Are Amazon and Google in gaming for the right reasons?
There’s growing criticism around the two giants’ efforts to break into gaming now that we’ve seen some of what they’ve been working on. One article even argues that Amazon and Google are in it for the “wrong reasons.”
Poor execution makes you an easy target. But to dismiss this next generation of aspiring platform holders because “neither company actually has a proper rationale for being in the games business to begin with” is fatally shortsighted and lacks historical perspective.
What reason did a consumer electronics firm like Sony have to enter the games market other than to sell TV sets, DVD players, and audio equipment? It had done the exact same thing with music and film when it acquired studios to ultimately give consumers a content-driven reason to buy devices. Is that different from what Amazon and Google are trying to accomplish? Is that the right reason?
Similarly, Microsoft didn’t enter gaming because it was in it for the artsy experiences; it was penetrating a new vertical that was adjacent to its existing business units and would fortify its existing position in PC gaming. Does that count?
More so, the current issues around a seamless cloud-based experience and compelling content are just that: growing pains. Or did we forget about the red ring of death that lit up all over E3 the year it was released?
I agree that the current entry by big tech in gaming needs more work. I’ve written extensively about how crappy, in fact, this has been so far. But the billions of dollars spent on new services and platforms also bring an opportunity for innovation and disruption in the existing games market. Remember: games are now mainstream — a bigger market means a different market.
Will everyone be a winner in the end? No.
Are the incumbents better positioned to succeed? Perhaps.
Do we need competition and investment from a consortium of global multinationals to ensure new, innovative experiences for everyone in gaming? Definitely.
And that’s a good enough reason for me.