How cloud technologies are revolutionising the future of gaming in India
With over 650 million users, the Indian casual gaming sector is surely no child’s play. The industry is set to clock $5 billion by 2025, according to a Sequoia India and BCG report, thanks to the deployment of new technologies like Extended Reality (AR, VR, and MR), the rise of streaming videos, and a pandemic-influenced growth in user base.
And with cloud technologies disrupting almost every field, game tech is no exception. With cloud-based gaming solutions, gamers no longer need heavy gaming hardware at home. They can now play games on almost any portable device, from anywhere in the world. The emergence of cloud gaming platforms has only made it easier for developers to produce new games for a wider market.
To discuss and understand the key trends, opportunities, and challenges in the cloud-led gaming sector in India, Google Cloud in partnership with YourStory recently hosted a series of events titled ‘Getting your game on, Cloud’, that brought together domain experts, entrepreneurs, business leads, and technologists to share their thoughts on how they foresee cloud services revolutionising the future of gaming.
Meaningful and actionable data are the need of the hour
To capitalise on India’s massively growing gaming sector, gaming companies must focus on two goals – entertain and delight players, and understand each player’s needs and demands better to provide immersive, personalised gaming experiences, said Jack Buser, Director of Game Industry Solutions, Google Cloud.
In his keynote address titled ‘Now for Next: Getting your game on cloud’, Jack highlighted that there were around 365 million gamers in India in 2021, which is more than the number of gamers in the US, Japan, and South Korea combined.
Despite how the steady inflow of funds has helped this entertainment medium grow at 38 percent CAGR in the last decade, game developers still struggle to monetise their content, believes Anunay Kumar, Principal Architect, Gaming, Google Cloud. In the solution track titled ‘Google Cloud for Indian gaming companies’, Anunay outlined that data is crucial for monetising games to deliver secured and personalised gaming experiences.
“The ability to collect, analyse and derive insights from data has effects across the value chain of your game. It includes user acquisition, providing real-time offers, improving monetisation outcomes, and sharing this data across different units in your organisation from marketing to game developers to business analysts and others in the team to produce better player outcomes in a secure, privacy-focused manner,” he added.
Challenges and roadblocks
Data volume and data fragmentation are the major challenges of gaming companies. Due to existing siloed and fragmented data sets, along with traditional data warehouses – which are not designed to handle the massive data growth – and the absence of access to artificial intelligence and machine learning-based tools, companies are unable to derive actionable insights.
In a panel discussion, Chirag Sanghani, Head - Media, Entertainment & Gaming Business, India, Google Cloud; Vikash Jaiswal, CEO and Founder of Gametion Technologies; and Sharan Tulsiani, Co-founder, Jetapult shared insights and opinions on cloud technology’s impact on casual gaming.
Adding to the challenges of the gaming sector, Vikash said network latency or lag creates a strong negative impact on users’ satisfaction levels with the gaming experience. Sharan further added that game developers in India, especially in Tier II, III cities, are usually afraid to reach out to big cloud service providers for support.
“Game development is an expensive and risky process from a cloud perspective,” said Chirag. However, companies can mitigate those risks, reach more players, and become profitable by harnessing the capabilities of Google Cloud, as Jack mentioned in his keynote.
How game developers can unlock gamer insights
“Google Cloud can help unlock player value with a built-to-launch suite of game solutions and help maximise the value of player data to improve user acquisition, retention, and even monetisation,” said Jack.
Google is positioned to help game companies understand the intent behind the action and gain a 360-degree view of the player, said Anunay. With over 20 years of advertising and customer data expertise, Google’s cloud solutions provide native integrations, planet-scale data warehouse, and built-in machine learning capabilities. He further added that Google Cloud data and analytics would enable gaming companies to focus more on meaningful, actionable insights, rather than on infrastructure.
Google Cloud can help gaming companies accelerate game development, deploy and manage collaboratively on the cloud, find high-value players, engage players, predict player churn with AI and retain players while also improving players’ lifetime value. The search engine giant’s cloud gaming services can also help companies manage and stream esports/gaming tournaments. In terms of security, companies can also mitigate disruptive behaviour with Google ML. Google Cloud automatically updates and continuously monitors security, and protects games from different types of attacks and use cases.
According to Vikhas Mishara, Gaming Customer Engineer, Infrastructure Modernisation Specialist, Google Cloud, businesses can protect gaming endpoints from DDoS attacks using Google’s Cloud Armor. While Google’s Firebase enables spin of the backend infrastructure – making it easier for developers to improve game quality with test automation and stability monitoring, Agones Game Hosting can help companies focus on the aspect of building a multiplayer game instead of developing the infrastructure to support it.
The key to the future: Agility, flexibility and scalability
Though the gaming industry is shifting from pay-to-play to play-to-earn with the advent of blockchain technology, Sharan said that companies in the gaming sector need to build their foundations first, adopt cloud technologies, build the right infrastructure, and deliver immersive experiences. NFT marketplaces provide liquidity to users, said Vikhas, and there is a huge potential for NFT games in the future ahead but there is some work to do before that.
Talking about the road ahead, Sharan said companies should focus on building social, interactive elements of games. Adding to that, Chirag said that to adapt to new trends like Web3, blockchain and content monetisation, companies need to build games that are agile, flexible and scalable. “Developers will need to minimise the infrastructure complexity and accelerate data insights, which they can achieve with Google Cloud,” he shared.