What you need to know
- Samsung held a sponsored talk at Game Developers Conference (GDC) on Thursday to discuss the goals behind the Samsung Gaming Hub.
- The service, which will be coming to at least 2022 Samsung smart TVs, hopes to break down the barrier to entry in gaming and to get more people playing.
- The team noted people are still reluctant to get into cloud gaming because of latency issues and discoverability, which it hopes to address.
Samsung is far from the first company to embrace cloud game streaming with the recently announced Samsung Gaming Hub. It's also not the first company to want to bring gaming to more people who don't want to deal with the hassle of buying a likely hard-to-find console or building a PC. However, Samsung Gaming Hub is doing something a lot of them haven't done yet: make itself easily available on smart TVs.
The company hosted a sponsored talk at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) on Thursday to discuss the thought process behind the Samsung Gaming Hub and its goals for the service. While its not an all-in-one, proprietary service like Google Stadia, it strives to make it easy for users with Samsung smart TVs to find games and easily boot them up.
This sounds like a basic concept, but there has been some disconnect between the cloud game streaming services and TVs. Stadia, for example, never quite managed to make the service viable for people who wanted to play on their TVs. You can obviously use NVIDIA's GeForce Now on NVIDIA Shield TVs and a couple of other smart TVs, but it's still lacking presence. Samsung had previously partnered with companies like Microsoft to bring cloud game streaming service Xbox Game Pass to Samsung phones, but never had its own product.
The main idea, according to Andrew Dickerson, head of software engineering, is to make gaming a "first-class citizen" on Samsung TVs. It also wants to prove that cloud streaming is ready for all users.
"The ecosystem has very much embraced game streaming. The interesting thing right now is the consumers are still reluctant to embrace it," said Mike Lucero, head of product, gaming. "The last mile... is to get the consumer excited about it, to convince them it's as good as it is."
The Samsung Gaming Hub is striving to be a one-stop shop for gaming on Samsung TVs. The idea is it'll be a, well, hub for all of your game streaming services and for discoverability, with an AI that'll curate recommendations based on your gaming habits.
That core concept was driven by what both Dickerson and Lucero see as problems with cloud streaming as a product. The technology works, with latency barely being an issue unless you live far away from a server center, but there are a couple of ideas that need to be communicated better to potential users.
The first is that the technology does work. We can't comment on this since Samsung didn't show off Gaming Hub at the talk, but Dickerson said he played Rainbow Six on it and adjusted quickly to any latency that might've existed, allowing him to play as normal. Just have to take their word for it. The second is decreasing the barrier to entry to gaming on the platform, which includes making it easy to connect controllers and content discoverability.
In the end, the team wants what they call the "all-around enthusiasts" to enjoy the platform and spread the word, therefore getting more developers and publishers to partner with Samsung and to get more users. Lucero hopes this means cloud streaming will finally become the "norm."
"I think the first step.. is getting gamers to believe," he said. "Over the next few years, gamers are going to believe. That's the missing piece right now as far as the equation goes."
Samsung Gaming Hub is still set for release later this year. In the meantime, the team said there will be more announcements coming soon.
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Carli contributed gaming content across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. F