Presented by Genvid

Settling into a second month of widespread quarantine has given us all an opportunity to reflect and examine a new set of conditions that are already impacting the future of gaming.

With that, Genvid CEO Jacob Navok and the company’s advisory board — experts in cloud streaming and online gaming — recently gathered for a virtual roundtable discussion on our suddenly-altered industry landscape, and how that influences the development of many gaming trends, including the Metaverse.

The following contains excerpts from this intriguing conversation with:

  • Yoichi Wada, the former CEO of Square Enix
  • Jt Gleason, former head of developer relations at Twitch
  • Anna Sweet, investor and former executive with Oculus and Valve
  • and Matthew Ball, interactive media investor and startup advisor.

Jacob Navok (JN): Last year we saw the “promise” of cloud gaming break open with the announcement of Stadia Xcloud, but it doesn’t look like it’s moving the needle much in 2020. Recently, we saw that Stadia was going to make its Stadia Pro feature set available for free for the next few months for anybody with a Gmail address. Do we think that this is going to change or improve the situation? Why?

Yoichi Wada: Simply taking the feature set of PC or console from local, putting it on a server, and streaming — that’s not going to really make much of a difference, or add any value. It doesn’t matter how prevalent 5G becomes; solving bandwidth issues, just moving the feature set of a game over to the cloud really won’t make much of a contribution.

One of the things we need to be really aware of is the unique ability of cloud gaming to bring individual users together in an online environment. Until we get a unique cloud feature set for games, we’re not going to really break through.

JN: So I noticed you nodding a bit, Jt. I want to get your impressions on that same question about where cloud gaming is going and not going.

Jt Gleason: If you look at what the physical benefits are of a system that is rendering something locally versus something that can be rendered globally — locally you have a very fast responsive time, just due to the general zone you happen to be in, so things that need to be super precise need to live there. But what you have inside of the gaming cloud is basically unlimited computational resources. When we see a game that requires that entire space being rendered and the interactions between them being rendered in a way that couldn’t be represented locally by one CPU, or a chunk of CPUs that we put together and decided to call one CPU for this cycle, I think that’s really where you’ll see the next level of game come out.

JN: The Metaverse remains a hot topic. Since the world has changed drastically due to the coronavirus, are we closer to the Metaverse?

Anna Sweet: Before coronavirus, gamers had already embraced that being online and using technology could create real social interaction and friendships, and help you have a connection with people. Now that we’ve all gotten locked in our house, we’re searching for ways to connect to people and we’re going to technology. You have people of all generations doing things like Netflix watch parties or playing Tabletop Simulator on Steam or getting on a Zoom call and having a happy hour together.

While I don’t know that we’ve moved much forward in the Metaverse in terms of figuring out what the technology piece is or what the actual game or place it is — we will all congregate. Mentally, we’ve all made this huge shift forward in a way that I don’t think we would’ve been able to otherwise. We’ve taken a really big step forward.

Matthew Ball: The biggest issues aren’t necessarily consumer willingness, but to some extent it’s interoperability between different partners, different technology stacks/standards, some of the technology as Anna’s mentioning that’s required just to underpin basic capabilities. It’s just not there and is nowhere near being solved.

However, consider experiences around your life online or time online not killing a terrorist in Counterstrike, not trying to get a mushroom in Mario, but just existing. Those have historically been stigmatized and not properly understood; this is a rapid process of de-stigmatization, where people are understanding this is a healthy and fun thing to do that’ll drive an overall embracing of the capabilities required for the Metaverse. We can still say that the Metaverse is years away, but all of the inputs are now healthier and more fertile than we would’ve ever expected in 2020.

For the complete transcript of the roundtable discussion, please visit the Genvid Blog.

Genvid is helping put the “meta” in the Metaverse by creating the most advanced interactive streaming technology in the world.

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