Cloud computing on the horizon in changing+video game world
2019-07-21 11:21

Console makers long at the center of the video game universe are adapting to an exploding constellation of ways to play, with the cloud looming on the horizon.

Microsoft, Nintendo and Sonyremained stars, with rival Xbox, PlayStation and Switch gaming hardware respectively, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) show floor that opened in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

But the premier industry gathering was very much focused on games themselves, and the idea they can be played as a service hosted in the Internet cloud using an array of devices from smartphones to personal computers.

The annual E3 event "occurs against a backdrop of disruption in the console market," according to IHS Markit games technology research director Piers Harding-Rolls.

"As the market becomes more digitally enabled and service based, console companies and publishers are starting to map out their longer-term strategies including the building out of subscription cloud gaming services," Harding-Rolls told AFP.

Companies interested in cloud gaming see it as a way to reach broader audiences, adding to console businesses instead of taking away from them, according to the analyst.

"I see consoles being around or the foreseeable future," Harding-Rolls said.

Shifting terrain

But the competitive landscape will tilt away from console-market leading PlayStation to terrain more favorable to Xbox, he reasoned.

Microsoft has built a powerful platform for hosting computing in the Internet cloud, making such a service a thriving part of its business.

"We commit and harness the full breadth of our resources at Microsoft to deliver on the future of play," Xbox team leader Phil Spencer said at an E3 briefing.

The Redmond, Washington-based technology veteran has also invested heavily in machine learning, naming its Cortana digital assistant after an artificial intelligence character in blockbuster Xbox video game Halo.

Spencer also said that Microsoft is working on a cloud service for streaming console-quality games to Internet-linked devices.

"If you agree that the eventual future of games consumption is through cloud gaming services, then those companies with a strong position in cloud are likely to be best placed to benefit from the transition," Harding-Rolls said.

"In this context, Microsoft's cloud division gives the company a natural advantage when trying to build a profitable business."

Sony and Microsoft have each put out word they are working on next-generation consoles, but the planned capabilities of these devices have yet to be revealed.

PlayStation 4 has dominated the current console generation, briskly outselling Xbox One.

But if the video game world shifts to Microsoft's strengths, its new competition in play could become cloud and AI titans such as Amazon, Google, Tencent, and Alibaba, according to Harding-Rolls. 

Learning from mobile

The video game industry is seeing its biggest investment ever, with the three big consoles "very healthy," according to Electronic Software Association Chief Executive Michael Gallagher.

The ESA trade group organizes E3, with 60,000 industry insiders and gamers from some 100 countries expected to attend the three-day gathering.

Video game industry revenue worldwide tallied about $116 billion last year, according to the ESA.

Console makers have been taking lessons from mobile games, building online communities of players who provide feedback; stream play; subscribe to services and spend money on digital content such as dance moves or funky clothing for characters.

"Mobile has been a fantastic growth point for the industry," Gallagher said.

Console video game titan Bethesda is unabashedly bridging the divide between console and mobile play with versions of blockbusters Fallout and Elder Scrolls for play on smartphones or tablets.

"I can't wait to play it," Gallagher said of Elder Scrolls: Blades that will be available free for iPhones or Android-powered mobile devices when it is released later this year.

Another sign of console games making their way to mobile devices came in the form of telecom giant AT&T showing off ultra high-speed 5G wireless data capabilities on the E3 show floor.

Super-fast Internet service is seen as key to rich, seamless game play.

"Exponential increases in computing power, storage and speed will lead to the streaming of realistic, systemic, densely populated and persistent game worlds to any screen," explained Yves Guillemot, chief executive of French video game powerhouse Ubisoft. 




根据IHS Markit游戏技术研究主管Piers Harding-Rolls的说法,年度E3活动“是在游戏机市场中断的背景下发生的”。 



“我看到游戏机在附近或可预见的未来,”哈丁 - 罗尔斯说。 




“我们承诺并利用我们在微软的全部资源来实现游戏的未来,”Xbox团队负责人Phil Spencer在E3简报中表示。 






PlayStation 4占据了当前游戏机的一代,迅速超越了Xbox One。 








控制台视频游戏巨头贝塞斯达毫不掩饰地将控制台和移动游戏之间的鸿沟与智能手机或平板电脑上的大片“Fallout”和“Elder Scrolls”的版本联系起来。 

“我迫不及待地想玩它,”Gallagher谈到Elder Scrolls:今年晚些时候发布的iPhone和Android移动设备将免费提供刀片。 



“计算能力,存储和速度的指数增长将导致现实,系统,人口稠密和持久的游戏世界流向任何屏幕,”法国视频游戏巨头Ubisoft首席执行官Yves Guillemot解释道。 

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