What I Want To See From Cloud Gaming Platforms in 2022
The whole industry of Gaming saw growth in 2020 and 2021. At the heights of the COVID pandemic, and amidst numerous lockdowns, Gaming proved to be one of the most socially viable hobbies, connecting friends, family and strangers alike.
While no one platform saw more growth than any other, it’s clear that the latest contender, Cloud Gaming, seems to be rearing its head and ready to introduce a new market to Video Games. While gaming via the Cloud is still in early days of existence, it thrives in 2021 and is expected to continue to do so in 2022. However, nothing is perfect.
There’s 4 main platforms that I have had experience with: Google Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Sony’s PlayStation Now. I’d like to try Amazon’s Luna platform, but unfortunately it isn’t available in the UK yet. So, I’ll be covering these 5 platforms and what I want them to add, improve or do in 2022.
Google Stadia is the often belittled service in the Gaming realm. Jokes like “wow, Stadia is still alive” plague pretty much every corner of social media whenever Google’s child comes out to play. However, Stadia has proven to be a pretty worthy contender in the Cloud niche. It’s easily the smoothest, and greatest in quality, compared to its competitors.
However, Google Stadia has reached a fairly tough spot. Big players like Microsoft are offering their take on the Cloud Gaming service and Google should be nervous. But they have an opportunity to create a large population of gamers joining their ranks if played right.
What I want to see from Google Stadia in 2022:
- More Games (both AAA and Indie) – Google seems to have gained interest from Ubisoft, Square Enix and other publishers. However, they need to make sure the publishers provide consistent games.
- More Marketing and Communication – The more people I talk to, the more I realise are unaware of the platform. They may know the name, but they don’t realise what it truly is. More marketing could provide incentives for players to try the service out.
- Exclusives – I know that this is similar to the first point, but Google needs to offer exclusive games or content for players to stick with their service. The closure of SG&E left a sour taste with most gamers, but providing exclusive games more often will bring the player base back into the platform
- A Retail Presence – Google Stadia is available on pretty much every device out there. Well, why not brag about it more Google? Show some pride in your service, it deserves it. I’m talking branding on every Google-focused store display, maybe even a Stadia Test in-stores to PROVE that it works, and it works WELL. And better yet, tell people “it’s practically free” to play AAA games on your existing phones or terrible computers.
The newest, but already most successful by default, is xCloud. Thanks to an existing subscriber base with Game Pass Ultimate members, xCloud pretty much has a double-digit millions of players ready to access the service and is only growing as more players flock to Game Pass.
Microsoft weren’t playing around when they knew that the Cloud Gaming industry was a lucrative market to invest in. And thanks to more players investing in their “eco-system” thanks to the success of the Series X and Series S, they aren’t going to slow down any time soon.
What I want to see from xCloud in 2022:
- Purchased Games as well as Game Pass – Unfortunately, most Game Pass games aren’t on offer permanently. To bring in new players, especially Cloud-only players, you’ll need to offer purchasable games which are accessible on the cloud as well as the standard service.
- A Cloud-only subscription – Game Pass Ultimate is a great deal for those with a PC or Xbox, but for Cloud-only players? Not so much. There is plenty of offers available constantly to get people into GPU, but a Cloud-only subscription would drop the bar-of-entry for those interested in joining xCloud.
- Better Streaming Quality – I know that Microsoft is actively pursuing this goal, but the servers need to be upgraded. That’s all, there’s not much else to say!
GeForce Now is arguably the most popular and well known service as a purely Cloud Gaming platform. Using a users existing games via Steam, Epic Games and more is a genius way of incentivising players to not only play their games in better quality (thanks to the newly introduced 3080 tier on GFN) but to also bring their PC games ON THE GO! It seems pretty hard to fumble that shot, and they aren’t.
What I would like to see from GeForce Now in 2022:
- Lower the Cost – The main issue? A fairly expensive barrier to entry. There is the “free” tier, but it’s limited heavily to the point where it’s no longer an option. The cost of the new tier is $100 for six months, which is a high ask for intrigued players. Make it cheaper, meaning more players, meaning more income. Hell, even just an option to pay for 3080 monthly.
- Update the User Experience – the GFN web and mobile apps are pretty terrible, compared to other services. And since the servers just run the client for the game, it can create many errors or issues (such as having to sign in again despite already doing so). Make it more click and play.
In all honesty, GeForce Now is probably in the best state of all the services here. They’re showing tremendous growth and for good reason. It’s hard to argue.
Ahh, Luna. Where art thou. Seriously, where is Luna? It’s more of a competitor to Game Pass thanks to offering a subscription which allows access to a revolving door of games. However, I can’t say much about Luna, or how good the service is, or anything, because:
What I want to see from Amazon Luna in 2022:
- MORE COUNTRIES – Luna has yet to leave the United States, despite an audience awaiting its arrival into other countries. The UK cloud community is pretty much BEGGING for access here, so hurry up?
I have a bitter relationship with the oldest Cloud Service here, PlayStation Now. Sony’s mostly forgotten subscription has been criticised, and fairly so, thanks to a growing slate of competitors while it sits on the sidelines. It’s not bad, per se, just disappointing considering the brand name behind it.
What I want to see from PlayStation Now in 2022:
- Included as part of PS Plus – I know that there’s 3 tiers of Subscriptions that PlayStation plan to release, but with the current state of PS Now, I think that’s a dangerous idea. I’d say that including it as part of the already amazing PS Plus offering would give Xbox a run for its money.
- Allow players to play their existing library – I know that it is unlikely that PlayStation will offer their biggest incentive, Exclusives, as a day and date releases like Xbox are currently doing, but make it so players can play them on the go. Offer discounts to subscribers too.
- Bring it into the limelight – Show PS Now a bit more love in the background, then let it shine. PS Now mostly lives forgotten in the sidelines, and it deserves some TLC. Work on it behind the scenes, then market it as New and Improved. Add the other two features, and you’re in for a strong lead in the market.
And that’s all for this list. What Cloud Platform is your favourite (or least favourite) and Why? Make sure to follow me on Twitter and to follow me here on Medium!