What’s the lowdown on gaming up high (in the cloud)?

Amazon and Google are trying to break into gaming. They’re not doing a great job.


July 7, 2021

Source: Microsoft

If you want, you can play 1993’s Doom on an Ikea smart lamp. Cool, but what about playing any game on, say, your phone?

With cloud gaming, you don’t download or install games — you stream them like you stream shows on Netflix, (ideally) without sacrificing quality.

The global gaming industry is huge

Revenue hit ~$180B in 2020, nearly double the film industry.

Now, gaming analyst Rupantar Guha thinks it’s “a crucial time for cloud gaming to gain mainstream prominence.”

But if there’s one thing Big Tech ain’t great at…

It’s probably cloud gaming:

  • Google launched Stadia in November 2019, but has since shut down its internal game developer division.
  • Amazon launched Luna in September 2020, but has failed to gain traction despite spending $500m annually.

On the other end, Microsoft has a hit on its hands with Game Pass, its Xbox streaming product. It just launched on Apple and PC devices, and is projected to hit ~30m subscribers by year-end.

This shouldn’t be a surprise: Xbox launched in 2001 and has blockbuster franchises — like Halo — which Google, Amazon, and Ikea lack.

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