The internet of things has changed the face of the video game industry forever. Online gaming led to the rise in social channels, eSports and mass adoption through digital distribution. Developers, publishers and, most importantly, gamers will forever feel the lasting impact of IoT — experiencing their digitally connected worlds through a worldwide lens.
Here, Michael Yum, development chief at Playgroundz, discusses IoT’s impact on the gaming industry now and in the future.
To date, how has IoT been used in the video game industry? What about IoT makes it attractive for the industry?
The introduction of online gaming connected players all over the world through video game devices and software, which led to many new things including genres like battle royale, markets like eSports, and platforms like Twitch. With IoT, the industry was able to monetize in ways they never thought possible, and with digital distribution they were able to accelerate the growth of the market. It’s extremely attractive because it creates a ton of new revenue streams for a game and also reduces their risks by eliminating cost of goods. With the introduction of cloud streaming, IoT can again play a major role because it allows for developers and publishers to connect players without the need of specific devices.
What are some successful examples of IoT in video games, and do you expect the industry to replicate these types of games?
IoT in video games has proven to be a success, and here are some great examples:
Microsoft created Azure, a cloud platform for development solutions to handle and manage data volume, velocity and variety. Microsoft then created services like Azure DocumentDB, Azure App Services and Azure Service Fabric, which help the scaling needs of modern games by providing real-time analytics to build responsive in-game experiences. Developers can now take data from people playing games and in real time render them back out to other gamers to create a live experience even when they are not playing together. Now, all first-party Xbox titles like Halo and Forza are utilizing IoT to enhance their games with the feel of connectivity.
Another successful example can be seen with casinos and mobile casino games. Casinos are utilizing IoT to get players physically back into the casinos by enticing them with free mobile games that reward players with coupons and discounts and prizes. Now that online gambling has passed, they can now also create gaming platforms that connect players all over the world with the physical casino.
With more and more success stories coming out, the industry will be quick to jump in and replicate some of these features.
How have gamers benefited from IoT in the industry?
Gamers have benefited from IoT in many ways, but the most important is that it gave them influencing power which created a major shift in the video game ecosystem. The perfect example can be seen through the success of a streamer named Ninja, who has become one of the most powerful social influencers in the world. IoT gave the ability to connect the game Fortnite to players all over the world through not one, but multiple devices — console, PC, mobile. It then created another connection between the players to viewers through new media platforms like Twitch and YouTube. By connecting gamers to games to devices and then to platforms, the opportunities grew endlessly.
What do you believe is the future role of IoT in video games?
I believe the next major role for IoT in video games will be cloud gaming. IoT will give developers the necessary resources to reach and connect directly with the gamers without the need of platforms like iOS, Android, PlayStation and Xbox. This would give developers huge benefits, especially in terms of development control and profits because they can release and update the game on the fly without any platform approvals. This would also bypass platform fees that are typically in the range of 30%. We are already seeing this happen as Fortnite becomes the first game to skip the Google Play Store for Android distribution and Netflix removing subscription purchases through mobile apps. Developers want more control and freedom, and IoT with cloud technology will enable that.
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