Reaching gamers — and publishers
The video game world includes over two billion gamers. Microsoft often talks about growing that number. But companies have hit a hardware obstacle: Not everyone can set up a gaming rig worth hundreds of dollars or shell out for an Xbox or PlayStation.
“Some folks would like to be into gaming but don’t have $400 or $500 to spend on a console and then another $60 to spend on a game,” said Pete Hines, senior vice president of marketing and communications at video game publisher Bethesda.
Hines added that cloud gaming can unlock potential gamer populations developing countries around the world, where infrastructure issues may be holding the field back.
But publishers aren’t quite ready to jump in with both feet. Although Ubisoft’s highly anticipated “Watch Dogs: Legion game” will be on Google’s Stadia upon release next year, it’s not a Stadia exclusive — it will also be available to play on Xbox One X, Playstation 4 and PC. The same goes for Marvel’s Avengers, published by Square Enix, which will arrive on the same four systems upon release in May 2020.
The lack of exclusivity is a sign that video game publishers are still waiting and seeing, said Joost van Dreunen, co-founder of SuperData, a Nielsen company that analyzes the video game industry.
Publishers are holding back on purpose, Dreunen noted in a newsletter after the E3 show, saying it doesn’t make sense for a well-known content creator to make a risky bet on a new platform. “Better to wait for critical mass and remain a hold out so that you can charge a premium later.”
Some game publishers aren’t yet ready to jump into the cloud at all. Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn, the creator of Apex Legends, a popular first-person shooter that rivals Fortnite in popularity, told CNN Business he is weighing options carefully. “I think where it makes sense, we’ll want to be everywhere,” he said.