June 12th, 2019, 21:25 Posted By: wraggster
Think of the most personally exciting things you've seen from this year's E3 so far. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that "on-demand game streaming" is not among them.
Despite that, when the E3 show recaps are written this Friday, the push for streaming services will doubtless be among the top stories, right up there with Keanu Reeves and that sequel/remake of that classic game you loved. And when we look back on E3 2019 in years to come, Stadia, Project xCloud, and Orion may be the most industry-shaping things shown here.
It's certainly understandable. The biggest industry shifts aren't always the sexiest ones. I recall no chants of "digital distribution" during the Microsoft press briefing of E3 2005.
"In many ways E3 is about building hype, but streaming is a difficult thing to build hype for" Of course, streaming is in a different position than digital distribution was back then. It has the potential to be just as disruptive, but it also has deep-pocketed backers, powerful companies putting plenty of money behind their own attempts to disrupt the status quo to their own advantage.
When it came to digital distribution, the big players were comparatively timid. They were publicly ambivalent about how customers would get their games, perhaps in deference to the concerns of retail partners. They tinkered with it as a side business, rolling out Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare not as alternative ways to buy retail games but as entirely separate catalogs of smaller original experiences.
On the other hand, it looks like the streaming companies are going to push more aggressively to have streaming as a direct competitor/alternative to non-streaming purchases for customers. When Stadia launches, it will feature new games like Doom Eternal, Ghost Recon: Break Point, and Borderlands 3. Microsoft hasn't said much about the particulars of Project xCloud, but it's widely expected to integrate with the Xbox Game Pass in some way, which already gives subscribers Microsoft's biggest AAA blockbusters and a selection of indie titles on day one.
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