Even Meituan has integrated Genshin Impact! Could this be the spring of cloud gaming?

Meituan integrates Genshin Impact Is this the start of cloud gaming?

Recently, the collaboration between Meituan and Genshin Impact called “Dream Link” has become a hot topic among netizens. It all started when a netizen discovered a Genshin Impact cloud gaming entrance on the Meituan app.

Once this situation gained attention, it quickly sparked discussions and criticisms among netizens. Some netizens replaced the game slogan “Genshin Impact, Start” with “Meituan, Start”; others found it absurd that a food delivery app would have a built-in cloud gaming feature. Some even commented that only gaming apps remain pure nowadays.

In fact, both domestically and internationally, various companies have been actively joining the cloud gaming market. Internationally, Sony has stated that cloud gaming will become a major part of their business between 2025 and 2035. Google is also developing the cloud gaming service “YouTube Playables”.

On the domestic front, Tencent’s cloud gaming platform START has recently launched its web version in an attempt to further expand its market share. The highly popular game “Genshin Impact” officially started its cloud gaming beta testing on October 13, 2021. Additionally, the recently launched mobile game “Nishuihan” also introduced its cloud gaming version at the same time.

Cloud·Genshin Impact

In fact, cloud technology and cloud gaming are not new concepts. In my opinion, the collaboration between Meituan, an app with little to do with gaming, and “Cloud·Genshin Impact” may signify the arrival of the “spring” for cloud gaming, leading it onto a path of rapid development.

Cloud gaming, as the main means of cloud computing, runs all games on the server side and then transmits the game screen to users through the network. Users can remotely control the game through the network. In this way, the user’s device no longer needs any high-end processors and graphics cards, and can enjoy various large-scale games.

Cloud gaming is not a recent development. More than ten years ago, a game manufacturer named OnLive proposed the cloud gaming project. However, due to the limitations of the era, technical issues such as interaction delay and multimedia quality could not be overcome, which prevented cloud gaming from making any breakthrough progress in the early stages. Nevertheless, many companies are still constantly exploring various cloud gaming technologies and profit-seeking business models. At that time, the “cloudification” goal of cloud gaming was mainly focused on console games and PC online games.

Later, with the rise of mobile games and the popularity of 4G and 5G networks, mobile games replaced console games and PC games and began to flourish. Moreover, due to the increasingly excellent production of mobile games and the increasing amount of memory they occupy, the requirements for phone configurations have also become higher. In such a context, cloud gaming has also shifted its focus to mobile phones.

Take “Genshin Impact,” the top-ranked mobile game, as an example. The current installation package for Genshin Impact in the App Store is 2.8GB, and as friends who have played the game know, after the game is initially installed, it still needs to download nearly 20GB of game files before it can run properly. In addition, this game is very demanding in terms of phone configuration. Only a handful of phones can play it at the highest graphics settings without dropping frames for an hour.

Yun Genshin, on the other hand, has a small installation package size of only 76.8MB, and the increase in file size after playing can be almost negligible. It can save players a lot of phone memory and the download and update time of the game, and users with low-end devices can also enjoy the gaming experience brought by high-quality graphics and high frame rates.

In terms of market performance, according to the “2022-2027 China Cloud Gaming Industry Market In-depth Research and Investment Strategy Forecast Report” published by the China Research & Puhua Industrial Research Institute, the number of monthly active users of cloud gaming in China reached 84.1 million in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 35.21%. It is expected to increase to about 180 million people by 2025. Technological upgrades have further enhanced the cloud gaming experience, promoting double growth in user stickiness and willingness to pay, and becoming the main driving force for the rapid development of the cloud gaming market in China. Breakthroughs in cloud micro-client technology and business models have brought incremental markets, and cloud gaming distribution and trial play have made significant contributions to overall market revenue growth.

Everything has its pros and cons, and cloud gaming currently has disadvantages that cannot be ignored. Compared to traditional games, the user experience of cloud gaming is too dependent on the network environment, resulting in many visual scenes and game experiences being compromised, just like selecting intelligent resolution when watching online videos, so the clarity of the image will vary with the change in network speed, sometimes clear and sometimes blurry.

In addition to speed, network stability is also a key factor. Unlike online videos, online games do not have buffering mechanisms, especially in real-time combat game scenarios. Once there is packet loss and lag, it is no different from being a “performer” who “feeds kills”, and the gaming experience will plummet as a result.

Cloud – Nishuihan

The second drawback of cloud gaming is the competition barrier formed between game manufacturers. Currently, most cloud gaming platforms are built by individual game manufacturers, so players cannot play games from another manufacturer on this platform.

For example, LOL players cannot play this game on a cloud gaming platform produced by NetEase, and general players cannot only play games produced by a single manufacturer. Therefore, it is possible that players need to pay for multiple platforms at the same time. This situation is somewhat similar to the membership of major video websites nowadays, where each platform has its exclusive IP dramas or variety shows.

NetEase Cloud Gaming – Partial Game List

The last drawback of cloud gaming is actually quite distant from players, and it is about game copyright issues. Currently, in addition to cloud gaming platforms produced by major game manufacturers, there are more platforms produced by other small companies. So, do they have authorization from the copyright owners for the single-player or online games they have put on their products?

Using cloud gaming as a keyword, I searched on a website that can retrieve intellectual property court judgments, and found 3 court announcements and 31 case studies. From this, it can be seen that not all cloud gaming platforms are operating openly and legally, especially for some foreign AAA games, even if they have been infringed in China, they may not be aware of it yet.

Currently, cloud gaming is still in the early stage of development in China, with opportunities and risks coexisting. The inclusion of “Cloud·Genshin Impact” in Meituan is a positive signal, just like the significance of new forces in car manufacturing in 2014~2015. In the future, more and more manufacturers will enter the field of cloud gaming. Although cloud gaming still faces many problems at present, such as the rising cost of games, the insufficient infrastructure of the network, and the instability and latency issues of cloud gaming, it is still a field with extensive commercial prospects.

First of all, with the popularization of mobile internet and the maturity of 5G technology, the conditions for the promotion and popularization of cloud gaming will become increasingly mature, and there are also many potential business opportunities for cloud gaming. In addition, the government’s related policies have provided a rich soil for the development of cloud gaming. Cloud gaming will also deeply integrate, drive, and empower emerging industries such as metaverse, digital humans, and digital cultural tourism, and jointly build a new ecosystem of information infrastructure.

In general, although the field of cloud gaming faces multiple challenges, from recent news, it can be seen that more and more companies from different industries have started to invest in this field. The coexistence of opportunities and challenges is a typical characteristic of the initial development of things, but it will also promote the rapid development and progress of the entire industry. In the future, it is expected to see cloud gaming inject more vitality into the entire gaming industry and bring more development and innovation.

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