Gaming platform - Games Industry Lens

Gaming platform

Video games are developed to be played on a gaming platform that provides a player experience, which is usually comprised of client input controls, graphics, client software (known as the game client) and hardware, and in some cases platform-exclusive features to support gameplay.

Gaming platforms are generally delineated into the following categories:

  • Consoles – Purpose-built entertainment systems that are designed for playing games, which include popular examples such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Consoles provide the ability to play games by installing physical or digitally distributed game content onto the console hardware that is manufactured by the gaming platform provider. Using this definition, a console might be handheld, such as the Nintendo Switch, or stationary and intended to be used in a home entertainment scenario, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.

  • Personal computer (PC) games – Games that are played using computer software that is installed onto a client machine that can be customized by the player. For this reason, PC gaming is popular among players because of the flexibility and control that it provides.

  • Web games – Games that are designed to be played using a web browser, and which usually provide the benefit of enabling a player to access the game across platforms (cross-platform) by default as web browsers can be installed on many different types of devices.

  • Mobile games – Games that are developed to be played on a mobile phone, usually with a smart phone operating system, such as iOS or Android. Mobile games are usually downloaded from a digital app store and installed onto the phone.

In addition to the above platforms, there are also nascent platforms that are still relatively new and growing, but have much smaller market share compared to the more predominant platforms. Examples of gaming platforms in this category include augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and game streaming, which is sometimes referred to as cloud gaming. Game streaming involves rendering the gameplay in the cloud and streaming to a thin client, typically a web browser. Game streaming allows a player to play a game that is entirely hosted remotely, typically in the cloud by a game streaming service provider. In game streaming, the player connects to a cloud-based game through a web browser or a thin client provided by the cloud gaming service provider (gaming platform).