One of the biggest trends on the horizon in the video game industry is the rise of cloud-gaming platforms.
Like Google Project Stream as well as the efforts by PlayStation and Xbox One, cloud-gaming promises a future wherein hardware no longer matters and a set-top box connected to a high-speed Internet connection will be all that gamers need to experience the latest in gaming.
Some companies are even looking at dedicated ways of using the cloud as the only way to game in the future.
Sony, for its part, is taking a multipronged approach that includes cloud-based gaming as well as advanced applications that only powerful hardware located in your home can handle.
Basically, Sony is throwing down the gauntlet with Google and begging them to not only bring Assassin’s Creed-level gaming to streaming services but also advanced augmented reality and virtual reality experiences that require local hardware. Further, Sony is even exploring the hybrid approach used by Nintendo – though with a top-notch hardware slant.
Reports of the struggle to get VR gaming into the mainstream do not seem to have phased Sony in the least. As the largest and most profitable home console platform, the Japanese company has a lot to lose if things like Project Stream take off. Thankfully, Sony not only has their own efforts but is doubling down on its VR department and sees it as a vital segment for the future of the company according to Bloomberg.
This is because, as anyone who loves VR can tell you, virtual reality often requires local hardware to work. In essence, Sony is saying that the future of gaming doesn’t lie in new delivery systems for old experiences, but in crafting multilevel experiences that take advantage of new technology as well as new methods of delivery.
For its current state, Sony couldn’t be enjoying a better time. Operating profit for the fiscal year is estimated to be at about $7 billion and the dominance of the PlayStation 4 platform is expected to continue well into 2021 by some estimates. With 84 million units sold versus its nearest rival Microsoft’s 39 million, Sony not only has a commanding lead but also has a roster of exclusives that have helped differentiate it from its competition. This differentiation is not only the key to the company’s success but necessary for its future survival.
Another aspect of the business that the company says cannot be discounted is how much of a buy-in gamers have with Sony’s current ecosystem. Exploring the games-as-a-service argument, Sony’s next console could also amp up the necessary add-ons that make it a compelling choice for people already deeply invested into it. What many financial analysts expect is that Sony will continue to rely upon exclusive experiences and a varied approach to hardware in order to deliver gaming experiences that streaming cannot. As for whether the future will be streaming or a mixture of services, Sony will have a huge impact on the direction it takes.