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Video games move to the cloud

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Video games have had a market boom in 2020 also due to the fact that the various lockdowns have pushed people to turn to home entertainment. There is talk of an industry that, according to market research firm IDC, is worth something like 180 billion dollars. Now that the reopening has led to a smaller presence in people’s homes, not only Microsoft, but also Google and Amazon are betting on a future that, for video games, will be destined to free itself from domestic platforms by moving to subscription services and software that will become more and more central in the articulation of the proposals. In this sense, Xbox Cloud Gaming allows players to stream games rather than having to install them on a device and will involve all Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as well as older Xbox One machines. Xbox Game Pass, on the other hand, is a subscription service that gives players access to a library of over 100 titles for around $ 15 a month. Cloud gaming requires games to be hosted on remote servers and streamed to users on the web who can thus access them via subscription. The mechanism also offers the advantage of attracting players into the Microsoft ecosystem, through different devices, so as to be able to fully involve them. A service that, after being made compatible with mobile devices and computers, now aims at the console market and then extends directly to televisions through the development of partnerships with individual manufacturers. Sony is also betting on services through its offer in PlayStation Plus subscription that grants players access to online multiplayer and a selection of free games that is renewed every month. Sony is focusing primarily on its most successful games with the aim of attracting consumers to the PlayStation platforms. A strategy, that of exclusive contents, which involves Microsoft itself after the acquisition, last year, of Bethesda, a highly successful video game publisher, for 7.5 billion dollars. a huge expansion also in China where for 14 years game consoles such as those developed by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have been banned. But the ban was finally lifted in 2014. Over this long period there has always been a sort of gray market where consoles have been sold but have remained a marginal phenomenon. Big Chinese game developers like Tencent and NetEase have mostly worked on PC and mobile projects. But now, Chinese tech giants, along with a new generation of game developers, are working to take advantage of the growth of consoles, not only in China but also abroad. A market, that of consoles, which is worth 30% of the revenue of the entire gaming sector but which in China is still stuck at 1%.

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