Gamers are freaking out over two things right now: PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Both are set to launch this holiday season, and both are expected to deliver brand new, but similar, gaming experiences. But more tech companies are increasingly interested in making money from gaming without necessarily selling buyers dedicated gaming rigs. That’s because technology now allows a different type of gaming computer, one you don’t even have to bring into your home: a powerful server. Add to that a steady internet connection and a healthy collection of games, and you end up with a gaming streaming service.
In theory, a game streaming service would let you play any game you own on any device. In practice, we’re not quite there. But Amazon has been rumored to want a piece of the massive gaming pie, and its game streaming service might debut about the same time the PS5 and new Xbox hit stores.
With $150 billion in annual revenue, gaming is twice the combined size of the film and music industries, Protocol reports. That’s why tech companies that haven’t been traditionally associated with gaming are more interested now.
Amazon happens to be one of the biggest names in cloud services, and it makes a lot of sense to assume the company would want to get into the streaming business sooner than later. After all, Amazon already owns Twitch, the go-to service for watching games being played. And Amazon’s AWS cloud powers solutions to countless gaming businesses.
But the company has been quietly developing its own streaming service that would compete against Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now, as revealed by a report in mid-January 2019. There’s no name for it, and it’s unclear whether it’ll be sold as a standalone product. But Amazon could easily bundle it with its rich Amazon Prime offering to offer customers even more reasons not to ditch the subscription.
Amazon’s vice president for game services and studios declined to discuss the matter with Protocol. He said that “Amazon is not about forced coordination. We think about a distributed ownership model, which allows us to move faster. We don’t think so much about how to tell the overall story. We think about each customer in their own context and tell our story to them.”
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said it’s happening in 2020. “I would bet everything that it’s this year, an actual game-streaming service from Amazon,” he said. “No later than the launch date for the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.” That’s a bold prediction, and analysts aren’t always right, but this would be the perfect year for Amazon to get into game streaming, considering everything else that’s happening in the industry.