Cloud Gaming: Is it Going Anywhere? (Survey Results)

Cloud Gaming

And so we start sharing some of the results of the survey we have conducted with many of you in the course of April 2021, with our Linux Gamers Survey for Q2 2021. This time we will focus more specifically on the Cloud Gaming section. By the way, you may want to check the very informative article from cow_killer about the different Cloud Gaming options available for Linux gamers.

In the survey, we were interested to see how many of you have already used any of the available Cloud Gaming solutions in the past. Turns out, most of you have not!

Usage of Cloud Gaming Services

While most of us are non-users, the most popular solutions tried so far were:

Note that the answers were not unique, so you should expect that the ones who used one Cloud Gaming service also tried out a few other ones. For the amount of buzz these solutions generated and the free trial campaigns that go with them, this is a fairly low number of ever-usage overall. One caveat: Luna from Amazon is still in beta (invitation only), so you should expect it to become a more important player in the mix soon.

Next, we wanted to know more about the quality of the experience for those who had actually tried any of these Cloud Gaming solutions. The answer used numerical values, from 1 (=terrible) to 5 (=awesome). Here again, the results are mixed, to say the least:

Opinion of Cloud Gaming Among Users

The hallmark of successful products is when you get typically about 70 to 80% in the 4 and 5 ratings on a 5-point scale. Here we are barely reaching the 30%! Even among folks who have actually used such Cloud Gaming services before, it does not look like they came out very convinced that this is a game-changer. The distribution peaks at the middle-value, which we could call “Meh”, and there’s actually more users who had negative experiences than users with positive ones.

Next, we asked respondents what is their intention in the next year towards trying/using Cloud Gaming services.

For this question, let us separate the respondents into three groups:

  • Non-users (who have never used any Cloud Gaming solution)
  • Past users (who used before, but not using right now)
  • Current users (who are currently using them)

In the Non-users group, here is what the future looks like (N=1372):

  • No plan to try: 79.9%
  • Not sure: 10.9%
  • Plan to try: 9.3%

In the Past users group (N=330):

  • No plan to try again: 78.2%
  • Plan to try again: 21.8%

In the current users group (N=163):

  • Will stop using: 30.1%
  • Not sure: 28.2%
  • Will keep using: 41.7%

Let’s do a quick back of the napkin calculation… will the market actually grow with such numbers?

  • For 1372 non-users, assuming that the ones over the fence would be split half-half in both directions, we would get 14.75% of new users, which is about 202 new users.
  • For 330 past users, 21.8% would start using it again, adding about 72 new users in the next year.
  • For 163 Current users, of which 55.8% will continue using (splitting the unsure in two equal parts), about 91 would still be using it in a year from now.

Let’s sum things up:

  • Currently 163 ongoing users
  • Within a year from now: 202 + 72 + 91 = 365 users

Yup, even with these lackluster features discussed above, the market is likely to be growing, mainly driven by the influx of new users who have never tried Cloud Gaming, because there’s still so much potential there. So you should expect all of these companies active in the field to try to attract as many new naive users as they can to grow. However, the conversion/retention from a first time user to an ongoing user does not seem to be great (about half would drop off, and not many would consider going back to Cloud Gaming afterwards), so you would expect some serious user churn as they come. The platform that will crack the problem of user adoption will most likely dominate in the long run. Amazon may be well placed in that field as they could link their service with their existing Prime offering…

Net: we should expect more Linux Gamers to try Cloud Gaming solutions in the near future, while it certainly does not look like it is going to convince a lot of us at this point in time. Based on these numbers, the business of buying and owning games is probably safe for the time being…

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The cloud gaming thing is only interesting to me, when the model is similar to GeforceNow.
I want to own the game and use it outside of streaming. I do not like that much lock in.

It may be OK for some kind of games, that run on servers only anyways, to use Stadia like model.

Last edited 1 year ago by einherier

Cloud gaming is no option for me at all, period.


Never tried. I like to stream from my PC to my other PC with Steam/SteamLink but the concept of Cloud gaming is just no option for me. Also don’t know who I like less Google or Nvidia…