The era of cloud gaming, heralded in recent years by a number of industry commentators, may be upon us. Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud, attempts to produce Netflix-style services where players stream games via servers rather than computing hardware in their own home, are due to launch later this year. How interested are consumers in switching to the cloud?
Not very, suggests research from Ipsos MORI’s GameTrack. The company surveyed gamers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain and found that 70% said they weren’t interested in a video game streaming service.
Only 15% of the surveyed gamers stated firmly that they were interested in a streaming service for games. 12% stated that they “didn’t know” if a service like Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud would be for them or said that they already used a form of streaming service.
The remaining 3% were the most enthusiastic about streaming, stating that they would be “very interested” in a streaming service.
Some commentators have suggested that concerns over internet speed and the dreaded lag effect (where commands put into a controller only impact a game after seconds of delay) could deter consumers from switching to streaming. Interestingly, this does not appear to be the main reason behind the surveyed gamers reluctance to move to a streaming model.
43% of those surveyed believe their “internet connection is fast enough to stream games,” with only 23% disagreeing. An indication that there is still some level of concern about internet reliability is that 32% of gamers said that they “would worry about my internet connection dropping, which would prevent me from streaming games,” with only 28% unconcerned.
Another reason consumers may be reluctant to switch to streaming is an attachment to boxed games. 31% of surveyed gamers agreed with the statement “I prefer to buy packaged games than stream”, with only 24% disagreeing.
The cost of streaming would also appear to be a concern. Only 22% of those surveyed felt that streaming was likely to offer value for money – an interesting finding given that, in terms of start-up costs, streaming could eliminate the need for a $300 console.
It appears that cloud gaming services, like any new technology or entertainment platform, will have to win consumers over from their current habits and platforms. The findings of this survey suggest this could be a slow process, with a limited level of early interest in platforms like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud.