In the wake of Google Stadia’s closure, Google in now unveiling something new: Google Cloud for Games. This is not so much a new product as a new strategy for the company to maintain a foothold in the cloud gaming space. Following the shuttering of Stadia, Google will now turn away from a consumer-facing approach to offering cloud infrastructure support to game publishers.
Toward this end, Google Cloud has already formed some impressive partnerships with the likes of Activision Blizzard, Embracer Group, Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Nintendo and others.
A big part of the new Google Cloud strategy will be live service games. As Jack Buser, former head of PlayStation Home and now Director of Game Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, points out in a March 8th blog post, live service games are the future. In the post he goes on to outline the three key aspects of Google’s strategy to become the largest infrastructure provider for live service games.
1. Serve players everywhere
Success shouldn’t worry a game developer. To that end, one of the most important capabilities Google Cloud can provide is scale. Kubernetes (an open-source container orchestration engine made by Google) is recognized as one of the best ways to handle computing at massive scale and no one knows it better than us — we founded the project and continue to be its most prolific contributor.
2. Collect and organize game data
Leveraging our vast experience with our own live services, we created Cloud Spanner to fully address data scalability. Spanner provides a single, logical, horizontally scalable database that can process 2+ billion requests per second. This means game developers don’t have to compromise between performance, manageability, and scale (no more sharding!). They can have a single database that scales to handle the largest player audiences.
3. Unlock player and game insights
There are over 3 billion players in the world, and they come in all shapes and sizes. To delight them, developers need to understand what works and segment players accordingly. Take, for example, Square Enix, a global games publisher. They’re using data and analytics to build a “single gamer view” to understand and engage their players, resulting in increased playtime. That means more opportunities to monetize.
BigQuery (Google’s serverless data warehouse) is a catalyst for generating insights and is a killer app among large game developers. It’s used by nearly all of Google Cloud’s top game companies.
How this new approach will ultimately work out for Google only time will tell. As Buser himself told Axios, “We basically had to make decisions about Stadia that we realized that, at Google Cloud, we are at our best when we’re helping other people build this stuff, not necessarily building it ourselves.”
Featured image via Google Cloud.