Over the past ten months, Google launched its cloud gaming service Stadia, Apple introduced subscription service Apple Arcade, and Amazon released a free-to-play PC game called “Crucible.” Livestreaming platforms like Facebook Gaming also are vying for audience attention.
But after the splashy launches, whatever happened to Apple Arcade or Google Stadia or some of these other products? We take a look at them below.
In September, Joost van Dreunen, founder of video game investment firm New Breukelen estimated 50 million people could subscribe to Arcade within the next two years, which could bring in $250 million for Apple each month, he said.
“I continue to believe that the Apple Arcade has potential, but it has a ways to go,” said van Dreunen on Saturday, “Its titles are beautiful and clever, but appear to serve the Apple aesthetic more than gamers looking for uncomplicated, casual content.”
While the service no longer gets much buzz online, Apple regularly adds new games to it.
Arcade now boasts more than 120 games, playable on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV. It’s still a viable service for gamers who exist in the Apple ecosystem and don’t own consoles or PCs.
Stadia succeeds in delivering a console-quality experience without clunky, space-consuming hardware. You also don’t have to wait and install games, saving hours of typical downloading time for serious gamers. In tests that were run last year by CNN Business, Stadia showed minimal lag thanks to the cloud, and the graphics loaded seamlessly on mobile, even in particularly intense battle scenes — as long as the internet connection was strong.
But the platform’s biggest challenge has been in offering content that will attract gamers. Stadia now has more than 55 games on the service, and more are announced each week.
However, critics have noted that many of these games are already available on other platforms and existing consoles, so why should consumers
“Stadia has a long road ahead,” said Dreunen. “The service is running out of runway to elbow its way into the traditional console space as Sony and Microsoft gear up to release their next gen devices.”
Google declined to say how many users are on the Arcadia platform.
Microsoft’s Mixer and Project xCloud
Now streamers without a home will have to decide whether to migrate to Twitch, Facebook Gaming, YouTube or a smaller platform.
By October, Mixer had just 3.2% of hours watched, according to StreamElements, which publishes quarterly reports on streaming. (Twitch, by contrast made up 75.6% of hours watched.)
In a statement, Microsoft explained that Mixer didn’t grow fast enough to match up with the company’s vision for its gamers. “it became clear that the time to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’re shifting our focus to deliver upon that vision.”
“Crucible” combines elements from adventure and questing games, like defeating monsters for experience points, as well as features from popular shooter games.
Amazon’s game development arm has little brand name recognition, so its reputation will depend on whether fans are enthusiastic about “Crucible” or its upcoming massive multiplayer game “New World,” analysts told CNN Business in May.
Whatever the result, Amazon already has its foot in the gaming industry by offering its web services to major developers and through attracting millions of pageviews on Twitch, the livestreaming king.
As of last November, Facebook said more than 700 million of its 2.4 billion active users “engage with” gaming content on its platform each month. But the stat has caveats: Facebook counts anybody who has watched even just one minute of content, played a game or left a comment or reaction within a gaming group.