equation is that technology has become good enough to make cloud gaming possible. Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud have made promises that games will be able to be played on devices with practically no latency, which once would have been unheard of. 

Alongside the technological element, cloud gaming is able to eliminate a lot of the ‘traditional’ issues people have with playing contemporary video games. Furthermore, cloud gaming is a lot more convenient. A gamer doesn’t have to move their console or PC between locations to be able to play their games, they don’t even have to redownload the game. They can simply pick up and play. 

With a large proportion of the world’s population in some form of lockdown this year, with movement restricted, and a lot more time on their hands, cloud gaming has been turned to by more and more people to entertain themselves. With low upfront costs and no need to buy expensive hardware to be able to play games, there has been a lower barrier of entry - meaning more people have picked up a controller or mouse to play new games.

While 2020 is predicted to be another year of growth for the cloud gaming market, there is still a lot of technology on the horizon that’s to come. The impact this could have on future years is still to be seen, but could mean even more excitement to follow the developments of cloud gaming in 2020.