Video game streaming is the new big thing these days with major players like Google, Microsoft and Sony already trying to gain momentum in the market. Although NVIDIA is also pursuing video game streaming with its own GeForce Now, the company has not exactly made its mark on the market yet in comparison to the likes of Google Stadia.
While Stadia did have a rather underwhelming launch, the service did manage to steal everyone’s attention and become the talk of the town. Furthermore, most major competitors like Project xCloud are still in their testing phase which, according to Microsoft, is going to be a very long term process.
However, NVIDIA has just announced a new partnership with the gaming behemoth Tencent to provide cloud game streaming services to consumers.
Tencent will help NVIDIA with improving game streaming services
NVIDIA will be partnering up with Tencent to help with START, which is Tencent’s own cloud gaming service. START, which is only limited to China for now, started its testing earlier this year. Although the service has gone under the radar of most people due to its regional limit, START could turn into something much bigger just because of the sheer clout that Tencent possesses.
It is true that NVIDIA has its own streaming service in the form of GeForce Now but that is also limited to select North American and European markets so there is no overlap or competition between the two right now. However, despite NVIDIA’s prior experience with cloud gaming, Tencent is not asking for advice on how to run START.
Instead, NVIDIA will be providing its industry-leading GPU tech to power Tencent’s cloud streaming platform.
Here’s what Jeff Fisher, the Senior Vice President of Gaming at NVIDIA had to say about the new partnership:
“As one of the leading global platforms for game development, publishing and operations, Tencent Games is set to deliver amazing cloud gaming. Combining the Tencent platform with NVIDIA’s GPU technology will provide a world-class experience for gamers everywhere.”
Earlier this year, NVIDIA also acquired Mellanox to boost the company’s networking capabilities. Now, it seems NVIDIA is taking full advantage of that acquisition.
On the Tencent side of the deal, here’s what the Senior VP of Tencent, Steven Ma had to say:
“NVIDIA’s leadership in building the world’s most powerful GPUs paired with their experience in cloud solutions will empower us to scale our START platform to millions of gamers. Today marks a new opportunity for our companies to further push the frontiers of gaming.”
However, the partnership between NVIDIA and Tencent is not limited to START as the companies have also announced a joint innovation lab for gaming. The lab will focus on developing new tech for better application for AI in games, better game engine optimizations and the development of new lighting techniques including ray tracing and light baking.
Can START compete with the likes of Google Stadia?
The entire idea of game streaming is the elimination of hardware requirements for the consumer so that there are minimum barriers to entry. For example, with game streaming, you don’t need a beefy PC or a console anymore as your mobile devices are capable of streaming the game directly from the data centers of the service provider.
With this in mind, it would be pretty safe to assume that game streaming is the inevitable future of gaming, much like video streaming services like Netflix & YouTube have become the mainstream media consumption methods. However, unlike those, game streaming has to overcome a lot of barriers like latency and extremely high bitrate requirements.
Google Stadia had a rather mediocre launch but the service still manages to perform well under favorable conditions. The inherent problems at launch with Google Stadia were more about the company’s approach to game streaming than technological limitations.
Despite that, video game streaming remains inaccessible to most people around the world. However, better internet access around the world is bound to grow and services like xCloud and Stadia have already established a strong foundation for the future.
With START, Tencent hopes to do pretty much what everyone else aspires, bring AAA games to the masses that cannot afford expensive gaming rigs or consoles. Although the streaming service is currently only limited to China, Tencent expanding START out of China would not be a far-fetched thought.
If there’s any company outside of the U.S that can compete with the likes of Google and Microsoft, it is Tencent. It is the largest gaming company in the world and has its reach into pretty much every aspect of the tech industry. Tencent also holds a significant amount of stock in companies like Epic Games, Riot Games, Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard.
So, obviously, Tencent is absolutely massive when it comes to gaming. Furthermore, Tencent was also responsible for recent mobile hits like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile. The only thing that Tencent lacks is the international reach and prowess that the likes of Google and Microsoft have.
With the NVIDIA partnership, however, Tencent can quickly cover a lot of ground and could potentially become one of the major competitors in the game streaming space. In any case, the next few years look very exciting for the video games industry around the world.