Cloud Gaming Research: In Search of Opportunities

80 Level Research Team has conducted new research to determine the current state of cloud gaming services: its main challenges, prospects, the direction of development, as well as monetization trends, and opportunities.

Cloud gaming is one of the most promising areas of development in gaming today and tomorrow. The 80 Level Research Team has conducted research to determine the current state of cloud gaming services: its main challenges, prospects, direction of development, as well as monetization trends, and opportunities. In order to do that, we reached out to gaming companies, and industry experts, and we have also surveyed 1,500+ gamers to evaluate the current state of the cloud gaming market. Below you can find some highlights from our report. Don’t forget to download the full version here.

Market Overview 

The modern cloud gaming ecosystem does not only include large gaming companies, but also innovative independent cloud gaming providers that are making a name for themselves. Together, these companies are pushing the tech forward and expanding its reach and potential. The growth of cloud gaming over the last 2 years is undeniable. 21.7 million paying users helped the market generate $1.5 billion in 2021. The yearly revenue is going to quadruple in 2024, following the dynamics of the last year on the market.*

Market trends: 

  • Hardware in data centers is an important differentiating factor
  • Cloud gaming is coming to TVs**
  • Small cloud gaming services are taking giant steps
  • The market is — and will continue — consolidating via M&A and investment
  • More large media and entertainment companies will likely get involved.

The pay-per-minute model is a way to provide cloud services at a lower cost for players. Paying by the minute also works better for developers who only have one game on the platform.

Our interviewees even mentioned that cloud gaming services could even be offered to users for free, but with embedded advertising instead of direct payment for the service.

Sebastien Motte, Director at Third Party Studios, Quantic Dream

The reason Microsoft’s service is successful is because they are combining both the subscription system with cloud delivery. It’s very powerful for customers because they don’t have to wait for, say, two hours for a game to download to their device. Game Pass holders have games not on their devices but stored in the cloud.

Cyrus Li, Former Director, Business Development at

Users are very sensitive about paying for subscriptions. However, charging users for how long they play can create a barrier for users to enter the platform because people don't want to pay to play games online; they can download games for free.


For gamers: During the pandemic, many cloud gaming value propositions have emerged or become more visible. Cloud gaming’s usage cases for gamers include:

  • Playing game demos in a subscription service before downloading them
  • Minimizing the download sizes of high-fidelity mobile games, saving precious storage space
  • Being able to have the same experience playing a game on devices with different hardware capabilities
  • Experiencing high-end and supply-constrained gaming hardware for the cost’s fraction 

For gaming companies: Cloud gaming services are a powerful discoverability tool for developers. According to Microsoft statistics, Xbox Game Pass players who use cloud services discover and play nearly twice as many games as Xbox Game Pass members who don’t play on the cloud.

Web Distribution of Cloud Gaming

Interviewees do not believe in the idea of cloud gaming being provided on game studios’ websites, as they generate very low traffic and are mostly used for and advertising.

Interviewees mentioned that only big game studios could try to provide cloud gaming via their websites. Indie and mid-tier studios’ websites could be considered less trustworthy by gamers due to the increased risk of payment fraud. Mid-tiers and indies will prefer more reliable methods and enter cloud gaming through major services.

Sebastien Motte, Director at Third Party Studios, Quantic Dream

I don’t think it makes sense for game developers or publishers to provide their own white-labeled cloud solutions on their websites. Most of them (except maybe for the top 5 publishers) don’t get enough traffic on their site to justify the investment. They need the funnel of a major marketplace to acquire users.

The Future of Cloud Gaming

Users of a cloud gaming service would have a positive experience in the presence of several factors: a high Internet speed, a stable connection, and being closely located to the cloud servers. The majority of gamers have an opportunity to meet all these requirements.

The fast Internet has become more and more accessible worldwide. With the development of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, people now have a better Internet connection, so it is a promising time for cloud gaming services. But immersive disrupting technologies like cloud gaming still take some years to gain mass adoption.

Interviewees consider the possibility of cloud services replacing traditional PC and console gaming where you have to download games onto your device’s storage.

Sebastien Motte, Director at Third Party Studios, Quantic Dream

Undoubtedly, cloud gaming will be scaled up and Microsoft will move into the future in cloud technology. This company already has a deal with Samsung, so users who have new Samsung devices are able to play any Xbox game. There is also a rumor that they are developing a TV stick. Sebastien is sure that cloud technology is going to replace everything, and he notices that the combination of Game Pass and cloud gaming is super powerful.

Cyrus Li, Former Director, Business Development at

In the future, people will enjoy the diversity and connectivity of games because, with the coming of Web 3.0, blockchain games will be more popular. Users will cross different kinds of environments on cloud gaming without any barriers or device requirements. So, blockchain games will “break the wall between the space we are living in and the space inside the computer.” It is a point of convergence in the gaming industry as we move everything into the cloud.

Experts in cloud gaming use a very optimistic language when it comes to association-building: promising, inevitable, diverse, popular, enjoyable, as well as demanded by people and essential for them.

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