When you think of gaming these days, names like Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox come to mind. Yet more and more companies seem to be focusing on it, as we previously saw Apple and Netflix make moves into gaming. Now a new player is joining them: YouTube. But why?
For years, the gaming industry was the same. You bought a Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series X and then you purchased a game and you could get started. Something that used to be the same as in the movie industry. Purchase VCR or DVD player, put in videotape or DVD, and go.
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From Netflix to Xbox Game Pass
Where streaming has taken over with music and movies, in that area gaming is still a bit behind. Logical, since the technology of a game is just a bit more complex than playing sound or video on YouTube, for example.
And while of course we had games like Runescape years ago that you could just play online, real streaming was still in its infancy. However, thanks to Nvidia, Xbox and a bit of PlayStation and Nintendo, we are now seeing that it is possible to stream games properly.
And other companies are also seeing this. Streaming games makes it possible to sell subscriptions. Thus, Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus have actually become a kind of Netflix, but with games. Microsoft is even taking it a step further, even streaming to other devices without needing a console to play.
YouTube dives into the world of PlayStation and Nintendo
Other companies see that too, and they want to capitalize on it. Earlier we saw Apple Arcade take off and later Netflix started adding games to its subscription. Now a new player is joining them: YouTube, or Google, which is trying again after the failed Stadia project.
Attack! (Image: Netflix)
And of course, you may not yet compare Apple, Netflix and YouTube to Xbox and PlayStation in terms of games. The games those services release are mostly games you know from your mobile or tablet. So don’t expect thunderous graphical masterpieces. They are mostly fun indies that they pick up. There are now a number of games on Apple Arcade and Netflix that you should definitely give a chance.
In doing so, you can also distinguish Netflix and YouTube from Apple Arcade because the former two see it primarily as a supplement to their subscriptions. They hope this will keep people from canceling their subscriptions for it.
Still, this could be a start of something bigger. Perhaps after a streaming war in the area of series and movies, we might get one in the gaming landscape as well. One that goes beyond Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation alone.
Will YouTube and Netflix fully attack PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox?
However, it will take some time before it does. Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo have also proven they can release really great games. Games that Netflix and YouTube can only dream of. If those companies really want to move in that direction, they will have to acquire better-known game studios and sign contracts with big publishers like Ubisoft, EA and Square Enix.
Game Pass on a Samsung TV. (Image: Samsung)
Incidentally, YouTube still sees the current period only as a test. If it does well, however, it wants to go a step further. And it could then become really interesting if, like Xbox, they can offer larger games via streaming, without the need for hardware. The gaming industry will then become considerably more accessible to large parties like Netflix, but they should not become a new Stadia.