Chinese tech giant Tencent has begun testing its own cloud gaming platform and is letting a select group of users sign up, as its rivals race to get ahead in the next big trend in the $135 billion video game market.
Cloud gaming allows users to stream games rather than having to download them on smartphones or consoles, or buy physical copies. Instead, the game is run in the cloud.
While the gaming industry has typically made money by selling consoles and games, in recent years, it has been shifting to more of a services model — where add-ons and in-game purchases have been on the rise. This has allowed console-makers to stretch out the lifetime of a console.
Cloud gaming — sometimes referred to as gaming on demand — completely changes the way the industry works.
Tencent recently launched a website for a product called "Start" and is allowing people in Shanghai and the southern China province of Guangdong to sign up for the test. The description on the website, written in Mandarin, translates as "you can play on any device." One of the benefits of cloud gaming is that it doesn't require specific hardware such as a games console.