Last week was a big week for gaming: Apple announced its new game service Apple Arcade and Google announced a similar cloud-based gaming platform: Google Stadia. The two tech giants have joined the videogame industry conventionally dominated by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, promising new ways to access games on selected hardware independently from the conventional game consoles.
What does this mean?
Apple’s and Google’s approach appear to be a first step into a post-console world, as they claim that that their game streaming services will function as a “Netflix for gaming”. It allows users to play high-end video games without having to purchase any further hardware, as has conventionally been the case with video games played on our already owned tablet, laptop, PC or smart TV. The fact that Apple’s and Google’s products are already used by millions of people around the world, allows them to reach an immense consumer base who previously refrained from buying additional hardware. Instead, Apple and Google will use a different monetisation method in the form of something like a monthly subscription fee, so that gamers can access the necessary game software wherever they go.
Both Apple and Google are unable to identify their unique selling point as of yet. If Apple and Google are unable to attract the most popular game developers to their platforms in order to establish competitive gaming brands, a paid-subscription approach will not be sufficient in sustaining a competitive gaming platform (especially with such fierce competition). However, as cross-platform gaming has become increasingly mainstream, as we have seen with immense popularity of Fortnite on all platforms, its proliferation could prove to be a threat to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft’s dominance in the videogame industry.