Jacob Navok Profile picture
17 Oct, 22 tweets, 6 min read
1/ The flaw in cloud gaming strategies today is the platforms see the opportunity as enabling distribution rather than creating new content. Cloud gaming should enable new experiences around centralized AI, physics, rendering. We explored this ten years ago at Square Enix.
2/ Google had glimpses of these cloud gaming opportunities at their Stadia announcement last year. EA spoke about it a few years ago too. But nothing innovative or new has come out. And what we're left with is underwhelming.
3/ Imagine if the only big idea for mobile games a decade ago was "Apple Arcade." The mobile market would be a fraction of its potential. We failed at this at SQEX too; our early mobile titles were $15 ports of old FF games then premium titles like Chaos Rings.
4/ Instead the innovation came from studios making new F2P, social games like "Puzzle and Dragons" and "Clash of Clans" who took on what mobile offered- always connected, bite-size experiences in your pocket with zero distribution cost.
5/ At SQEX we eventually learned too, following the path laid out by DeNA and GREE, and making titles like FF Brigade and now big profit generators like FF Record Keeper and Schoolgirl Strikers.
6/ It took years but we built the knowledge of ARPU, churn, etc. that was missing from our AAA business. It's hard to understate this- a decade ago none of the design or BI that is required to make a successful mobile title existed inside our studios.
7/ Western publishers acquired external talent, like ATVI with King. Somewhat interesting relative to the Japanese publishers like Sega, Konami who did it all organically in house. And this was a big shift, but they'd experienced it in the past, expanding from arcades to console.
8/ Thus big hits in cloud are going to be individual games that are made using new cloud technologies, and not necessarily because of the distribution platforms. Developers don't need Stadia or Luna or Xcloud to create something new, just AWS and streaming SDKs like @GenvidTech
9/ People don't usually realize it, but League of Legends is successful because of technical change too. With the cost of distribution and multiplayer going down a decade ago thanks to cloud, plus the growth of integrated graphics, F2P League of Legends became possible.
10/ The opportunities in gaming always come at the onset of a major technical change. This opportunity doesn't relate to or require distribution from a major platform- League did it themselves. And what's interesting is that this is proven sustainable time and time again.
11/ The studios that learned early how to develop for arcade, console, PC and mobile remain in the lead. There is competitive advantage in learning technology, business model and content design early in the life cycle of a new tech because you have data to innovate faster.
12/ Developers who can create the LoL or Clash of cloud gaming early will dominate the next decade of game experiences. But those won't come from the current cloud platforms, who are just promising a console in the cloud. You need to build games that only cloud gaming can enable.
13/ I believe that these new experiences that cloud gaming can offer are Massive Interactive Live Events or MILEs. @ballmatthew and I wrote about them back in May at matthewball.vc/all/cloudmiles I'm excited for people to start to see the world's first MILEs in coming months...
14/ NEW SECTION-- To that end, here we are at the end of 2020, have multiple major cloud gaming platforms and a new generation of consoles, and I can't point to a single game experience from all the billions spent that can't be done on a PS4.
15/ Since this thread started several people have asked me about what the platforms are offering versus what developers can do. None of the platforms have anything for you to create new game experiences, at least nothing that has been announced. They only do encoding/streaming.
16/ You can streaming right now, yourself, with things like Nvidia's grid cards, all publicly available. nvidia.com/en-us/data-cen… I don't recommend doing that because operations of this infra are still at a massive loss. But it is possible to make your own Stadia experience today.
17/ Technology is not equal to distribution. Once you create the content you can distribute it where you want. You can literally create your own cloud game and then, because it's just a stream, put it on Steam, Xbox, PS5, Switch, Roku, FireTV, Apple App store, Google Play.
18/ When we started @GenvidTech the philosophy was that the economics of cloud gaming were broken. We knew this having built @Shinra_Tech_JP for Square Enix, its cloud gaming subsidiary. That's why we changed some assumptions.
19/ Instead of doing 1:1 rendering, we enabled the same centralized compute/render resources but all people watched on a single stream. Instead of relying on expensive singlecast realtime bandwidth, we used Twitch. Instead of ultra low latency, we synchronized.
20/ Interactive streaming + cloud backend experiences will come out sooner rather than later because they have the same capabilities- doing a synchronized AI that a million people can interact with over a video stream- as the promise of cloud gaming, but without the overhead.
21/ I am not suggesting MILEs are the end game for cloud gaming, but it is absolutely where experimentation of the promise of cloud gaming will start. I know that because the first ones are coming soon.
22/ @ballmatthew and I explained this logic more thoroughly back in May in the original cloud gaming essay. But I wanted to stress six months later, we're now at the precipice of a supposed new generation of games... that all look the same as the last. matthewball.vc/all/cloudmiles

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