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August 15, 2020
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Kliuless #43: The Mirage of Cloud Gaming

by Kenneth Liu on 08/05/19 10:51:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Kliuless? Gaming Industry ICYMI #43

Hi, my name is Kenny Liu, and each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I publish broadly. Opinions are mine.

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The Mirage of Cloud Gaming (and How to Reach the Oasis)

  • [KL: This essay was the most well-constructed think piece I have read to date on cloud gaming's future. I highly recommend reading its entirety]
  • "[W]e hear lots about 'the next two billion gamers' (Microsoft) or even the 'next five billion' (Ubisoft). [...] I’m not convinced that cloud gaming will deliver on this expectation – at least as traditionally defined and as applies to the gaming sector today. This doesn’t mean it won’t drive material incremental value – it will. It also offers a pathway to these customers, albeit not via traditional games"
  • "Cloud gaming will make it easier to start playing and in more places – all the while maximizing actual play time. [...] Subscription-based access, which makes incremental games free, and the ability to play a new game right away[,] will also drive gamers to sample and thus play more titles. [...] Each of these benefits is real and significant. But they’re not arguments for unlocking new groups of players; they’re arguments for better monetizing the existing audience of AAA-playing, hardware-based gamers"
  • "All of this returns to the thesis that mobile is already maximizing the gamer audience, and mobile products are largely the result of what the market has demanded rather than what processing capabilities and input capabilities are or aren’t available"
  • "The benefit of cloud gaming, at the end of the day, is going to be in the types of content that could only be created via the cloud – the same way there was value to the types of games that could only be created on console versus arcade, or touch screen versus console. And this has always the case in media. So, what is this content? The history of the last forty years only dwelled on markets for players. Going forward, non-players will drive much of future growth"


  • Ninja departs Twitch for Mixer exclusivity deal
  • Real estate investor agrees to buy Outlaws for $40 million
  • Opinion: The Fortnite World Cup is a glimpse of esports' future
    • "This isn't the esports that pioneers of the field envisioned, but it's the esports that we're getting; something that owes as much to wrestling TV shows, with their focus on personality, flair and entertainment value, as it does to the austere, skill-focused world of Olympic sports and their ilk. This emerging world revolves around individual players and their ability to relate to a fanbase; it's as much if not more so about the capacity to play to a crowd as it is about the capacity to actually win the game
    • The focus on the individual is not to say that there won't be plenty of room for sponsors and managers and teams of people in the background, but the task is going to be more like managing a high-profile celebrity than running a sports team"

Art / Design

PC / Console

  • Bungie delays free-to-play Destiny 2 to October
  • Rockstar Touts GTA Online Casino Update As Game's Biggest Launch
  • Apex Legends has 8-to-10 million players a week
  • EA: Our players often choose other platforms over Nintendo Switch  
  • New Game Trials program will let Switch Online members try games for free   


  • Ustwo begins work on Monument Valley 3
  • Bandai Namco launches a new mobile division
  • Ubisoft acquires mobile publisher Green Panda Games
  • My.Games & iDreamSky partner for mutual international expansion
  • Qualcomm & Tencent team up for future mobile game devices and content
  • Google is testing $5/month Play Pass subscription for Android
  • Report: Loyalty Is Waning Among iPhone Users
  • WSJ: "The Hottest Phones for the Next Billion Users Aren’t Smartphones"
    • "First-time internet consumers are connecting to the web on a new breed of device costing about $25"


  • Report: Mobile Gamers in China
  • NetEase to publish Creative Assembly's Total War series in China
  • Sony essentially "founded an entire business" to bring PS4 to China
  • Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness) on the rise of indie devs across Asia
    • "I think Singapore has an advantage over much of the rest of Asia when it comes to making games that people around the world will want to purchase. For example, English [language] is very good here, and that makes a difference in the way things are presented. If a Chinese game gets exported and translated into English, you can still feel that it's a foreign game, whereas a game from Singapore I don't feel like would have that friction attached. I think all these different regions in Asia have a great deal of potential
    • It feels like things are a little bit on a knife edge, where if it tips a little bit, people will start having success with independent games, see the success, and keep going. Just seeing something happen makes people believe that they can do it too. I think a lot of the time, that's all that has to happen. Now, Beijing has been like a weird special case, because there's been the weird government crackdown on games in the past year, so who knows what's going to happen there. But places like Taipei, it definitely feels like that"
  • Apple is pivoting to services, but will that work in China?
  • WhatsApp global head: "We view India as our future"
  • Netflix launches $3/month mobile-only subscriptions in India

Tech / Entertainment


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LinkedIn: @kliuless

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