20/20 Vision (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves)

It’s this time of year where everyone starts the annual prediction cycle and we couldn’t help but want to get involved. In 2019 we saw the start of the next revolution of online gaming, including our own demonstration of the potential of concurrency to drive successful scale in the cloud. From this view, we do have a few ideas about what 2020 might bring us:

#1 Consolidation in cloud gaming and interactive applications will increase as the industry continues to struggle to find the right technology and successful business models. We’ll see larger players or new market entrants purchasing smaller organisations to create new offerings as demonstrated by Facebooks’ recent purchase of PlayGiga, Nutanix purchasing Frame, and Unity’s recent acquisition of Obvioos, creator of 3D application streaming service Furioos…

#2 Facebook will announce a cloud gaming service or launch one at the next GDC. We do wonder if this is less about becoming a leading games platform but rather to fill a potential future advertising hole as growth continues to shrink and revenues could start to plateau. Is this part of a strategic plan to bring new eyes to Facebook? Their growth in streaming is working and cloud gaming could be part of a plan to double down on this strategy?  Similar could be said about Google Stadia as we continue into 2020. Is this really about providing a great gaming experience or is it about increasing YouTube revenue? As an extra bonus prediction here we also see Amazon getting involved in 2020 but with a different approach, looking to take on Apple Arcade head-to-head.

#3 5G starts to deliver what 4G promised. 5G is still an infrastructure problem needing at least three more years before we start to really see the benefits and a true system to support things like IoT and a cohesive edge compute strategy from multiple players.

#4 The move to a virtual workspace paradigm is starting to reach its logical conclusion as cloud-based desktops (DaaS) begin to go mainstream. With Microsoft now making Windows available as a subscription streamed from Azure it’s a simple step for the giant to start delivering everything as a monthly service. With over 1 billion installed licenses you do need to ask what technology and infrastructure changes will be required to support that level of streaming. But the exciting note is that this idea of a private personal workspace that you could throw-up or down at will on any device has been on the Sci-Fi bucket list. Futurologists and fantasy writers like William Gibson have been creating a vision of how this would work for years…. And folks, it’s finally happening.

#5 Nvidia’s GeForce NOW service will continue to not launch and will not be a “next big thing”.

#6 Another Fortnite moment will happen. There will be a “next big thing” like there was with Apex (50 million MAU in month 1) and COD Mobile (400 million downloads). But, what is also a constant prediction is that no one will or can predict what it will be. But we caveat this with a small addition. We do see the emergence of a cloud-native game that uses the cloud’s capabilities to do something completely different. Here’s looking at you Mainframe.

#7 Our personal favourite: game engines continue to grow as 3D workflow engines. Gaming platforms will be showing the way with experiences in the driving seat. All puns intended as companies like McLaren, General Motors, The Mill, and many others work with the Unity’s and Epic’s of the world, to deliver amazing visual experiences across all industries. You have to be talented and clever to develop games as they are feats of engineering. To manage to create worlds where you are able to support millions of multiplayer experiences in immersive 3D environments is impressive. With all the physics and nuanced understanding of how momentum, weight and density play out in virtual environments have game engineers and developers leading the way. We’ll continue to see partnerships like Unity and SHoP Architects empowering users as they build collaborative, real-time applications that use massive data sets.

#8 And finally, the short note is that games technology will continue to influence across all market segments.

We’ve served the tea and now look forward to seeing if we were right. Marek is betting a solid 100% but let us know what you think!

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