Exclusive: Who is Cloud Gaming for?
Who is it for?
Cloud gaming is due to hit the world before long, and with the UAE, and even more specifically Dubai, becoming more enveloped in the gaming market (even having a stadium just for eSports in the works), gamers can be sure it’s going to affect the city in a big way, whether they use it or not. With that in mind, who better to talk about cloud gaming’s target audience than the first Arab-language video game commentator, influencer and YouTube star Ahmed Al Nasheet (aka DVLZGame)?
He starts off by asking ShortList a question: “Do you think it will work for this region?”
“That’s the thing I’m not sure about,” he answers himself. “They still don’t know what sector they’re promoting it for. It’s not for the hardcore gamers, because they are all in for the new PlayStation 5 or new Xbox. For those who want it for the 4K, they’re just going to go for PC. It’s a weird thing, and right now, I think it’s just an experiment to see who will go and grab it. With markets like Amazon and Apple even trying to jump into it, the market will shift to streaming, but I don’t know if the market is ready right now.
“A lot of people don’t trust streaming, especially with all the problems with Google, Facebook and Snapchat we’ve previously faced. If something happens to servers, which we know can happen, we won’t be able to play.
“Although, with an affordable price tag, I can see it working. A lot of TV’s right now come with Chromecast because it’s built-in, so we don’t need to worry about buying new equipment or connecting new hardware, it’s just your TV. People are interested, but there are a lot of things they may not be aware of.”
There’s still a bit of time before the big hitters like Google Stadia and Xbox’s new Project xCloud come out, with the Stadia slated to officially launch by November this year. However, it may still not be enough time for cloud gaming to truly take off.
“I think it might work in the next four years, especially for this region," he says.
"Think about it. It took how many years for people to shift from watching regular shows on their TVs to actually streaming them on Netflix? Content needed to change for that.
“For a content creator like me, do I need 35Mbps? Would I need 50Mbps? It’s up to Etisalat and du. I have fiber optics in my home, but when I’m downloading a game, streaming and uploading it to my account, it still struggles. Cloud gaming has a lot of potential, but they need to understand who their target audience is”
He isn’t the only one to think this, as operations manager at ITP Gaming, Megan Kemp has this to say: “Cloud gaming is in it’s infancy, although the same way streaming has dominated the entertainment industries – both music and movies - it’s only a matter of time before it takes over gaming. However with lack of servers, latency issues, it’s going to be a while before it starts trending in the Middle East.”
So, with all these big tech companies battling it out, and even giants like Sony and Microsoft partnering up to “explore joint development of future cloud solutions”, if cloud gaming does go somewhere, who would come out on top?
“I think the collage between the two giants, Sony and Microsoft, looks like the winning team, but look at Google. They own YouTube and YouTube Gaming gave us the first taste of playing Assassin’s Creed on a Google Chrome browser, and are an internet service provider in the US. On paper, the Stadia is going to be the winner. But with games and exclusives? It’s all about Sony’s PlayStation 5. This market is all about loyalty, so for those who haven’t played God of War or The Last of Us, they’ll probably pick up the Stadia. But everyone wants to play the new Hideo Kojima game, Death Stranding, or the God of War sequel, and you probably won’t get that on the Stadia.”
Cloud gaming will still be up against the traditional way of playing games, which is buying a disc or downloading a game, and playing it. Simple as. But Ahmed makes an interesting final point that will turn the tide of battle to cloud gaming’s favour.
“Recently Bungie made a deal with PlayStation so gamers who play Destiny 2 could use their account on any platform, making it completely cross-platform on any console, and it’s all for the Stadia. It means you can play Destiny 2 anywhere now without having to start from the very beginning. I think that’s going to happen for a lot of games, and that alone could make or break cloud streaming services. If Google is smart, and it works with Sony and Microsoft so you can take your account in your favourite game anywhere, people will get the Stadia.”