GameDaily Connect Asia 2019: Breaking down barriers with cloud gaming

At next week's GameDaily Connect Asia, Monte Singman, VP of International Business Development at iDreamsky Technology, will talk about the huge potential of cloud gaming in Asian markets.

Cloud gaming takes an often-challenging aspect out of the question of whether someone can play your game: hardware. No longer will players need the newest graphics card or phone, as they’ll be able to play these games through services like Google Stadia or xCloud, their button inputs being fired off to servers where the game is actually being run.

It’s been in the works for years, and big game makers and publishers are ready to support these platforms. “...I think there [are] a lot of people around the world who might not own a console or a PC, but are still interested in these games,” Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda said in June. “There are a lot of people who are watching the gameplay on Twitch and YouTube. When you think about how many people who are watching these games being streamed, you realise that there are probably a lot of people out there who might not be willing to invest upfront in a console, but they still want to play these games.”

“If you have a way to drive those people who are watching gameplay on YouTube to a place where they can buy the games, then I think that will give you access to a certain new customer base. Because they do not own consoles or gaming PCs, they are potential customers that we've been unable to reach, but now we might be able to,” he continued.

Square Enix will be providing five titles to Google Stadia, and other developers are following suit as they see the potential to reach a whole new customer base. While expensive consoles and phones may be beyond these players for a variety of reasons, there’s still a chance to help them play those high-end games through cloud gaming.

Monte Singman, iDreamSky
Monte Singman, iDreamsky

Monte Singman, VP of International Business Development at iDreamsky Technology, is also seeing that potential. “Whenever there is a technological breakthrough, either in 3D graphics, VR, blockchain, or cloud computing, we see the game industry taking it to enhance players' experience. Cloud gaming is not just about streaming gameplay videos to our mobile devices or playing PS4 games on our PCs. It is about virtualizing all gaming hardware and centralizing all computation on the cloud, and therefore unleash the hardware constraint on the players' devices,” he said.

Gaming in Asia is undeniably massive, but could it be larger? How many potential customers are interested in your game, but are in a position where they cannot afford the newest console, phone, or PC parts? How much more could that market be expanded if that hardware barrier were broken down, allowing players to access your games from any device they have?

Niko Partners recently stated in a report that they expect cloud gaming to generate $3 billion in revenue by 2023. Singman is feeling that this massive growth is coming as well, and will be sharing his thoughts on it at GameDaily Connect Asia in Shenzen from November 10-12.

“I have never seen such a tremendous opportunity coming our way in this industry. In my lecture, I will be addressing cloud gaming's true potential and not just what people superficially assume it is today,” said Singman.

Singman’s devoted a great deal of his life to games. Through his work as CEO of development studio Radiance, his time at game industry talent agency ISM China, his teachings in game development and project management, and his time spent in investment and licensing with iDreamsky (as well as his support of indie developers through indieSky), he’s been honing an eye for what’s happening and what’s coming up in the industry for over a decade. And what he’s seeing as a next big potential opportunity is coming from cloud gaming.

“My job is to connect game companies and create value; from publishers to developers and vice versa. I see many mismatches of supply and demand in the industry, and by communicating transparently, we can discover hidden treasures and unmet market demands,” he said.

That treasure is expected to be in cloud gaming. Projected numbers for the next five years see it growing to 60 million players, and may surpass 500 million by 2028. That’s a huge possible audience that might not have even considered your game before – one that can mean massive success if you can capitalize on it.

While this all sounds like a wonderful thing, the question of internet speeds inevitably comes up. Lag during a high-end game, especially with inputs being sent from your controller all the way to a server miles away, can kill the ability to play a game. It’s a huge question mark in cloud gaming, but Singman sees countries like China already dealing with this issue.

When asked if Asia would lead the charge on cloud gaming with their internet infrastructure, he said: “I believe so, because one of the enablers for cloud gaming is 5G due to the low latency and high throughput. On November 1st, China has rolled out its 5G plan to consumers, and you can buy mobile phones that support 5G in China today and have access to its lightning speed. Historically, Asia has fewer legacy issues to deal with and can adapt to new technology quickly.”

With 5G dealing with the issue of internet speeds in Asia, Singman sees cloud gaming’s potential growing. This is a huge win for developers – one that will see a closer connection to their players as the barriers to entry in gaming are broken down.

“Innovations will always be the driver for our industry, and this will also be the area where the Chinese game industry will focus on. It is my wish to see a shorter value chain between game creators and players; there are too many hands in the pot today, as it is capital intensive for game creators to reach players due to the high cost of user acquisition,” said Singman.

Through cloud gaming, players can access games that normally require prohibitively expensive hardware, and with faster internet speeds taking care of one of the large issues with it, Singman is excited to see what the future holds for developers. He’s looking to share that excitement, as well as his thoughts on the growth he sees coming, in Shenzen in a few days.

Disclosure: iDreamsky is a partner of GameDaily Connect Asia

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Joel Couture is a freelance writer for Gamasutra, CGM, Siliconera, and Warp Door, and constantly writes about indie games at IndieGamesPlus. He has written books on UnderTale, P.T., and Friday the 13th, and can be found endlessly rambling about games on Twitter at @Joel_Couture.

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