The growth of massively multiplayer online games is continuing to attract attention. Analysts have suggested that operators need to develop a strategy for securing the delivery of cloud-based gaming services, as part of their transformation from service providers to “experience providers”.
Operators are not in the business of delivering games directly. Instead, they are the channels through which online gaming providers reach customers, and operators therefore constitute an essential part of the value chain. Operators should be creating the conditions under which users can obtain the best experience from online games. Streaming game services need optimised, high-speed connections and, as Analysys Mason note in a recent viewpoint, operators are an essential part of the ecosystem necessary for their delivery.
Of course, customers can choose whichever gaming provider suits their interests, but the choice of operator is probably taken for granted. It’s just assumed that the service will be delivered as expected. But that’s quite an assumption and, as more and more players demand these services, particularly from mobile devices, the importance of the operator will grow.
According to Analysys Mason, cloud gaming services provide an opportunity for operators to “generate new revenue streams, differentiate service bundles [and] reduce churn”. They can achieve this by offering enhanced service and performance guarantees for gamers, delivering a superior quality of experience.
To do so requires the ability to identify and prioritise gaming traffic to ensure that the relevant performance parameters are met. This means delivering policy control to client devices, particularly in mobile networks where conditions are subject to greater variation than in fixed environments.
Recognising an opportunity to create value and revenue is one thing, but taking control of the means to capitalise on the opportunity is quite another. Operators must evolve their policy framework to address the gaming market and they must deploy suitable clients for mobile devices that enable them to extend policy control and management solutions directly to the user. Only by doing so can they begin to deliver the kind of optimised gaming solutions that users will increasingly demand. Having optimised connectivity for gamers, operators can build stronger relationships with the gaming providers, creating a mutually beneficial circle that delivers greater value for all stakeholders.
A successful cloud-based gaming strategy must encompass the complete value chain but it can be executed successfully simply by extending existing policy control solutions into the user domain. It’s a simple step, but a huge leap along the path to creating a truly differentiated user experience.