'Gaming as a Service': it was inevitable

'Gaming as a Service': it was inevitable

Summary: Even the gaming world is become one big service-oriented architecture.

TOPICS: Cloud, Tech Industry

Oracle's Bruce Tierney points to a recent case study exhibiting Electronic Arts'move into the online delivery space, and coins this spiffy new term: "Gaming as a Service" (yes, GaaS...) 

SimCity Social Electronic Arts July 2012SimCity Social, from Electronic Arts

But there's more than just "GaaS" that Bruce is venting here -- he looks at EA's new business model from a service-oriented architecture perspective, observing that gaming products have now reached the point where they, too, are "digital services with many of the attributes long associated with Service Oriented Architecture." Or, as IDC's Lewis Ward put it: “Games are becoming more of a service rather than a product, which has all kinds of implications on how you monetize it.”

At EA, a $4.1 billion gaming provider, an SOA platform helps "manage the complexity of transitioning their physical media-based business into their digital 'iHub,'" Bruce relates.

EA -- which first began selling games on floppy disks in the 1980s -- now expects 40% of its revenue to come from online gaming in 2013,  Tara Swords writes in the latest issue of Oracle Profit. The company's iHub infrastructure supports more than 60 interfaces for internal and external service providers. Millions of transactions from around the globe are converted into a standard format for use and reuse by the vendor's financial and business intelligence systems. EA uses both on-premises and cloud-based middleware offerings from Oracle.

(Disclosure: Oracle is a frequent sponsor of my survey research work with Unisphere Research, IOUG and OAUG.)



Topics: Cloud, Tech Industry

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  • Not for me

    I'm of the "pay once play infinitely" philosophy. Online and subscription requirements just pull me off...

    I play one player games or against the computer for multiple player games because I can't be relied on and don't want to rely on others to play.
    • Yes please

      I'm the opposite. I find single player games boring and devote most of my time to MMOs and team FPS games. If I'm not playing with someone, I can't really see the point, but then I'm not a great Solitaire fan either.

      However, whether it's single player, subbed or freetoplay I still prefer digital delivery and updates. There'll be no waiting in line for Mists of Pandaria for example, I'll just start playing immediately it's released due to pre-order and download. Physical delivery media are almost dead as it is and good luck finding optical drives anymore on mobile computers.

      The other important change is downloadable content/patches - even if you bought a CD or DVD originally all your updates will be digital.
  • Games make sense...

    I know some people have to have their games, but in the grand scheme of things, a Cloud outage will affect just that, Games. No one is going to lose their lives (or half-lives) if there is a gaming outage. I understand that others may have their viewpoint on the importance of games and it may differ from mine. If so, then don't subscribe to a Clould based game platform, just buydownload your games so they run off of your PC and don't require a centralized server. Problem solved.
    • You say that as if it's not already relevant

      Tons of popular games are pretty much useless without an internet connection. Service outages are expected...for multiplayer games.

      The sheer outrage following the Diablo III release (which requires you to be connected to their servers at all times, even during single player) shows that it's not really the best thing for content that doesn't need to be online. Blizzard alienated quite a few of its customers with their numerous outages surrounding the release.
      • Yes, Most Gamers Are Very Conscious of the Difference

        Yes, most gamers are very conscious of the difference between a game that requires an Internet connection (like an MMORPG) and a game that does not (anything single player) and aren't very enthralled by single player games that ask for an Internet connection. That's OK for some Flash based game on a website that is supported by advertising, but unacceptable for something they paid twenty to sixty dollars for.
      • Indeed

        D3 was something of the test case regarding online-only play for single player games and the eRage was dramatic.

        Metagame ratings from users were abysmal and most of the displeasure stemmed from the GaaS elements: auction house and online-only. I personally skipped it for those reasons alone.

        It still sold like hotcakes due to the name, but serious damage has been done to the franchise and players are dropping off very quickly. Diablo IV will have a harder battle on sales if it even has a chance to be made.

        Anyone interested in GaaS implementations should pay close attention to D3's reception.
        • D3 wasn't the test case

          Online checks were first brought into main stream by UbiSoft with Assasin's Creed. It's been going on for a while now.

          I mean, I know they're trying to protect the game from pirating, but I really doubt the pirates go out and buy the games that can't be cracked. It just pisses off the legit ($$$) customers to the point where they don't even bother to buy it anymore.

          Pretty much when you release a game without any demo, people are going to be hesitant to take a leap of faith with their wallet. It would be like buying a car with a sheet over it, you don't know what you're getting.
    • Is potential of loss of life the sole standard?

      True, no one is going to lose their lives over a game outage. However, there's still a principle at work. An agreement was entered into: I provide EA with money, they provide me with entertainment value via gameplay. If they want to use the internet as a form of DRM, that's their choice, but does not - and should not - absolve them of their responsibility that they agreed to when they took my money. Is it loss of life? No. But it should constitute breach of (social) contract.

  • It's more efficient.

    Clouds manage resources that are shared by all users. Therefore ppl with crappy computers (which are many) can play the same games as others. This expands the potential customer base and doesn't limit it to just ppl are willing to upgrade there computers.

    Clouds also expose more titles to your audience vs. a store. Sometimes would be able to let you sample it before buying / subscribing.

    Will it ever go down? Yes...but so will your cell phone service. Which one do you think is more important. Unless you are one of those who kept your traditional 2 wire land-line because of this possile outcome, you have no right to complain about game outage...unless you cosinder playing games more important than your phone. :-/
  • Cool acronym

    Game as a service = GaaS