Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cloud Video Games Market will Reach $1 Billion Revenue

Competition among the different video game platforms is increasingly fierce due to a couple of key reasons. First, new console hardware providers enter the market with their generally cheaper devices, while on the other hand gamers are offered a new means of playing via mobile phones.

According to findings from the latest market study by Juniper Research, global revenues from PC and console video games will decline from $46.5 billion this year to $41 billion by 2019.

The Juniper study reveals that despite the decreasing sales of console hardware and increasing significance of mobile platforms, PC and console video games will still account for over 50 percent of industry revenues over the next 5 years.

Global revenues from software sales on both the PC and console platforms will remain relatively healthy, with PC video games software sales exceeding sales on the console platform.

Juniper also found that the new generation of consoles will create a short-term uplift in video game software sales, which is then expected to slow down as the lifecycle of the hardware progresses.

They also believe that a 9th generation of video gaming consoles is likely to arrive around 2019 -- assuming a similar console lifecycle to previous iterations, which is also likely to provoke a longer term software spike.


Upside for Cloud Video Game Revenues

The Juniper study highlights that the cloud games market will reach $1 billion in revenues -- that's a growth of almost 30 percent on the 2014 figure of $281 million.

The increase is a result of the launch of online services, such as the PlayStation Now, and rising interest from mobile network operators to augment ARPU by adding cloud games alongside traditional smartphone services.

Other Findings from the market study include:
  • Multiplayer online battle arena games, such as League of Legends and Dota2, will continue to be among the most popular genres on the PC platform.
  • Handheld devices will continue to struggle in attracting gamers, and revenues from this platform will shrink to under 2 percent of the total games industry sales by 2018.
  • The increasing availability of online video game streaming platforms, such as Twitch, supports the surge in popularity of eSports, or professional gaming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chromebook Adoption is Growing by 56 Percent in 2014

An estimated 5.1 million Ultraportable PCs shipped in Q1 2014, experiencing approximately 65 percent growth in total shipments year-over-year, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Moreover, ultraportable shipments are forecast to continue expanding globally.

This growth demonstrates that there is still a need for these devices, even within an otherwise dreary PC market. By 2019, Ultraportables will experience a CAGR increase of 26 percent to 109.4 million units.

"Ultraportables continue to be a strong force in the PC market and ABI Research expects shipments to continue growing through 2019," said Stephanie Van Vactor, research analyst at ABI Research.

Beyond Ultraportables, ABI still sees the broader portable PC market continuing its struggle to regain high market growth, but due to the overcrowding of the market may never relive those high growth numbers.

Chromebooks, however, are the main low-cost device growth story.

Initial Chromebook adoption was somewhat slow due to consumer hesitation and questionable need, but they have now managed to present themselves as a disruptive force and ABI expects shipments to grow by 56 percent year-over-year during 2014.

Chromebooks are gaining interest among consumers and savvy business users due to their low-price point, pervasive cloud services and vertical market integration -- especially among businesses and education institutions.

Looking ahead, ABI expects more lower cost products, improved connectivity and greater reliance on cloud services to be driving forces of the ongoing ultraportable PC market development.

As expected, overall Notebook PC shipments slowed after the holiday season but the market is still going strong. The year 2014 will be an important deciding factor for Chromebooks and the trajectory of the Notebook PC market in general.

Furthermore, broadly available cloud computing services and an abundance of online storage options are becoming one of the more essential components for the Mobile Internet industry, and users across the globe are interested in purpose-built low-cost devices that offer these services in the most effective way.

Let's not forget, the ongoing shift to open source software is the key catalyst that continues to fuel new innovation -- both at the desktop, while on the go, and within the data center. The evolution of software-defined computing and networking is the key focal point from now on.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Global Pay-TV Digital STB Revenue Reached $20.3B

Following a relatively flat three-year period, the global pay-TV set-top box (STB) market managed to achieve the highest annual revenue total in its history during 2013, setting the stage for continued growth through 2015, according to the latest market study by IHS.

Worldwide digital STB shipment revenue last year totaled $20.3 billion -- that's up 3 percent from $19.6 billion in 2012. Revenue will set new highs during the next two years and will peak at $22.8 billion in 2015.

This follows the period from 2010 through 2012 when revenue remained in the $19.5 billion range.

"Set-top boxes proved to be critical to the strategies of pay-TV operators in 2013," said Daniel Simmons, director for research at IHS.

Growth in 2013 was mainly driven by multimedia home gateways (MHG) reaching large scale in North America.

MHGs are being used by service providers to transition from a legacy broadcast-based pay-TV experience to one that is Internet-centric and better positioned to compete with over-the-top (OTT)-rivals such as Amazon and Netflix.

U.K. STB manufacturer Pace leads this vital market segment with a share of more than 48 percent in 2013. This strong MHG performance also helped Pace retain its global number one status in terms of units shipped in 2013. Cisco continued to lead the global pay-TV STB market in revenue terms.

The market dynamics for STBs are complex and vary considerably from territory to territory, but ultimately depend on individual pay-TV operator strategies and developments in the wider media and consumer electronics industries.

U.S. STB revenue will continue to grow until 2015 as Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network expedite their MHG deployments, driving the higher end of the market.

Chinese and Indian cable TV digitization and the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) GE06 deadline in 2015 for the analog terrestrial TV switch-off will continue to drive large volumes of lower-value boxes. However, many of these projects will near completion in 2015 and the market will contract to $20.7 billion by 2018.

Despite this midterm blip, the longer-term view is more positive with ultra-high-definition (UHD) STBs using High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) becoming significant toward the end of the forecast period. IHS expects pay-TV operators to purchase 13 million UHD STBs in 2018.

Friday, July 18, 2014

4G LTE Mobile Subscribers will Exceed 1 Billion in 2017

LTE is a fourth-generation (4G) global standard which is the natural development route for GSM/HSPA network operators -- it's also the next generation mobile broadband system for many CDMA network operators.

Juniper Research forecasts a rapid uptake of 4G LTE mobile technology in the next five years, with active connections crossing the 1 billion mark in 2017 -- and reaching 1.8 billion by 2019.

This will represent 22 percent of the global active mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) connections by this time.

Their latest global market study finds that, with the rate of LTE network commitments and roll-outs at an all-time high, network and device vendors have significantly improved their position to offer products and solutions to network operators.

The GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) confirmed that 168 manufacturers have announced 1,889 LTE-enabled user devices, including operator and frequency variants, along with 300 commercial network launches.


TD-LTE to Drive Rapid Expansion Plans

Juniper found that TD-LTE (Time Division LTE - using unpaired spectrum) will indeed play a major role in global deployment.

Driven by demand in China, Japan and India, TD-LTE will see an increased network roll-out from other parts of the world.

“TD-LTE will play a significant role, especially in the emerging markets, pushed by China Mobile’s need to support TD-LTE and accelerate its commercial deployment in China," said Nitin Bhas, principal analyst at Juniper Research.

There are thirty six commercial TD-LTE networks, and Juniper says that they expect active TD-LTE connections to demonstrate a higher annual growth rate when compared to FD-LTE (Frequency Division) over the next five years.

Additionally, the three leading Chinese operators including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have announced a joint infrastructure company to share network resources.

Other key findings from the study include:
  • Far East & China will account for the majority of the 4G LTE service revenues by 2019.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 smartphones shipped this year will be LTE enabled with manufacturers expected to ship more 4G enabled devices relative to 2G/3G devices.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Legacy Telecom Market will Transition to Web-Scale

​Worldwide traffic on 3G and 4G mobile communication networks continues to reach new highs as operators strive to satisfy the insatiable craving for broadband access to the Mobile Internet.

Around the globe, satisfying this demand -- by expanding network capacity -- will push mobile packet core spending to over $18 billion through 2019.

Though much of the telecom market experienced a 1Q 2014 seasonal dip, mobile packet core expansion continues with just-in-time infrastructure deployment.

First mover developed markets continue to lead, and now the Rest of the World demands additional capacity as network operators scale-up with the demand.

Mobile network operators must make their network investment choices to meet this never-before experienced growth -- and have a good grasp of the growing demand in the foreseeable future.

"Operators closely manage their CapEx and OpEx with a sharp eye on the top line," says Joe Hoffman, practice director at ABI Research.

But while network functions virtualization (NFV) gains momentum, current business needs require continued investment in the mobile packet core, likely utilizing the legacy technologies.

According to ABI's assessment, continued advances in semiconductor technology -- as they're manifested with commercial IT scale -- will regularly deliver a 20 to 30 percent cost performance improvement.

Software defined networking (SDN) combined with optimization from NFV capabilities brings new WebScale benefits and other much needed advantages to the telecom service provider community.

Furthermore, the rapid transition to open source software -- plus guidance via the OSS vendor consulting and technical services -- will enable this next transition to occur much sooner than originally anticipated.

In its research, ABI found that even with the increased mobile internet traffic growth, traditional packet core spending will taper just as WebScale utilization takes hold and starts to deliver results.

Following the proof of concept tests and beta deployments, the widespread adoption of open source hardware and software will quickly gain momentum -- that's the current forecast.