Smartphones shaking up gaming market


Streaming games over the internet could affect gaming in the same way that Netflix has affected video

By streaming games over networks, and invalidating the need for expensive hardware, game streaming services could potentially eliminate the concept of gaming generations by making any portable device a viable gaming machine, according to a new report from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) group at Strategy Analytics.

The report assessed existing game streaming and download services to study the user experience issues that can arise from them. Streaming games over the internet could affect gaming in the same way that Netflix has affected video; but there are unique challenges that must be addressed for it to reach mainstream appeal.

Though game streaming could invalidate the need for bulky home consoles, proprietary controllers are still required. Since cross-platform games all feature different control schemes, the need for a universal standard is clear.

It is nearly impossible to guarantee an ideal game streaming service for everyone, which is problematic when the service comes with a monthly charge. Factors like bandwidth and latency are key issues, but other interruptions to a service can affect the overall user experience.

Games processed in the cloud are free from the limitations of hardware and could allow game developers to create experiences that would be otherwise impossible to achieve on aging hardware.

Mathew Alton, senior analyst and report author, commented: “Smartphones could become the next console. They already travel wherever the user goes and are becoming incrementally more powerful. Accessories like the Samsung DeX with game streaming services already allow smartphones to interface with larger screens. But true mobility will depend on 5G networks for the high bandwidth and minimal latency necessary. This is of course in addition to the right pricing model.”

Added Chris Schreiner, director, Syndicated Research UXIP: “But the continuity, accessibility and flexibility of games streaming will come at a price; namely in cost and quality. Game streaming will have to provide a superior experience at the right price. Hourly charges are unlikely to be popular, while tiered monthly offerings might provide a more compelling experience.”


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