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Published on February 26th, 2021 | by minshewnetworks


Will Cloud Gaming’s Distribution Impact Steam’s Long-Term Existence?

When the concept of cloud gaming began to gain traction during the late-2010s, many expected that it would seamlessly establish itself within the industry. However, at the time of writing, concerns are mounting that the technological breakthrough will instead upset various aspects of the gaming sector. Although it’s perhaps too early to label the development as a concept lacking in longevity, it’s worth analyzing whether such worries are fair. So, is cloud gaming here to stay?

A Potential Hindrance to Future Growth

According to a report by GlobalData, there are three main areas of concern regarding cloud streaming services and their impact on the gaming industry. First and foremost, the study details that distribution will significantly be affected over the coming years. Because of the way in which cloud services deliver titles to gamers, the directness may negatively impact the long-term existence of highly-popular channels, such as Steam. In the case of Steam, the platform isn’t just a games launcher, it’s also a distribution service. As such, Valve’s development generates revenue through third-party sales.

Source: Pixabay

Because of that, Steam is somewhat at the mercy of third-party desires. At present, the Valve creation is undoubtedly one of the most attractive platforms on the market from a distribution standpoint. However, that could change throughout the next decade. According to Verdict, cloud gaming is forecast to record a market worth of $30 billion in 2030, which marks a 40 percent compound annual growth rate from 2020. However, NVIDIA’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, believes that streaming will never replace PC gaming, predominantly because it’s merely trying to replicate physical gaming.

Along with distribution, consumption and monetization are the other two leading concerns. In relation to Steam, few can argue that PC consumption hasn’t been at the heart of the console’s ever-growing popularity. Due to the cost-effective, user-friendly nature of streaming alternatives, gamers will no longer need to own high-powered, costly computers. As such, this may adversely affect Steam’s revenue figures concerning high-spec titles. If players can enjoy the latest releases with more mobility and at reduced costs, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that users will opt to swap PCs for cloud streaming.

More Than a Flash in the Pan?

There can be no doubt that cloud streaming services have the potential to be the future of the gaming industry. However, it remains to be seen if the concept can seamlessly co-exist with other platforms, such as consoles and PCs. Fascinatingly, it speaks volumes about the forward-thinking alternative’s lucrativeness that, aside from leading players in the industry, such as Microsoft, the likes of Amazon are also striving to explore the potential of cloud gaming. Their creation, Luna, makes modern-day gaming more social, as it allows players to instantaneously play games from Twitch.

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In terms of web-powered gaming platforms, the online casino industry may provide an insight into how successful cloud streaming will become. Although both sectors are distinctly different, their digital cores make their foundations somewhat comparable. Following the rise of digitalization, online casino gaming has reached new heights. As such, many of the best VIP bonuses at casino sites for Arabic players are accessible via an array of devices, including desktops and PCs. Because of this variation, prospective players can remotely earn loyalty points at sites like Spin Casino and 22BET. In turn, this opens the door to numerous perks, such as unique promotions, faster payout times, and exclusive access to games.

While added mobility hasn’t hindered the online casino market’s growth, heightened exclusivity may provide the key to cloud streaming’s sustained popularity. In order to remain relevant, the existing streaming platforms will need to offer something different to PC-based distributors, such as Steam. Although easier said than done, if Huang is right in what he says regarding physical gaming, then Amazon Luna and Google Stadia, for example, will need to think outside the box. Because of that, exclusives may provide the key, as they have long made the difference in the ongoing console war between PlayStation and Xbox.

Space to Co-Exist?

At the time of writing, it’s difficult to imagine that both PC distributors and streaming services will seamlessly co-exist. Of course, there’s scope for cloud gaming to revolutionize the industry, but should it reach its potential, the likes of Steam will subsequently suffer. On the other hand, if physical gaming is an immovable object, streaming will struggle to knock well-known platforms off their perch.

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