The first video game console appeared in 1972. The Magnavox Odyssey revolutionized an entertainment universe that now includes nearly 1.2 billion people. The first home video game console did not sell more than 350,000 units, but it would be the launching pad for today’s world industry valued at 80 Billion. Over the years, we have seen the market evolve from cartridge use to digital downloads and games to become multi-player, sharing the same screen. Now gaming is evolving to its next format, Games as a Service.
Gaming as a service (GaaS) is a new developing direction in the gaming industry. GaaS consists of three components: Hardware (IaaS), Game Content Launch Platform (PaaS), End-User Delivery Platform (SaaS).
What Is Gaas?
David Bailey believes that GaaS “dilutes” the relationship between publishers and developers, offering the latter more control. Mediatonic launched the GaaS Game Fuel platform due to years of work and game publishing experience with Microsoft, Disney, and Time Warner. Cloud technology allows publishers and developers to analyze and manage almost any aspect of the game: content, monetization, difficulty, and more. With Game Fuel, all team members can make changes that will be immediately available to users.
However, GaaS technology has another purpose. They allow the client not to download or install games. They are stored on the server-side, where they are launched, and the user on his device sees only the results of the “codework.” This makes it possible to play on a less powerful device than the program requires.
The pioneer in this area was the OnLive service, which had been in development for about seven years and was released at the end of 2009. However, after five years of existence, it was bought by Sony and, after some time, closed. The reasons for this were the difficulties with playing games on different computer configurations and the need for a constant good connection. Perhaps the technologies were not ready at that time.
Graphic Card Industry
However, today’s flagships in the graphics card industry (Nvidia and AMD) offer solutions designed specifically for cloud services. Therefore, at the end of 2014, the Playkey cloud resource was launched in Europe and the United States, which works according to a similar scheme as OnLive.
The resource is powered by Intel processors and Nvidia Grid video cards. As the company Playkey assures, the service can broadcast a picture in 720p resolution at 30 frames per second at maximum graphics settings. The user only needs to have a modest processor and 5 Mbit / s Internet to do this.
The audience of the service is small today, and, as noted users, it still has some drawbacks (for example, difficulties with moving the cursor). However, the technology itself has some potential and, perhaps, shortly, it will become more widespread.
Business Management Systems Must Function Smoothly to Operate as GaaS
As Gaming as a Service develops, business management systems must operate to support this technology. That means having the ability to manage users, manage and maintain the subscription billing system, immediate authorization and distribution of microtransactions, data, and usage in real-time, and more. Some of the characteristics to consider in a management system that supports the GaaS model:
Universal Billing System to Manage Subscriptions
A universal billing system is important to manage the different forms of customer billing, offer plans, and process transactions.
Time needed: 1 hour.
SuiteBilling, for example, contemplates three main billing formats, which would conform to the GaaS model:
- Flat Rate
It is the most common form of subscription, a fixed weekly / monthly/annual fee. Developers bill each customer before the end of their subscription, either by charging the customer’s account without the need for the customer to perform any action or by providing the link to the customer to make the payment. Once performed, the service is renewed for the established period, while the invoiced amount is incorporated into the company’s accounts and the customer file is updated.
- Based on Volume
It is not very typical in Gaming as a Service, but it gives the possibility of billing based on consumption. Since the GaaS model uses cloud technology and bandwidth, it would be possible to create a price list based on time, usage, bandwidth, etc., and apply it to a fee. This would mean that the client would only pay according to their frequency of play and could be a good USP for occasional players, who would pay less than those more dedicated.
- Multi-level model
Similar to the volume-based model, where a unit of measure is assigned to a rate, but in this case, the customer is billed based on the contracted range. The most common would be based on time of use so that the user can contract ranges of 5-10 hours, 10-20 hours, etc.
Games as Service Profession Models
There is a gaming-as-a-service business model for easy monetization with professionally experimental and exciting solutions from the gaming industry. It is important to say that especially the strategies and content developers in this field will continue to grow this sector and with new forms.
Characteristics of GaaS
Any of the fundamental points of GaaS insert:
- Games are created with cloud technology, supported, and stored here.
- Confidentiality is at the forefront
- One-click and easy to play
- Easy gameplay anytime and anywhere
Advantages of GaaS for Gamers
Here are a few of the benefits of the points of GaaS for gamers:
- Easily play games with GaaS without purchasing DVDs or physical space or installing them on devices.
- It transmits directly to devices and TVs with cloud storage technology compatible with all graphics processors with GaaS services. Therefore, players can easily play A+ quality games without buying high-cost hardware.
- GaaS is much riskier for games than other platforms and offers low price offers.
- GaaS allows players to play with each other, and multiple users can play games simultaneously without freezes or interruptions.
CRM and Customer Management
CRM may seem like a no-brainer today for companies of any size. Still, a GaaS business needs a powerful, intelligent, real-time CRM to handle the sheer amount of user and log-in activity handled by any popular game. Including all the complexities this can entail, such as micromanagement, subscription billing, location, usage, platform, fluctuations in usage periods, device connectivity, and more.
An advanced CRM is essential to ensure the service, and of this, the best.
With all the data collected, it is necessary to segment the user database down to the smallest detail. For example, active grouping subscribers in a certain location make them a special offer, a plan (incremental purchase) adapted to their use, or one-to-one marketing campaigns. With simple filtering, it is possible to see the data updates and real-time, something that is not possible in a typical CRM.
Accessible Anywhere and Anytime
Today, with Gaming being more than just a game, users want to connect as soon as they get the chance. For example, with FIFA, there is a team mode that allows you to play on the console and through other devices such as the tablet or a mobile app.
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A suitable business system integrated with the game and the apps allow multiple devices, all of them connected securely. With multi-phase authentication, a user can access their gaming center with a secure connection from anywhere. Not only does it enhance the user experience, but it provides benefits to the business, such as increased interaction, which is helping the Gaming as a Service industry flourishes in today’s multi-device ecosystem.
FIFA is not the only example.
We can date the first to 2010, when the Fable 3: Kingmaker app was launched, three months before the current console. The app allowed players to accumulate and earn gold by pinpointing real-world locations, which could then be transferred to the game once launched. This was more than seven years ago, the first time that multi-platforms and the real world interacted.
What Does the Future Hold for Gaming as a Service?
Many advances are to come in the GaaS industry. One almost ready is Shadow, which pretends to be the Netflix of video games. A cloud-based, subscription-based GaaS that manages monthly subscriptions and offers custom-built computers to buy or rent. Shadow uses state-of-the-art cloud technology for all of its games, allowing users to play as if they were on a high-end PC.
Leading developers such as Electronic Arts are already using cloud technology, migrating to the Gaming as a Service model, and not only they, Ubisoft, another of the greats, is betting on GaaS, releasing fewer games, but lengthening their life cycle, supplying patches real-time development, updates, and support.
Currently, 4 of the big developers are totally or partly cloud-based (Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision | Blizzard, and Take-Two) and leading the modern era of Gaming. As they evolve and help change the way we play, more developers will join this model, and soon Gaming as a Service will be the only way to participate in one of the greatest hobbies in the world.
Games as a Service in Short
GaaS technology, which has managed to attract the attention of PC games and mobile developers today, has gained the most incredible popularity on gaming platforms. With many game developers working in this area and players following this development closely, GaaS technology continues to increase revenues.
The Games as a Service trend looks promising for the future. For gamers and game developers, the life of the win-win principle will continue to evolve. Game developers use long-term and income-generating games as opportunities rather than individual games. If this post made you want to become a game developer, here’s how.