Madrid, 18th March, 2019 – PlayGiga and Ooredoo have announced the first cloud gaming service in Qatar: WADE – Powered by Ooredoo. This new service will deliver high-quality video games to the public without the need to buy a video console or gaming PC.
Ooredoo is the first telco provider to launch a game streaming service in Qatar. By distributing WADE, Ooredoo tv customers will be able to subscribe to the gaming service powered by WADE and enjoy on their TV a similar experience to that of a next-generation console for only QR50 per month (around EUR12).
The new service will allow Ooredoo tv customers to play console-quality video games via streaming without the need to buy expensive consoles or a gaming PC, or to pay for each game individually or waiting while downloading large files to their computers or gaming consoles. WADE includes a curated selection of top-quality games that will be constantly expanding to 80 titles. The catalogue includes popular franchises from top-tier publishers such as MotoGP™18, Tennis World Tour, Superhot, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 and Garfield Kart, among many others, as well as cherry-picked independent games of different genres including racing, kids, action, adventure and more, selected by PlayGiga´s team of experts.
According to the latest study by the company Newzoo, the video game industry was valued at $135 billion in 2018. This is larger than the combined value of the music and movie industries. With the Cloud Gaming technology provided by PlayGiga, telcos can now capture this interactive entertainment opportunity, and complement their PayTV service with a gaming offering that can be accessed from the subscriber’s TV screen. Cloud gaming allows telcos to increase revenues and reduce churn by improving customer engagement.
Yousuf Abdulla Al Kubaisi, COO, Ooredoo, said: “Ooredoo aims, with this initiative, to become a leader in the local gaming world. Cloud-based gaming is the future of how people will consume video games. In a world moving towards the cloud and billions of connected devices, all our customers need is Ooredoo´s set-top box and fibre internet connection to reap the benefits of this new service extension”.
“We are extremely pleased to announce this joint initiative with a partner like Ooredoo´s” said Javier Polo, PlayGiga´s CEO. “It´s a significant recognition of the quality of our proprietary WADE brand and technology and it marks a key milestone in PlayGiga´s international expansion”.
Much like music and TV in the past, gaming is now moving swiftly to the cloud as 5G promises to create new uses cases and enable gaming anytime, anywhere, on any screen. This requires addressing tuning and optimization of network components to maximize performance, grappling with latency to enhance the unique responsiveness of gameplay, and ensuring that operational costs and capital expenses are managed effectively.
PlayGiga needed to provide its customers with a reliable and cost-effective way to bring cloud gaming to the masses. This case study explains how PlayGiga leveraged Intel’s ecosystem–including 5G expertise, high-performing chipset, and cost-effective scalability–to create a platform that meets the needs of telecommunication companies (telcos) and communication service providers (CoSPs) to offer gaming-as-a-service (GaaS) to their customers.
The challenge was to develop a platform that would:
- Create a new gaming market: PlayGiga needed a GaaS solution that would enable CoSPs and telcos to build a new revenue channel, create sticky services for their customers and grow their markets.
- Ensure responsive gameplay: The challenges to providing satisfying gameplay over the cloud requires a reference architecture for the visual cloud that is capable of handling heavy workloads, compressing rich media content efficiently, and accommodating high numbers of users without service slowdowns.
- Leverage the possibilities of 5G: Rapidly evolving network technologies— including 5G—create a push for unique services that help a brand gain recognition and differentiation in a densely-packed marketplace. PlayGiga needed a partner that understood 5G and could help shape technologies to take advantage of it.
The solution that PlayGiga chose was Intel’s Visual Cloud platform to deliver:
- High end compute and graphics performance on a single chip: The 8th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor with Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics delivers excellent performance for gaming workloads.
- Low OpEx and latency: Using the Intel chipset has been shown to reduce OpEx.1 Reducing OpEx can create a profitable business case for CoSPs and telcos with the low latency responsiveness that gamers expect.
- 5G know-how: CoSPs and telcos are looking for ways to monetize their 5G investments and cloud gaming is one answer. Intel’s 5G expertise provided PlayGiga the fundamental components to create their service offering.
Much like music and movies in the past, gaming is now moving swiftly to the cloud as 5G promises to create new game experiences and enables the old dream of gaming anytime, anywhere, on any screen.
But even more so than with 4G, when it comes to getting consumers to adopt new network technology, telcos need a credible and appealing use case to underpin their sales pitch. For 4G, that was streaming video and faster browsing. For 5G, gaming via the cloud is being talked up as one of the ‘killer apps’.
Thanks to 5G, ISPs, developers, publishers and even e-stores will be able to offer to their customers a gaming subscription service with the same quality as a high-end console, but accessible from any TV or PC, and even mobile devices. That’s because as well as much higher bandwidth and download speeds, 5G will also have much lower latency than 4G – meaning that streaming games become a possibility.
Cloud gaming providers, such as PlayGiga, have been collaborating with leading telcos and tech giants like Intel to research 5G performance for streaming virtual reality games.
Such developments could assist games publishers, who face two key strategic issues: how to keep expanding their addressable market and how to keep customers engaged and loyal.
According to data collected by Steam, 53 per cent of users don’t have PCs with the local processing power to run many of the latest games. Cloud gaming removes this barrier, thus vastly increasing the potential audience. In the existing industry model, game distribution is a bottleneck that is largely controlled by the platform holders. The ability to stream games to any reasonably capable computer can get rid of the bottleneck and so address a much broader audience. EA was one of the first major publishers to talk about cloud gaming and invest in their vision. They decided to acquire Los Angeles-based Gamefly in 2018 to give them a head start. Since then Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have announced their own plans.
All these moves have put pressure on the rest of the industry. Companies without the ability to buy an existing player or build out their own technology are badly in need of a way to get some kind of foothold as streaming services gain traction. If these publishers don’t keep up the risk is that more powerful tech giants will disintermediate them.
Cloud gaming also represents the first big opportunity in some time for a brand new service that telcos can offer to their subscribers, adding gaming as part of a bundle deal – much the same as how you might be offered a TV package alongside your home broadband.
Most of the existing solutions may find a niche audience, but they are unlikely to appeal to the mainstream simply because they are targeted at more hardcore gamers. They are not something that families will subscribe to, or which will appeal to the kind of person who only wants to play the occasional blockbuster.
That’s why telcos have such a great opportunity to work with publishers to really get cloud gaming into the mainstream. The telcos have the infrastructure and the experience in selling subscription services at a huge scale, but they need great content. Meanwhile, publishers which have invested tens of millions in developing great games have now the opportunity for a whole new way to get their content out there to a huge new audience – and new revenues as a result.
By Javier Polo, published in the March issue of MCV.