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A Summary of

The Social Serendipity of Cloud Gaming

by
a16z
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First-wave cloud-native games will revolutionize gameplay and hyper-personalized storytelling

  • Games are constantly reinvented: the biggest games today like “Fortnite” and “Clash of Clans” run most of their network on the cloud
  • True cloud-native games are only playable within the cloud infrastructure
  • Benefits: no download time or updates, users can play instantly and on different screens
    • But individuals’ local PCs or other devices may limit cloud interactions and simulations
  • Combination of live video and games: enables different inputs to impact the simulation environment in real time
    • Crowdsourced game playing, like Pokemon and choose-your-own adventures

Setting the stage for new business models

  • Arcade system: no need to pay for one whole game and just jump around games
  • Shift towards subscription pricing model and free-to-play
  • Potential for “YouTube of gaming:” people prefer to process over video than text
  • Design playbook: shorten the “time to fun” for instant play
    • Comeback of instant IO games, shared through Discord and YouTube

Google Stadia unlocks a new level of storytelling and immersion with realistic characters

  • AI enables NPCs (non-playable characters) to adopt objectives and behaviors, generating believable script
    • Fosters more dynamic, enriching experiences and reactions: players can express themselves more freely
  • Second wave of cloud gaming will unlock limitless behavior and immersion game play
  • Having AI assistants that can implement building enables developers to spend more time on brainstorming and conception
  • Cloud easily updates shared experiences and shared worlds
  • Improved client-side processing: less limits on number of players at an instance

Cloud gaming opens up full spectrum of interactions, from light to deep connections

  • Accessibility accommodates different ways of play for different moods and desires
    • Players can feel included no matter the skill level, time availability, or device
  • Video games generates video as it’s consumed, ensuring shareability and interactivity
  • Games as the new social platform: in cloud-native gaming worlds, players can be more spontaneous and not have a purpose, similar to socializing in real life
    • Vision of Metaverse as a community
    • Games as crucial part of pop culture, appealing to all ages and cultures
  • Developing requires constant experimentation in a gray box
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