Video gaming is now bigger than ever — bigger than pro sports, bigger than movies, bigger than the music industry — and still growing in popularity. Is this because games are becoming more immersive with more stunning imagery and virtual worlds, or is game quality and technology advancing to meet demand? Probably both.
At Seagate’s Experience Zone at CES this year we’re showing how to win The Data Games in all aspects of life and business. And what’s more important to hard core gamers than harnessing the enormous amount of data that makes the latest video games so real they’re unreal? Watch this video for a glimpse at Seagate’s Gaming Grand Prix and Champ’s Corner in the Experience Zone, and hear about some crucial trends and advances from Seagate and our partners at Xbox and Grab Games.
How fast is gaming evolving — and what trends are driving it?
Online gaming is racing to meet demand. The newest consoles handle 4K video, deeper worlds and virtual reality. Skyrocketing popularity of mobile gaming has boosted the total gaming market, and last year games on smartphones became the most lucrative segment. eSports tournaments get larger audiences than some major pro sports championships like the World Series and NBA Finals.
Consider professional gaming and eSports. Last year, Goldman Sachs valued the eSports industry at $500 million with an expected growth of $1 billion by 2019. Globally, nearly 400 million people watch eSports, which represents an enormous business opportunity. Media giants have begun to broadcast eSports tournaments and competitions, buy live streaming video platforms (Amazon acquired Twitch last summer), and create platforms of their own (like YouTube Gaming). Additionally, the 2024 Summer Olympics are considering the inclusion of eSports based on the tremendous success of the League of Legends World Championship. Add blockchain’s decentralized system to gaming’s impressive growth and popularity, and it becomes clear just how seamless and secure the future of gaming will be.
Yet none of this growth potential would be possible without ever-increasing processing power and massive amounts of accessible data storage locally, in the cloud, and at the edge.
What do gamers want?
What do gamers want from their gaming? What do they want in their gear? Today’s gamers enjoy the social aspects of multiplayer gaming, expect dynamic graphics that feel true to life, and appreciate complex worlds that seem unlimited. And they don’t like having to uninstall cherished games to make room for new ones.
“Bigger. Better. Faster. More,” says Eber Legarreta, product marketing manager for Seagate. “Players are always hungry for new exciting content. When a new title is released, they’re already building up hype for the next game that’s coming a few months away!”
Think about the console fanatics eagerly leaping into the latest immersive releases to face new challenges, or the pro gamers up against the world’s best in team eSport events, or the intense online enthusiasts competing in massively multiplayer online games. Today’s players are competitive by nature, enjoy intricate interactions and details in their multiplayer gaming, expect the graphics in a deeply engaging world to feel real, and appreciate when games have dedicated servers, or when their PC or console is properly tricked out to destroy.
4K | AR | VR | MR | HDR — How will game developers meet gamers’ demands for amazing experiences?
And according to Legarreta, the gaming industry is heeding the call. “Particularly on the console side, game developers are raising the bar on in-game experiences like never before,” he says. “Gaming has maintained its cyclical trend of games growing bigger, richer and more beautiful, with both hardware and software growth.”
“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a lot of trends and developments in gaming, especially related to storage — we’ve seen the growth of games rise tremendously,” agrees Dennis Ceccarelli, Xbox Live global product marketing manager. “From 4K to HDR, downloadable content for games that operate as a service, VR, AR and MR, everything else that’s coming down the pipe — we expect to see game sizes continue to rise. Just a few years ago games maxed out at 7GB each. Today games range anywhere from 400MB to 200GB! And that number’s growing.”
Alex Humble from Microsoft offers the latest example: “Forza Motorsport 7, which is the latest version of Forza featuring over 700 cars,” says the Forza senior trainer. “When we’re talking 4K, 60fps [frames per second], and enhanced for Xbox One X, that really starts to raise the file size.”
Those textures are massive, massive, massive files
“When you’re making a game that supports 4K, you need to have textures that are high enough resolution to look good at 4K,” explains Xander Morgan, game designer at Grab Games. “And those textures are massive, massive, massive files.”
“And you need to have large-format storage in order to be able to store all that,” he concludes. “A lot of the hard core PC gamers, they recognize that — and that’s why the most popular setup nowadays is to have a high-performance SSD where you can put your OS and Chrome and all your other essential applications, and then have the larger-format traditional hard drives where you can put games and other media on there.”
The demands of gaming require big technology advances
Games are also becoming more accessible than ever. “The expansion into digital marketplaces inside console UIs now allows players to purchase full digital copies of the latest titles directly from their smartphone, computer — or with the press of a few buttons on their controllers at home. It’s also led to the development of digital library services, like Xbox Game Pass,” says Legarreta.
“And on top of improved graphics, players are interacting with games in brand new ways,” he points out. “This includes much-discussed means such as AR and VR, but also through newer interactive means like Nintendo Switch and their motion controllers.”
All of this, of course, requires big technology advances. The right gear minimizes in-game annoyances like lag times and make it easier to enjoy and collect all the stories, experiences, and universes gamers love in one place while making their overall gaming experience seamless.
How can we improve gamers’ experiences — and help you win the biggest prize?
“They love unboxing new games, and consider a tedious hours-long installation process per game to be a necessary evil,” says Legarreta about the gamers he works with. “What frustrates them is when they run out of space and have to uninstall favorite games to make room for new ones, or when they experience increased load times, or when limited space starts to affect game performance. Ultimately all gamers want increased processing power and plenty of available access to huge data storage, whether it’s local, at the edge, or in the cloud depending on the gaming venue of the moment.”
“Some advanced PC and console players are aware that cost-effective storage solutions can be easily added to boost their gaming system’s capacity and performance,” Legarreta says. “Pro players know that the right gear, including large fast drives, is crucial to minimize or eliminate in-game annoyances like lag times that give them a bad reputation and get them booted from games. But a lot of gamers still aren’t realizing that drives make it infinitely easier to collect all the stories, experiences, and universes they love in one place while making their overall gaming experience seamless.”
Seagate has a comprehensive portfolio of drives like our FireCuda flash-accelerated drives for PCs and laptops, and several models of our popular Game Drive for Xbox and Game Drive for PS4 — for gamers who continue to want ever more dynamic games that are constantly increasing in file size. And for Xbox fans who want on-demand variety at their fingertips, some Special Edition drives include an introductory membership for Xbox Game Pass, which is the first all-you-can-play gaming solution and features an evolving catalog of more than 100 games.
“We work very closely with our gaming partners to develop products designed to provide a seamless gaming experience,” Legarreta explains. “With Xbox, we work hand-in-hand to craft Game Drive for Xbox. Designed to eliminate storage concerns and give players the freedom to store their large game collections-and deliver a seamless gaming experience without any compromise versus playing from their internal console hard drive.”
“We’ve also partnered with some key game developers and partners,” he says. “So we’ve been able to add value on top of helping players with their storage needs, with additional content for some of their favorite games like Assassin’s Creed or trial memberships to Xbox Game Pass.”
Gaming local, and gaming global
Meanwhile much of the gaming industry is utilizing the cloud, more than ever, for a variety of applications — that’s where Seagate Systems and Exos and Nytro enterprise drives are crucial.
“Companies that enable live streaming services, among many other features, require technology for low latency and optimal streaming capability so that gamers have the full benefit of remote access,” says Ken Claffey, Seagate vice president and general manager, Systems. “Seagate systems are highly scalable, modular, and designed to maximize performance with cloud-scale economics. We’re designing these solutions with cloud partners to ensure our products are plug and play. This way they can be deployed seamlessly with high streaming performance that ensures an enjoyable gaming experience.”
All week at CES, Seagate and our partners are exploring the many facets of The Data Games and how to win them. Watch our blog to learn more about the stories we’re exploring at Seagate’s Experience Zone — from creative workflows, to smart home innovations, edge computing, advanced technologies and more.