There has been two bits of news when it comes to video game streaming this week.
One, tech behemoth Google launched Stadia, a new cloud-based service that will allow users to play games across devices operating on Google’s Chrome browser and Chrome OS. They say, once you’re subscribed, you’ll be able to hit a play now button, rather than having to buy an expensive console and hardware.
And it didn’t generate anywhere near as many headlines, but Emerge Gaming (ASX:EM1) told investors yesterday it had signed a joint venture partnership with fellow ASX-listed gaming stock iCandy (ASX:ICI), through which it will run an eSports platform named iLeague.
Emerge has been generating publicity of late thanks to a new platform it is rolling out across Australia, the US and South Africa over the next year, called ArcadeX with GameCloud.
It says that platform will be the ‘Netflix of gaming’, as it will allow “simple and instant streaming of hundreds of high-quality 3D games for mobile devices, allowing multiplayer gaming, video streaming and social networking”.
The new deal with iCandy gives Emerge access to iCandy’s purported network of 350 million mobile gamers worldwide, while giving iCandy access to Emerge’s eSports technology.
Both companies have benefited from share prices rises thanks to the deal, though interest in Google Stadia may also have had a positive impact.
Hackathon queen and eSports expert Michelle Mannering says Google’s announcement is good for competition and said those seeking to go digital rather than physical will hold themselves in good stead.
“Many of our current entertainment platforms have moved from physical to digital, to streaming. Movies and TV shows are classic examples of this. Google are seeing an opportunity in the market and tackling it,” she says.
“It’s good to see Google in the gaming sector. It will drive more competition in the space and only make the industry better.”
Harrison Polites, founder of The Media Accelerator and tech geek, adds that the move to streaming could upset the major gaming companies.
“Hardware has long been the cash cow for the video game industry. Often, gaming companies performance is measured in the number of console units they ship,” he says.
“So, this could upset the gaming industry in terms of how the major gaming companies are judged by analysts and investors. These companies may try to shift the focus onto other metrics with future earnings.”
But, he argues, they likely won’t have a monopoly on streaming video games, as they won’t have access to all popular games.
“I think Stadia will sit alongside the other consoles in the market. Gamers will use it to access games they can’t get elsewhere,” he says.
Greg Stevens, CEO of Emerge, has his eyes firmly focused on the future.
“Our vision is to become a leading mobile casual gaming eSports provider worldwide. We now have a global reach and exciting new content, which is consistent with our emerging market rollout strategy,” he says.