Steam vs Vapor: Amazon could prove to be Valve's only real rival

Steam vs Vapor: Amazon could prove to be Valve's only real rival

Steam vs Vapor

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster for Amazon Games.

The launch of MMORPG New World is the first credible attempt to create a successful title that has resulted in full servers and long queues of players. Not a good thing for the world's best cloud service provider perhaps, but a good sign for the future of gaming. It's a big event for the division considering previous efforts haven't even made it to official launch with the most recent example being Crucible, immediately canceled after a bad reaction to the beta.

For Gaming Division Executives of Amazon, however, any sentiment of joy over the excellent reaction to New World was probably forgotten in the face of the events of the following week, when a huge hacker attack led to the leak of tens of gigabytes of code and data related to the video game division. of the company and the streaming universe represented by Twitch.

Maybe New World will end up being a big hit but even if it loses its thrust, Twitch would still continue to attract a huge audience day after day

So far the absolutely worst case scenario for this leak does not appear to have occurred: while a large amount of private data has been revealed, security of users does not appear to have been directly compromised. Nonetheless, whatever the point of view on Twitch, Amazon or Jeff Bezos and his spaceships, the amount of private information included in the leaked files (in particular, the earnings of streamers who found themselves in the crossfire motivated by a non better specified problem that the leakers have with Amazon), makes everything that happened very difficult to justify.

A key element included in the data is, however, particularly interesting for all those who are trying to predict what exactly Amazon's strategy in the gaming sector is. The company's stock over the past few years has been confusing to say the least. There has always been a strong sense that Amazon felt the need to do something related to video games (hence the existence of Amazon Games), but since the acquisition of Twitch in 2014, video games have never seemed a priority for the upper floors of the company and the direction taken by the gaming strategy has been decidedly unclear.

In light of all this, confirmation that Amazon has worked or is working on a digital distribution platform designed to compete with Steam ( a goal made even clearer by the codename "Vapor") suddenly brings several things into focus and suggests a path to Amazon's ambitions that could have quite a major impact on the entire PC market.

Vapor seems to all intents and purposes a real Steam rival deeply integrated with Twitch and it would not be a surprise if the final version were then to be called Twitch Games Store or something like that. It might not seem like anything revolutionary given Steam's continued dominance of the digital distribution space on PC but it could turn out to be a much more disruptive move than it first appears.

First off, it's not surprising that Twitch is the very heart of Amazon's gaming ambitions. Obviously the company would like to get some fruit from its development and publishing efforts knowing, from what we saw with Prime Video in an attempt to make it a prominent streaming platform, how important first-party content is. However, the really successful element he currently owns in the gaming space is Twitch and it makes sense to build the rest of your ambitions from that platform rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that one of your attempts at creating a great online game goes to. successful. Maybe New World will end up being a huge hit but even if it does disappoint, Twitch will always attract a huge audience day in and day out.

Steam, like Amazon, offers a large audience to interact with, an element that other stores have struggled to recreate The central idea of ​​building from Twitch to create a store that allows viewers to have an instant purchase or subscription process for the games they are watching (or recommended by their favorite streamers) is an obvious idea but no less important for this. We already know how much being played and promoted by streamers is an essential part of marketing and sales for today's titles. Especially among non-AAAs, most developers and publishers have anecdotes about launches based on streamer promotional support. Facilitating the link between stream and purchase as a result could be a big thing, and the commercial potential behind allowing developers to easily get deals with streamers is huge, even if the ethical and moral implications aren't necessarily 100% pleasant. >
Certainly Vapor, or Twitch Store or whatever its name will be, would not be the first attempt to bring Steam off its perch. However, even leaving aside the retail muscle of having Amazon behind it, this store would be the first to try to disrupt digital distribution on PC in a way that truly understands how business disruption works in the 21st century. >
Launching a Steam rival that intertwines directly with Twitch is much more disruptive and potentially capable of altering the market because Twich has what Epic does not have: a gigantic built-in consumer base

Previous suitors at Valve's scepter have been conceptualized as very traditional stores: they focus their attention on the challenge of creating a store that appeals to companies that will provide products to sell with the "consumer approach" if you build it (and fill it with enough products of quality), they will come ". This is especially true for the Epic Games Store, whose most important diversity is for the creators of the products (developers and publishers), while the actual consumer experience in terms of functionality has lagged behind Steam from the beginning. br>
This traditional notion of building a business, where the key challenge is putting together compelling products that inspire consumers to use your store, is understandably appealing to a company like Epic as it puts developers at the heart of the business. whole model. But most of the 21st century breakthrough firms have gone in exactly the opposite direction: businesses that bring together large volumes of consumers and offer these consumers access to companies that want to sell their products. Companies like Uber and Lyft in their essence do not focus on offering consumers a selection of drivers, rather they have a large consumer audience that they sell access to to drivers who wish to sell their services. Deliveroo and Uber Eats sell restaurants and workers access to their large number of customers and AirBnB does the same in its field. Whether you love or hate the way these businesses work, the model is still the same.

Amazon understands this model incredibly well, because although it started with a business model that resembles a traditional bookstore, the decades have turned it into just this kind of breakthrough business. It now operates less as a traditional retailer and more as a portal through which manufacturers, importers and so on can access a large pool of consumers around the world, the hundreds of millions of people whose first instinct when it comes to buying something. is to go to Amazon. Access to these consumers is Amazon's product, and the company is delighted to provide access to their product in many different ways.

Essentially this is also how Steam operates. Just like Amazon, Steam is not a monopoly (there are several competitors and in theory the obstacle to entering the market is not that high) but at the end of the show Steam is a service that has a gigantic group of "captive" consumers (say ... the entire PC market, more or less) and offers publishers and developers access to this group.

Most Read Now

Forza Horizon 5 aims to be first console game that will guarantee native 4K in every graphics mode

Both Forza Horizon 5 modes will benefit from this resolution.

Microsoft surpasses Apple: it is the company that is worth more in the world!

The colossus Microsoft is increasingly colossus.

PlayStation PC is a winning idea for Sony, yet another analyst reiterates it

The new PlayStation label praised by Mat Piscatella.

One of the reasons why the Epic Games Store has struggled to gain popularity and appreciation is the fact that Epic Games does not seem to have understood this important difference. She thought the battle to be fought was on supply and so focused on attracting product creators but failed to pay enough attention to the demand side and work on the undoubtedly more arduous undertaking of getting users from Valve. Launching a Steam rival that integrates directly into Twitch is a much more disruptive and market-altering move, precisely because Twitch has what Epic doesn't have: a giant built-in consumer pool. By selling video games through the world's most popular streaming platform, Amazon would basically solve the audience problem that Epic in some ways hasn't even begun to address.

The real question, I'd say, is why this isn't already happened. Why are we hearing about Vapor through a leak rather than having it already available now? It's unusual that Amazon, a company that generally moves very fast when it has clear ambitions, is taking seven years to take this next step for Twitch. Perhaps the well-documented difficulty of developing first party is blocking things off with the company which, given the Prime Video experience, isn't sure to take on Steam (and now Epic) until it has some good quality first-parties for it. secure service.

It is equally likely that the fact that we are getting confirmation of Vapor's existence just now, is a sign that Amazon's actual strategy in the gaming space remains fuzzy and low-priority. If that is the case, the huge advantage Twitch offers would also likely be squandered: however disruptive your business idea may be, you don't beat a big shot like Valve by coming to the fight distracted and unarmed.

Amazon is probably better positioned than any other company in the world when it comes to establishing itself as a major player in this market but if doing so is not a strategic priority then Vapor may very well remain in the realm of leaks and fantasy.

Powered by Blogger.