With Google’s video game streaming service, Google Stadia, set to arrive later this year, it’s an apt time to look at whether game streaming services have been successful so far — and how gamers feel about them in the first place.
For those who don’t know, video game streaming is essentially like Netflix for gamers. Instead of buying physical copies of video games, players can play them over the internet by streaming them through a device.
Both awareness and adoption of these services are fairly high. In a recent CivicScience poll of 1,144 Americans, only one in five hadn’t heard of video game streaming services. And although 62% of all respondents said they’re not interested, it seems as though one of the primary markets for video games — those under age 25 — is definitely on board with the idea of game streaming. Young people made up 40% of those who’ve given streaming services a try:
About 24% of young people surveyed said they’d never heard of game streaming, but that corresponds well with the overall data on this generation — 23% of those under age 25 say they don’t play video games at all.
It’s a Gamer Thing
As you might expect, people who say they “never” play video games are almost entirely either disinterested (72%) or unaware (25%). But among those who do play video games (anywhere from “occasionally” to “daily”), awareness is high — more than four out of five of these “gamers” are at least aware of these services, though just less than a fifth have tried them.
And it seems that when a gamer tries the service, they’re very unlikely to be disappointed: 18% of gamers said they were happy with the services, compared with just 1% that didn’t like streaming games. There’s also a sizable portion of gamers who just haven’t pulled the trigger yet — 11% of gamers said they haven’t tried the services, but they plan to.
However, just more than half of all gamers are not interested (52%) — we’ll look into this more below.
To Stream or Not to Stream? It Depends on How Much You Play
Those who play video games daily or weekly are more than twice as likely to have tried the services and liked them (24%) than casual gamers (10%). These hardcore gamers are also more likely to want to try the service (12% vs 7%) than casual gamers, and far less likely to say they’re not interested (45% vs. 64%). This makes sense — you probably wouldn’t want to shell out $10-20 per month on a game streaming service if you only played once every few weeks. However, the awareness level among hardcore gamers is exactly the same as that of casual gamers.
It’s pretty safe to say that if it catches on, game-streaming would be a game-changer (pun intended). After all, console gamers have been loyally buying cartridges and game discs year in and year out since the 1970s. With about 20% of daily or weekly gamers still unaware that video game streaming exists, game streaming companies might do well to target these demographics now — before the much-hyped arrival of Google Stadia takes its inevitable toll on their customer bases later this year.