What would attract a user to use a game streaming service instead of traditional PC or consoles? I can think of three common cases:

  1. Playing a new game without waiting to download.
  2. The game requires a more powerful machine to run than they currently have.
  3. The game is not on a platform the users already have.

To attract users in case 1, the service encourages users to keep trying different games. So first, it needs to have a lot of games for users to try; Second, it needs to either allow users to try without purchase or provide subscription plan. Otherwise, pricing games will be the barrier for users to keep trying and streaming service will lose its value here.

To attract users in case 2, the service needs to provide high-resolution video/audio outputs. This is where AAA games would fit in. Games like Skyrim, Witcher, Tomb Raider would require a lot of computing resources to run in max settings.

In the last case, supporting multiple platforms would be the key attraction. The service becomes an emulator service.

Obviously, different companies have different advantages, resulting in different business strategy. For example, Google's Stadia is focusing on case 1 and 2. Big companies like Google had invested a huge amount of time and money in network infrastructure. They have enough talent to solve the hard tech issue to provide high-resolution, low-latency gaming experience. With that in hand, it could attract users in case 2 who want to play AAA game without owning a high-end machine. With userbase and its industry influence, it becomes easier to attract more games, big or small, to the platform. And with a lot of games on the platform, light users in case 1 would also be gathering.

This business strategy is the most natural choice for big companies like Google and Amazon, who wish to build a platform to grab its own destiny. Because big companies will strive to build platforms, there may be a chance for startup companies to address case 3, to provide cross-platform experience as a unique direction that big company can't pursue.

On the other hand, what may not be a good signal to be a successful game streaming service?

Dota2, and League of Legends, are examples that don't fit into this business. These games have already been developed to be run on all suitable platforms where it could be played. And they are highly optimized to be able to run well on average computers, nonetheless, beautiful graphics is not as important as controllability for it to be a successful game. Lastly, the players who love playing these games are likely to set them up and keep them in their computers for a long time.

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