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Gaming Goes GAAS on the Cloud

Games must be played on demand – and that’s precisely what cloud gaming facilitates. Eliminating the use of gaming PCs, consoles or powerful graphic cards, cloud gaming takes on all the heavy-lifting (data-intensive processing) to the cloud, offering what we can conveniently call gaming-as-a-service (GAAS). With multiplayer games spread across geographies becoming an increasingly adopted digital gaming format, a server in the cloud runs a game and streams a video of the gameplay to the users’ devices. Every user can use a keyboard, mouse, smartphone buttons, etc. for playing and the input actions are sent back to the server.

The capacity of cloud computing has enabled gaming developers to develop data-intensive games including features such as augmented reality, virtual reality, multiplayer gaming and the like. According to Infoholic Research, the Asia-Pacific cloud gaming market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 46.8% during the forecast period 2016–2022. An increasing mobile and internet subscriber base, increase in gaming audience, government initiatives related to infrastructure activities, improvements in development of new technologies, and decrease in piracy are the major drivers for this market’s growth.

Technology and gaming companies like Samsung is among top five patent filers in virtual reality and augmented reality. Samsung has filed multiple patents in cloud gaming area (e.g. US20160175710 A1, US9526989 B2, etc.).

Nvidia has filed multiple patents related to cloud gaming in recent years. A recent patent publication from Nvidia US20170142201 A1 describes a method of sending user inputs to a game streaming service. Another patent publication US20160346689 A1 from Nvidia describes a method of managing a remote video gaming.

Microsoft’s 1.67% of the total patent portfolio is related to gaming technologies. Microsoft’s newly launched program, ‘Microsoft Azure IP Advantage’ program gives customers unlimited indemnification coverage that includes open source technologies such as Hadoop. The program also allows customers to make use of roughly 10,000 Microsoft patents in order to protect themselves against charges of the infringement of intellectual property.

Below are some services/products providing cloud gaming services:

Sony – Sony’s PlayStation Now is a cloud-based gaming service which allows users to stream videos to PlayStation devices and PCs. Sony acquired Gaikai, a cloud gaming company in 2012. This acquisition is expected to help Sony strengthen its gaming department. Also, Sony acquired 140 patents from cloud gaming company OnLive in 2015. The patent portfolio included both U.S. and international patents, primarily related to game streaming technologies. Sony’s formidable patent portfolio in this space is likely to protect the PlayStation Now from competition.

Nvidia – Nvidia’s GeForce Now, a cloud-based gaming service, has helped users play high-end games on the Mac and low-end PCs. Nvidia has also launched an upgrade to its Shield TV, which is now available with the Android 7.0 Nougat OS. This upgrade adds Ultra HD 4K resolution support to GameStream and Amazon Video clients.

Microsoft – Microsoft recently announced streaming games between devices as part of its business plan, which it might implement soon. In 2016, Microsoft acquired Beam interactive livestreaming service; the company is now planning to implement Beam’s technology in the Xbox Live which might allow users to play games by streaming them online on their devices. In recent articles, it was mentioned that Microsoft gaming business has grown up to $ 9 Billion with Xbox Live having 53 million members.

Razer – Razer is a world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems. It recently acquired NextBit, a smartphone maker company, which could help Razer launch its own smartphone that focuses on cloud gaming.

Samsung – During the Consumer Electronic Show 2017, Samsung showcased its Smart TV incorporating features of playing PC games on TV. In 2016, it was rumored that Samsung was going to bring two gaming apps - GameFly and PlayStation Now - to its Smart TV. In 2012, Samsung partnered with a leading cloud-based video game platform provider, Gaikai for streaming video games directly to owners of 2012 Samsung LED 7000 series and up Smart TVs in the U.S.

LiquidSky – LiquidSky is a cloud gaming start-up that launched its cloud-based gaming platform during the CES 2017 to allow users to play high-end PC games on any Android, Mac, Linux or Windows device. Over 1.1 million gamers have already signed up for the beta with the majority of sign-ups (75%) from word-of-mouth referrals.

Various multinationals are showing deep interest in the field of cloud gaming to provide its users the best gaming experience. It has now become true that the future of gaming lies in the cloud.