The news: Samsung could popularize game streaming through its new platform, which will allow users to play video games directly on select 2022 models of its smart TVs without a gaming console, per Gamesindustry.biz.
- The Samsung Gaming Hub platform is being made in partnership with three game streaming companies: Nvidia, Utomik, and Google Stadia.
- Stadia Pro members will be able to stream games in 4K, but Samsung hasn’t said if the gaming hub will require its own subscription.
How we got here: Game streaming is a promising technology that has grown in recent years but has failed to break through as a major force in the video game industry.
- In the early going, game streaming services promised to increase access to blockbuster video games without the prohibitive cost of a console or gaming computer. Instead of running a game natively on a device, the service provider runs it and then streams a high-quality video feed to the user’s screen.
- But early on, services like Google Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now ran into issues with latency (even on single-player games) and lacked crucial multiplayer features that were standard on other gaming platforms.
- Stadia also ran into trouble by developing exclusive games in an attempt to compete with major consoles. It didn’t take long for Google to shutter Stadia’s game development branch and instead focus on refining the core functionality of its service.
Samsung’s edge: If the Samsung Gaming Hub will be available to smart TV users without an extra fee, it’ll introduce game streaming to the rapidly growing number of connected TV (CTV) users.
- CTVs are quickly becoming a dominant force in television and the TV screen of choice across age groups. About two-thirds of the US population will be monthly CTV users in 2022, according to our estimates, with over 80% of users ages 25 to 54 using CTVs.
- The Samsung Gaming Hub will make switching between video games and other functions relatively easy by supporting both Xbox and PlayStation controllers at launch, per The Verge. It also won’t require users to pair their controllers every time when switching between devices.
- The new platform gives Samsung an edge over competing smart TV manufacturers like LG that have yet to solidify game streaming deals. It could also attract the attention of advertisers eager to get access to Samsung's detailed viewer behavior data on the platform across apps and mediums.
What this means: Making video games easily accessible to users where they already are could bring game streaming into the spotlight—and could ignite competition from other CTV manufacturers looking to bring broader forms of entertainment to their platforms.