Analyzing imagination: cloud gaming through the lens of IP

In a new report on innovation in the cloud gaming industry, Clarivate IP analysts explore the dynamics of a developing industry, the strategies of companies behind the disruption and what may happen next. Read now.


The story of video gaming stretches back to the very beginning of the computing age. Always a test bed and demonstrator for computational power, innovation convergence across display technology, connectivity and processor capability has enabled the growth of an industry now far beyond $100 billion in sales each year.

That growth is not just economic, but also cultural. The stories told in a modern computing game, the way characters are developed and acted, the complexity of production and attention to detail in virtual worlds rivals the production of a major Hollywood film. It is not surprising that the video game industry is now larger than worldwide book sales and has for many years surpassed the global movie box office. As a diversionary pastime, it is likely now the world’s favorite.

The desire for game designers to extend, to push what is possible, has always been in tension with the level of game-playing equipment consumers can afford, can fit or can power in their home.

The launch of major gaming platforms that stream video games into players’ homes, but are run and stored in the cloud, seeks to circumvent that inherent limitation.

In our report Cowboys, Combat and Candy: Cloud Gaming through the lens of IP, Clarivate™ has taken a deep look at the development journey of cloud gaming: the dynamics that have paved the way, the companies that have invested and the future development pathways available for even greater game capability.


Insights from integrated IP

Over the past year, intellectual property analysts from Clarivate IP solutions have been researching how different types of IP registration events can work together to tell a fuller story surrounding commercial development cycles. For example, applying the principles of advanced patent analysis to trademark datasets.

IP activity, whether a patent, a trademark or Internet domain registration, acts like a breadcrumb trail that strategists and researchers can follow.

Our work in laying out the registration trail in cloud gaming, focused on the activities of five major platforms as they approach launch, demonstrates how different IP datasets working together foreshadow what will happen months or even years before those plans are publicly announced.


IP activity, whether a patent, a trademark or Internet domain registration, acts like a breadcrumb trail that strategists and researchers can follow.


As found in other analyses conducted by our IP team, patent data and its unique ability to provide vast technical detail alongside the economic planning of patent applicants, tells us how trends in gaming laid the groundwork for a viable cloud model. Massively, multiplayer online, free-to-play and mobile games have successfully introduced to consumers new ways of paying – such as subscriptions to access virtual worlds, in-game transactions for game content or even in-game advertising.

That foundational activity around commercial models has since subsided, to be replaced by extensive work in solving the very toughest problems in streaming video games. These include the issue of internet latency, which would make games unplayable if there is any delay between a player pressing a button and the game responding.

Our integrated view of IP data tells us that the early work on game designs that only play in a cloud environment is now occurring. We also uncovered companies with extensive technical assets applicable to the industry, but that had not yet registered brands, hinting at imminent release of a service – such as Amazon and Nintendo.


Changing what is possible

The move of the gaming industry to cloud has the potential to disrupt and disintermediate in a strikingly similar way to how YouTube and Netflix have affected traditional broadcasting. As there, content is what matters, and the structure of the industry and how it generates revenues and funds new titles is highly likely to change.

But the chronicles of Geralt of Rivia, created in the written works of Andrzej Sapkowski, writ large in the gaming series The Witcher and now a major live action TV series on Netflix, provides a glimpse of what is really at work.

The ingenuity, education and ideation needed to solve complex technical problems ultimately serve the very human desire for compelling storytelling. Gaming offers this experience in a live, virtual environment. Cloud gaming means those worlds will no longer be limited by the equipment in people’s homes, pushing the bar higher for what is possible.


Read Cowboys, Combat and Candy: Cloud Gaming through the lens of IP or join authors for a webinar to learn more.

Interested in more research from the Clarivate intellectual property team? Read our recent analysis of the bioplastics innovation landscape, or see how the pandemic is affecting corporate innovation strategies and the critical role of the IP professional.