Game streaming may be the future of gaming, but it’s a relatively tiny market today. And Sony is the biggest player, according to a new report.
“Cloud as a platform is the next major battleground for the biggest games companies,” a new IHS report notes. “Competitivity in cloud gaming services will revolve around two key areas: infrastructure and content. Cloud gaming services will slowly increase their potential audience as next-generation fixed and mobile broadband is adopted. 5G will start to make a more significant impact on adoption from 2022 onwards.”
According to the firm, the total size of the cloud gaming market is just $387 million today, but it’s expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2023.
Sony’s PlayStation Now service is currently the biggest player, and it is responsible for 36 percent of that total, or about $90 million. That figure is interesting because it may give us a rough idea of the number of users who subscribe to PlayStation Now. The cost of the service ranges from $20 per month to $99 per year, depending on how one pays. If you figure an average cost of $180 per year, then it’s reasonable to believe there are about 500,000 subscribers.
That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 36.3 million PlayStation Plus subscribers and the 100 million PlayStation 4 consoles that Sony has sold. But then this is early days for game streaming, and the disparity between these numbers neatly highlights why Sony needs Microsoft Azure if it’s going to scale its own business to meet the game streaming needs of the future.
And Sony is going to have a lot of competition. In addition to tradition console makers like Microsoft, which will offer its own xCloud service, Sony will have to stare down new competitors like Google Stadia, Amazon, Walmart, and others.