As I explore the Earth’s moon in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, I keep thinking about Google Stadia, the new ways gamers can play, and the consequences that streaming will have for the industry.
Gaming is a hot topic for our technology team in Portland, and we wanted to understand more about consumers’ interest in new gaming trends. We recently surveyed consumers on their interest in video game streaming services. When consumers think of brands capable of offering streaming services, Google, Amazon and Netflix perform well compared with industry giants PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep will be a key launch title for Google Stadia, coming bundled in the Google Stadia Founder’s Edition. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a very popular first-person shooter game with multiplayer online elements—think of it as a mash-up of Halo and World of Warcraft. The launch of the new expansion of Shadowkeep saw developer and publisher Bungie implement the new cross-save feature. Cross-save allows players to make progress on their character while playing on any platform whether it be PC, PS4, Xbox One or Google Stadia (when it launches on November 19) by automatically saving their character to the cloud. Previously, characters would be separated by platform, so progress on one did not carry over to progress on another. Players ultimately had to choose which platform they wanted to devote their time to progressing their characters. Personally, I had to choose the PS4 over the PC to play with my friends when Destiny 2: Shadowkeep launched in 2017. Which platform to choose has been a common dilemma for consumers for many years as they weight which expensive device to purchase.
The cross-save feature alleviates some of these challenges and greatly increased my interest in playing Destiny 2: Shadowkeep on Stadia. I’ve found myself using the cross-save feature more than anticipated to switch between PS4 and PC. When Destiny 2: Shadowkeep launched, I thought I would be playing entirely on my PS4 with my friends and significant other. Instead, I’ve been mixing it up. I will play with my friends when they are available for co-op, but I will also jump on the PC version to play competitively against other players. Why? I enjoy playing competitively on PC because of the twitchy nature of the mouse and keyboard. Now, regardless of where I am playing, I am leveling-up!
Stadia will provide another platform for me to play while on the go and it may become my platform of choice. Switching platforms used to be a huge burden for consumers—you would need to invest hundreds of dollars in new devices and restart your progress. Now, consumers can do it in a few clicks for significantly less up-front investment.
As companies navigate the complexities of cloud gaming and streaming services, brand loyalty will be both more important and more tenuous. Gamers can decide to switch, add or remove services on a whim. New games, along with features like cross-save and cross-play (the ability to play with others across platforms), will be crucial to fostering loyalty and keeping gamers on their platform.
As I dive into the depths of the Hellmouth on the Moon, I’ve realized that streaming services will provide significant value to gamers who like to move around, and the low barrier to entry makes it easy to give it a try. This presents both a threat and an opportunity for companies in the industry. We know that one-quarter of consumers are very interested in streaming services even in this early state and interest is likely to grow as companies increase investment in video game streaming services and more features like cross-save are introduced. Personally, I didn’t think I’d be playing Destiny 2 on Stadia, but now with cross-save, I’ll be sure to give it a try. Download our study, The State of Video Game Streaming, for an in-depth evaluation of the forces that are making video game streaming a game-changer.