Technology

Verizon Gaming An Industry Changer? Smooth Gaming

Smooth Gaming‘ is a new column to ValueWalk which will discuss various aspects of the video game industry. From AAA titles, business aspects, and independent developers who often go under-reported. ‘Smooth Gaming’ will take a multi-pronged look at the world of gaming. This week we discuss Verizon’s jump into the gaming industry.

Verizon Gaming
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Verge broke an interesting story concerning the gaming industry. From their exclusive report:

Verizon is currently conducting alpha testing of Verizon Gaming, a game streaming service that would represent a major new initiative for the home and mobile internet giant. The Verge can report that Verizon Gaming is already up and running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box and will, according to the company’s documentation, eventually make its way to Android smartphones. In either usage scenario, the service can be played using a paired Xbox One controller. Verizon has not publicly advertised Verizon Gaming or even really acknowledged its existence.

“For Verizon, cloud gaming could be a showcase for 5G broadband both in the home and on the go. The low latency and fast data speeds of 5G could solve for many of the hurdles that game streaming apps — such as Sony’s PlayStation Now — are dealing with today. And it’s easy to envision Verizon Gaming being an add-on to the company’s home internet or mobile data services,” the exclusive report continues. However, the larger question of what this actually means for gamers needs to be addressed. Luckily, I’m here to deliver some insight into that.

Unfortunately, Verizon has several major scandals to their names, including one of the largest accounting scandals in New York which saw grossly unfair charges. “Low income families, seniors, rural customers and everyone else got hit with multiple rate increases — 84% on basic service and 50%-250% on ancillary services — in New York State since 2006–2016. Verizon and the State claimed the increases were for “massive deployment of fiber optics” and losses. The losses were artificially created and the massive fiber deployment was mostly shifted to Wireless services,” reported Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director, New Networks Institute in March 2018.

“The settlement not only involves major state agencies, but local towns and municipalities, as well. Following the $1.3 million settlement, the Attorney General’s office will be contacting any entities believed to have been targeted by the fraud in order to offer a share of the settlement,” Berger Montage from another case against the company. “Verizon New England has been met with several other fraud allegations in the past. In December 2011, the company paid $800,000 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – in addition to a $1.5 million refund to customers – after a finding that the company overcharged cities and towns within the Commonwealth for basic telephone services. Again, Verizon blamed the matter on a “systemic billing error” and did not admit any liability in the matter,” the firm continued.

So what does all this mean for future users of ‘Verizon Gaming’ which seems certainly destined for release? I’m not saying it means there are definitely going to be shady business practices…

But, it will be important for gamers to go into any business with Verizon with a skeptical eye. Would you play a Bethesda game without expecting a glitch or forty?

The platform is in such early stages of production it’s unclear of how it will operate in the future. Verizon is new to the gaming scene so it would be safe to assume they will have several bumps in the road that are free of any immoral business practices.

With the continued boom of the video game industry, the vertical is likely to attract numerous new content creators and multi-national companies wanting to take advantage of a new market.

Who else will jump in on gaming now that Verizon has taken the plunge?