Asia’s $3bn Cloud Gaming opportunity needs strong IT infrastructure and edge data centers to become a reality
Cloud gaming is a US$3 billion opportunity for Asia, but for the game streaming technology to take off, it needs strong and reliable IT infrastructure like edge data centers to become a reality.
This is what we discovered during our first GameTech digital event with experts from Tencent, OVHcloud and Nazara Technologies.
“Asia is a very interesting continent where you have established and evolved games, to very young, casual or first-time gamers. That makes it very exciting,” said Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Technologies.
Tech giants like Google, Amazon, Alibaba Cloud and Tencent are looking to take on established players in the gaming industry such as Microsoft, Sony, EA and NVIDIA as well as cloud gaming pioneers Vortex, LiquidSky, Parsec and Shadow.
“The beauty of a lot of these countries in Asia is they have no preconceived baggage of what gaming should be. The adoption of the new age technologies is going to be super fast, because what gaming offers is a pure, uninhibited, unhindered interactive entertainment,” added Mr. Agarwal.
However, for cloud gaming to be affordable by providers, it is important to reduce friction of price points, lag and latency, processing and optimising infrastructure.
“Asia is a very value conscious market. Cloud gaming is poised for the big boys who have very, very deep pockets because it entails building technology infrastructure, consumer acquisition retention and content acquisition,” said Mr. Agarwal.
The critical importance of reliable IT infrastructure and edge data centers for cloud gaming
To ensure a successful cloud gaming future, strong and reliable IT infrastructure is of critical importance to ensure low latency and lag, which is absolutely necessary for gamers who need a seamless experience.
As a result, user experience depends on the last mile speed, meaning that the end user needs to connect to its nearest location with high speed connections.
Davy Wang, the Chief Solutions Architect of Tencent Cloud, said: “Tencent has built a lot of data centers and edge locations all over the world and we are trying to build as much as possible for the bandwidth to make sure that the connections between data centers, the user and pop locations will be big enough and the performance will be high.”
Mr. Wang expected cloud gaming will consume more resources than traditional games because everything needs to be processed on the cloud, consuming CPU, memory and hard disks. Tencent optimised multi tenancy to make good use of their hardware resources and lower the cost of operation.
OVHcloud invests heavily in their network to enable seamless and affordable gaming. This is why their network capacity almost doubles every few years to respond to the constantly growing number of gamers in Asia.
James MacKenzie, the Technical Product Manager at OVHcloud, said: “Since I’ve been working here, it’s about almost five times as big as it was. Globally, today, we have about 30 data centers with 34 points of presence.”
OVHcloud also works with startups and partners like AMD to develop solutions that could empower the future of cloud gaming.
“Even though sometimes it’s not 100% there yet, there is technology that is emerging where we can get our hands on it, test it, and see if it’s going to work for these new use cases,” added Mr. MacKenzie.
Looking forward to the future, both Mr. Wang and Mr. MacKenzie agreed that advancements in edge data centers and 5G as well as virtual reality and augmented reality could have a significant impact on the cloud gaming industry.
5G in particular could fulfil the mission of cloud gaming by enabling gamers to play anywhere at any time since cloud gaming is similar to video streaming platforms like YouTube or Netflix for end user devices, so even the oldest of phones could have the potential to play high performance games.
How will cloud gaming impact the future of game design?
For the cloud gaming industry to be successful, content is still king. If the games available on cloud platforms are poor, then the future of cloud gaming could be in question.
In our next GameTech digital event on Tuesday 27 October, we will focus on how cloud infrastructures and cloud gaming will transform the way games are designed.