Ama­zon de­vel­op­ing Net­flix-like ser­vice for video games: Re­port

The Straits Times - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON • Ama­zon is plan­ning to use its mas­sive cloud com­put­ing ser­vice to jump into the stream­ing mar­ket for video game play, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from The In­for­ma­tion.

A suc­cess­ful stream­ing plat­form could upend the long­stand­ing busi­ness model of the gam­ing world.

As Net­flix did with TV shows and movies, and Spo­tify did with mu­sic, a gam­ing plat­form could of­fer cus­tomers a wider uni­verse of con­tent through a monthly sub­scrip­tion, while giv­ing game stu­dios a steady rev­enue stream and a broader pool of po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

But big-name game pub­lish­ers may be re­luc­tant to dive in, since such a model would force them to re­lin­quish some con­trol over the dis­tri­bu­tion of their prop­erty and would al­ter how they divvy up their games’ pro­ceeds.

The ser­vice, which could bring top-notch ti­tles to vir­tu­ally any­one with a smart­phone or stream­ing de­vice, could make Ama­zon a ma­jor com­peti­tor in the space al­ready in play by Mi­crosoft and Google.

While most big-bud­get video games re­quire users to own a gam­ing con­sole or a com­puter to run, Ama­zon’s re­ported stream­ing ser­vice would live on the tech gi­ant’s cloud net­work, free­ing cus­tomers to play elab­o­rate, ro­bust games even on their mo­bile de­vices, the re­port said. The ser­vice is slated to launch next year, added.

The de­vel­op­ment of a Web­based gam­ing hub would mark a sig­nif­i­cant foray for Ama­zon. Other big tech com­pa­nies are ad­vanc­ing their own ef­forts to claim ter­ri­tory in the new game-stream­ing mar­ket, in­clud­ing Mi­crosoft and Google.

Ama­zon has al­ready ap­proached game pub­lish­ers to con­sider bring­ing their con­tent to the stream­ing ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Ama­zon did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. (Ama­zon chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Be­zos owns The Wash­ing­ton Post.)

In an Oc­to­ber un­veil­ing f or Project xCloud, a ser­vice that would en­able de­vel­op­ers to place the re­port their Xbox games on any de­vice, the head of Mi­crosoft’s gam­ing cloud divi­sion de­scribed grand am­bi­tions.

“Our vi­sion for the evo­lu­tion of gam­ing is sim­i­lar to mu­sic and movies – en­ter­tain­ment should be avail­able on de­mand and ac­ces­si­ble from any screen,” wrote Mr Ka­reem Choudhry in a com­pany blog post. Google has also jumped into the race to de­velop a gam­ing ser­vice that tran­scends the home con­sole, dubbed Project Stream.

Ama­zon has its ad­van­tages. In ad­di­tion to its mas­sive on­line store and di­rect ac­cess to a broad set of In­ter­net cus­tomers, the com­pany leads the global cloud com­put­ing in­dus­try, com­mand­ing 32 per cent of the mar­ket, com­pared with Mi­cro- soft Azure’s 17 per cent and Google Cloud’s 8 per cent.

Through its Twitch sub­sidiary, the rapidly grow­ing live video stream­ing ser­vice that fo­cuses on video games, Ama­zon also over­sees a thriv­ing com­mu­nity of pas­sion­ate gamers, some of whom are en­joy­ing main­stream suc­cess and el­e­vated cul­tural cache.

More than one mil­lion peo­ple are watch­ing Twitch streams at any given time, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s over­view of last year’s fig­ures.

And the num­ber of peo­ple who broad­cast their video game play, mu­sic, com­men­tary and every­day the­atrics jumped from two mil­lion in 2017 to more than three mil­lion last year.

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