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    HomeTECHNOLOGYA "SNOWCLOUD" AND THE EFFECTS IT WILL HAVE ON GAME DEVELOPERS AND...

    A “SNOWCLOUD” AND THE EFFECTS IT WILL HAVE ON GAME DEVELOPERS AND PUBLISHERS

    The future of what is being called “snowcloud Gaming” is currently the focus of intense competition between some of the largest gaming and technology businesses in the world. When it inevitably arrives, it will bring about a significant shift in the way that publishers and developers conduct their business.

    The annual Game Developer’s Conference will start the following week, and one of the key hints that have been dropped leading up to the event is that Google will soon make a significant statement about the gaming industry. Even though nothing has been confirmed, most people believe that this will be the unveiling of the organization’s horse in the race to become the “Netflix of Games” through something called “Cloud Gaming.” Even though nothing has been confirmed, most people believe that this will be the unveiling of the to-this-point named “Project Yeti.”

    Naturally, other market participants are either in the process of developing or have already begun offering their initial ventures into this brand-new universe. Playstation has been testing out its cloud gaming service PS Now for the past few years, during which time smaller competitors like as Vortex have offered more limited game collections through their cloud offerings. However, none has yet established themselves as the undisputed leader of the space, both for the now and for the foreseeable future. Google has high expectations that they can change that.

    This is due to the undeniable fact that cloud gaming will eventually become the industry standard. Game streaming will drastically remodel the gaming scene, obviously for players, but also for those developing the games themselves. In the same way that video streaming has completely transformed the way in which we consume movies and television shows, game streaming will do the same. In spite of the fact that it is still too soon to know for certain how any of this is going to play out, the manner in which this future will influence developers and publishers is not a complete mystery given the knowledge that we have. Let’s have a conversation about what the future has in store for us.

     

    How do Will Games get To Gamers If There Are New Gates And New Gatekeepers?

    At this point in time, there is an abundance of choices when it comes to distribution methods for video games. These days, all it takes to get onto Steam is a modest payment, but one of the biggest stories of the present has been the growth of alternative platforms such as the Epic Game Store, Discord, and GOG. All you have to do is pay a small charge. Beyond that, there are venues such as Itch.io and other platforms with a greater emphasis on independent games that have fewer admission requirements. It is still a difficult challenge to ensure that people are aware of and willing to actually purchase your game, but the process of locating a storefront at which this is feasible is not a mystery.

    However, this brings up an important point: in a future where playing games through a streaming service is the norm, physical game purchases will become increasingly uncommon.

    Consider the case of movies as an illustration. Do people still purchase movies in any kind, be it physically or digitally? Sure. However, as internet access improves, even that will trend back towards services like Netflix and Hulu because the amount of content you get for a small monthly membership fee makes the value of these services vastly outweigh that of individual film purchases. In fact, the rise of 4K HDR content and the high bandwidth required to stream it has led to an increase in such digital purchases, with sales growing by 12 percent from 2017 to 2018. The same thing is going to happen in the future with video games; retail sales won’t go extinct entirely, but streaming is the way of the future. This indicates that game makers will need to collaborate with streaming platforms in order to get their games into the hands of players. What exactly does that appear to be going to be like?

     

    Comparing The Netflix Model To The Amazon Model Through The Lens Of Film

    There are two main avenues that filmmakers and television show producers can pursue in order to upload their works to streaming services. The first approach, known as aggregators and distributors, is the one that Netflix uses the majority of the time.

    After the production of a movie or an episode of a television show is finished, the next step is to present it to the decision-makers on the platform that you want. Does Netflix hold meetings with ‘just about everybody’ who requests one? The correct response is “yet,” however achieving your goal on your own will require an incredible amount of effort and time. Independent filmmakers who do not have partners are required to work the phones, take advantage of any and all connections, and essentially make a profession out of simply getting a pitch meeting; nevertheless, there is still a possibility that this will not result in a meeting being scheduled.

    There are examples of people having success similar to this, but they are uncommon. Instead, the majority of content creators enter into partnerships with film distributors, which are the same traditional organizations that have been putting films into theatres and into homes for decades now that are working in this new field, or with aggregators, which are companies like Distribber that leverage relationships with major streaming platforms to provide access and other services in exchange for either an upfront cost or cut of profits. These are the more established pathways to viewership on these sites, and the majority of the movies and series that you see when you browse were added to the library through these means. When you browse, you can choose to watch any of these.

    Amazon, on the other hand, follows an entirely different policy. Through the use of the Prime Video Direct portal, filmmakers have had the ability to upload their work to the Amazon Prime Video service on their own initiative ever since the year 2016. Studios, distributors, and independent creators alike will have the ability to upload their work directly to the Prime Video library if they use this service. You are responsible for everything, including all of the art assets, and the metadata, and for adhering to the criteria established by the community; nevertheless, there is no need for anybody to stand in the way of you and Amazon in order to get everything done.

    What is the result? Amazon is more accessible to anyone, and its selection is more extensive; however, it is also much less curated than a service such as Netflix, which has a platform that is of a significantly higher overall quality and is generally more popular. While it is more difficult to join Netflix, the company does have a much larger selection of high-quality content.

    It is likely that snowcloud gaming will give rise to structures that are analogous to those described above. Some platforms, such as Netflix, will desire to exert a greater degree of control over the content that is displayed on their platform. Because they will have formed partnerships with major publishers in order to ensure that their library is the best one available, they are likely to be the same places that get the biggest titles and the largest audiences.

    As a result, a community of third parties will grow to support medium-sized to tiny publishers and developers in their efforts to bring their works to the attention of large audiences on such platforms. Will entirely autonomous teams consisting of one person to ten people have the resources necessary to use these services? The answer is most likely going to be no in most of these scenarios, and the most indie-friendly video games are going to have a hard time making it onto the most popular streaming platforms.

    However, similar to what occurred in the film industry, there will be streaming services available in the future that was developed specifically to address the needs of underserved populations. It is possible that another platform, similar to how Itch.io started out as a home for ultra-indie games, will emerge in the future. This will most likely be the result of more lax submissions policies, such as those offered by Amazon Prime, and will concentrate on games and teams that are less well-known. In the event that something proves to be successful there, larger services may get in touch with the company.

    What kinds of effects, if any, would the stratification and variety of game platforms have on the overall game production ecosystem? Is it going to become even more difficult for independent projects to become successful, or will those independent projects that do make it onto larger platforms actually achieve greater success because they are exposed to the enormous user population of those major platforms? We may be confident that there will still be a place in the future for each and every game, but does this mean that everyone will be in a better position? That is not entirely clear.

    It is not yet known what exactly a “Netflix of Gaming” would consist of in its actual form. We picture something similar to a one-to-one copy, in which users pay a set monthly fee in exchange for unrestricted access to a snowcloud gaming service’s entire game library. While this is almost certainly going to be the case for the majority of a cloud gaming service’s game library, we do not know if this will be the case for newly released games.

    It is possible that players will continue to pay the full price for access to AAA titles, which are games with a full price tag and which build up anticipation over a period of months or even years, at least while the title is still young. The work of running the title will still be done on the server-side, but the transaction of purchasing a game would still be relatively the same as it is now. This is because the server will continue to do the job.

    But the subscription-for-unlimited-access model is the primary draw moving forward, and even if the larger games do still charge full price for access, either forever or for a limited time, they might find that they are losing more and more ground to the games that everyone has access to at the much lower price point. This is because the subscription-for-unlimited-access model is the primary draw moving forward.

    Again, if you look at movies, individuals still rent and buy individual movies so that they may watch them before they are available on Netflix, HBO, or wherever else; but, the number of people who do this is declining due to the fact that the alternatives are simply too convenient. People are willing to wait for something if they know they will eventually get it for free, and it’s possible that the gaming industry may follow suit in the near future.

     

    What Kinds Of Revenue Streams Might Be Expected From Games That Are Part Of An All-Access Library?

    First, let’s take a look at Spotify Premium to gain some perspective. In general, the music streaming service does not provide any form of compensation to the featured musicians in the form of license fees. Instead, Spotify allocates a specific portion of its subscription revenue to its artists in proportion to the number of times each song is played on the platform. The higher your cut is, relative to the rest of the library’s play count, the more frequently people listen to your particular title. It is not difficult to imagine this concept being applied to a video game library.

    Because every game is played through the service’s servers, not only are they able to keep track of how many people are playing what, but they can also keep track of how long they are playing as well as a wide variety of other fine data points that can be used to fairly distribute subscription revenue. This has a number of repercussions, some of which are positive while others are negative. For example, it is unlikely for boba shops near me that smaller games would make as much profit in the early going as they would have done through direct sales. In the long run, however, there may be a greater possibility for sustainable revenue if your title builds a constant player base, even if that player base is very small. This is because consistent players make money in a manner that is more sustainable.

     

    However, that is not the only scenario in which this could be successful. For example, Netflix does not pay its contributors based on the number of minutes their content is viewed but rather on the upfront licensing costs paid. Netflix will either have to pay a fresh licensing price or let the content go after it has paid for the right to carry it for a predetermined amount of time, which is normally between one and two years. It’s possible that this will end up being the most likely scenario, particularly for “back libraries” of already released games, when it comes to larger publishers collaborating with significant streaming partners.

    Older titles are particularly crucial for filling up the library of a streaming platform with something for everyone, for ensuring that there is always something fresh to find and interact with, and for ensuring there is always something to engage with. It may also present an opportunity for independent game aggregators to represent larger collections of smaller games, with larger licensing fees leading to better up-front earnings due to the collective bargaining power of the independent game developers and the access provided by the independent game aggregator.

    Nevertheless, it is clear that the same issue will persist: license fees are going to be held for the majority of the time for AAA games and third-party negotiations, which means that truly independent games will have a difficult time finding comparable routes to financial success.

    Because of these factors, I believe that you will continue to see internal monetization, which refers to revenue sources that are contained within the games themselves, continuing to grow and increase. It is going to be much easier for the game to exist in this new reality that places less of an emphasis on sales if the game itself contains a mechanism that can be used to build md cloud profits.

    This mechanism could be in the form of cosmetic micro-transactions, expansions, or even as simple as in-game advertisements. A product that can produce cash on its own, regardless of its platform, can worry less about how its partnership with said platform affects its bottom line. Over the course of the past few years, we have already witnessed a wild expansion in these mechanics, and advances toward snowcloud gaming will not at all slow down that progress.

     

    The Implications Of Everything

    The process of independent development and publishing is already very challenging. Either the barriers to entry into the marketplaces in which gamers make purchasing decisions are too high, or the barriers to entry are so low, that good games all too often get lost in the mass. If a game is able to find a home on one of the more popular platforms, it has a far better chance of being seen by a wider audience.

    In a world where access to full game libraries is being provided via paid subscriptions, this is becoming increasingly common. There will be success stories that come out of nowhere, with small teams and original, one-of-a-kind titles that erupt in popularity as a direct result of consumers being able to discover them on the “Netflix of gaming.” However, for many others, they may find that it is even more difficult to get in front of gamers than it was before, since a new ecosystem may direct them to some secondary, less popular service. This is likely to be the case because of the logistical issues as well as the altering business structures.

    However, becoming ready for change is not only the responsibility of the more modest developers. Larger developers need to think about how this shift will affect their own bottom lines, as well as whether or not the concept of what constitutes a “successful” game will have to adapt in response to the move. What kind of license cost is appropriate for a significant release?

    How long will that persist, and how will it affect our ability to be exclusive? Do you fight to keep a world where major releases still require a full-price purchase, or do you try to get ahead of the curve and make sure your games are front and center in snowcloud subscription libraries so that you can become a dominant force in that space by getting your games into the most hands?

    If you fight to keep a world where major releases still require a full-price purchase, do you fight to maintain a world where major releases still require a full-price purchase? We don’t know the answers, but there are plenty of things we can learn from the way film and television have evolved over the past fifteen years. Keeping these things in mind as we move forward will be the key differentiator between those who thrive in this new world and those who merely survive in it.

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