How video gaming services contribute to gamer success

Game companies have created memorable franchises in recent years that have delighted players and enriched our culture. Whatever adventures players experience, developers and publishers depend on gaming services platforms to ensure engagement and profitability. This article defines gaming service platforms and explains why they’re an important contributor to an engaging player experience.

What is a gaming services platform?

A gaming services platform allows publishers to offer a curated library of games directly to players.

Recent growth in the diversity and power of gaming devices have been matched by the availability of compatible hardware and software-based gaming services platforms. These hardware-based platforms support Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo’s Switch/3DS, Valve Steam’s Deck, and Meta’s Quest game consoles. Software-based platforms have also evolved to include Facebook Gaming, Epic Game Store, EA Origin, EA Access, Apple Arcade, Blizzard’s Battle.net, Ubisoft Connect, YouTube Gaming, Meta Quest for VR/AR, and mobile device platforms (Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store). Players certainly have many choices.

Gaming services platforms vs. game servers

For players, gaming services platforms perform functions different from game servers. Generally:

  • Gaming services platforms manage personal account information specific to the player’s gaming services account. This includes managing single sign-on (SSO) authentication, player account information, accessibility rules, curated game catalogs, game pricing, payment, billing management, fraud management, offer management, player feedback, game recommendations, player monetization analytics, digital downloads, loyalty programs, advertising (if enabled), and other roles based on account information.
  • Game server clusters launch and host the games as designed on one or more devices. The functions of game servers are specific to the players of each game. Front-end and back-end game servers perform game-specific functions, including player management and entitlements, game session management, game scaling, player chat, matchmaking, currency management, game economy, in-game store, game analytics, localization, game support, third-party social integration, guild management, clan management, leaderboards, gameplay analytics, advertising enablement, in-game support ticketing, and other functions.

Note that certain functions may be shared differently between gaming services platforms and game servers based on architecture.

UI features

The gaming services platforms supporting these device and content ecosystems have continued to evolve to be significant drivers of player engagement and retention.

Game companies can build on the success of video streaming companies with their user interfaces (UIs) through soliciting and logging player preferences upon setup, then updating these preferences based on subsequent player decisions. This approach gives game companies opportunities to suggest games and in-game items that users may enjoy by using AI to elevate recommendations and predictions. Other best practices include easy navigation with search, personalized game release and review news, COPPA child and parental control protections, and secure web pages to manage the entry of personally identifiable information (PII) and payment information.

Several multichannel marketing hub providers, such as Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, Optimove, and Acquia offer AI-enabled web content management suites that can assist with personalizing and presenting web content to players. The gaming services platform account UI is one of the best opportunities game platform companies can use to identify player preferences and present personalized experiences.

Segmentation

Publishers offer a diverse selection of gaming services packages based on player needs, demographics, game devices, and price points. They are distinguished by one or more of the following features:

  1. Game Device: publishers offer games on one or more device types (e.g., mobile, PC, console, AR/VR)
  2. Operating Systems: games can be offered based on IOS, Android, PC, or proprietary console operating systems
  3. Multi-party Developer: first- and third-party games are offered, allowing a broader selection of games and enabling indie game developers to reach more players
  4. Business Model: game variety can be offered based on game selection and monetization strategies. Platforms enable publishers to grow their subscription-based revenue, gaining market share from F2P games, which account for 85% of worldwide video game revenue
  5. Gaming Streaming Services: includes XBOX Game Pass, Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now, Sony PlayStation Now, Shadow.Tech, AntStream Arcade, Google Stadia, and Meta Quest PlutoSphere. Several of the gaming services platforms also offer gameplay streaming for specific titles.
  6. Esports: games on these platforms support streaming and game competition hosting. Services include Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming, Discord, Caffeine, and Steam TV
  7. Premium Games: provide customer value by offering premium titles on a tiered subscription basis.

Innovation in gaming services platform segmentation and experimentation benefits consumers with robust content choices and flexible pricing.

Benefits

Gaming services platforms enable a number of player-facing benefits, including:

  • Curated game catalogs based on specific hardware and/or accessibility requirements.
  • Demo games before investing more time and money. Multiple business models work for this, including free-to-play (in-game commerce) and Games as a Service (GaaS) subscriptions.
  • More choices based on game bundle pricing and access methods.
  • Access to unified payment methods.
  • Fewer logins are required to play games.
  • General platform currencies can be utilized between games (with concurrent management of game economies).
  • Cross-play opportunities between platforms and devices.
  • Centralized protection of children’s PII with parental controls.

Gaming services platforms also offer the following benefits to game developers and publishers:

  • Ability to monetize their game catalogs through a combination of free-to-play in-game commerce and subscription business models.
  • Player preference data can be used to personalize game and item offers.
  • The means to create “walled gardens” with curated game offerings based on first-party and/or third-party games.
  • Digital downloads support player consumption of content and larger margins vs. physical sales.
  • Publisher branding based on understanding player preferences for the types of games they want to play.
  • For hardware-based game networks, the ability to improve returns on hardware consoles, which are often sold at a loss.
  • Capability to support free trials based on player preferences.
  • Opportunities to market and offer game trials through streaming services (cloud gaming).
  • Advertising (currently being considered by Sony PlayStation and Xbox) can be personalized based on player demographics and preferences.

Opportunities ahead for gamers and game companies

Gaming services platforms supply a crucial role in enabling engaging player experiences and driving the monetization of game content. Their continued advancements in data-driven capabilities in the coming years will benefit all participants in the video games ecosystem and support profitable opportunities in entertainment.

 

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Game controller and pixelated clouds in a purple hue