Tencent has unveiled two standalone apps in China that allow entry-level smartphone gamers to try out its hit titles Peacekeeper Elite and Honor of Kings.
The Peacekeeper Elite Cloud Game app takes up only 15.7 MB of storage space—compared with 1.6 GB for the original—and offers a comparable gaming experience when the internet connection is stable. Both mini apps have been made available on Yingyongbao, an app marketplace operated by Tencent.
“Cloud gaming will inevitably become mainstream as 5G network coverage expands,” a gaming R&D expert surnamed Yang told KrASIA on Tuesday. “This can enable game developers as they can come up with even more sophisticated pieces without worrying about the capability of players’ phones.”
Ke Yan, lead analyst at DZT Research, thinks that this new form of gaming lowers the barriers to entry. “But gaming companies need to invest in hardware for the cloud platform, so the cost for them is high,” he said.
Game research firm Newzoo predicts that cloud gaming will be as transformative as mobile gaming. In a report from April 2020, the firm said that the sector generated USD 158 million in global revenue for 2019 and that the market value will skyrocket to USD 5.1 billion by 2023.
While Yang believes that the launch of the two cloud gaming apps is actually Tencent’s early stage preparation for the future, Ming Lu, head of China Equity at Aequitas Research, considers the move to be a defensive maneuver from the Shenzhen-based gaming giant.
“Several unlisted game companies pose a certain threat to Tencent, and the most convenient way to fight back is to do full justice to its blockbusters,” the analyst said. Lu warned Tencent investors last week that the average annualized user growth rate for the Chinese gaming market has lowered from 12.7% in 2018 to 6.1% in 2020, citing data from the China Internet Network Information Center.
At the end of 2020, there were around 516 million online gamers in China, down 2.4% from 529 million at the peak of the pandemic in March, Lu said.