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Blacknut’s “Netflix for Gaming” democratizes Service Provider Bundles

As gaming moves further into the Cloud, many of Gaming as a Service (GaaS) options available to subscribers seem to be increasingly geared towards an exclusive elite of hardcore gamers. But for everyone else, there's Blacknut. 

In contrast to the dominant trend in cloud gaming whose high entry bar––requiring investments of both time and treasure into high-performance hardware, the latest AAA title on top of costly subscriptions––which can be prohibitively expensive, Blacknut’s “Netflix for Gaming” is an appeal to the casual gamer. 

Established in Rennes, France in 2016 by a team led by CEO Olivier Avaro, Blacknut set out to ‘democratize gaming’ by releasing their first product in 2018. 

Blacknut offers subscribers access to the largest family-friendly game catalog worldwide. By virtualizing and streaming games from the Cloud, they also remove the need to download games to play. Any user with a half-decent internet connection can pick up a controller, login and start playing (Though they recommend an XBox One controller) from a wide range of devices already in the home, including PCs, smartphones, smart TVs and set-top-boxes. Being ported for windows, MacOS, linux, Android and Amazon’s Fire TV stick, players can seamlessly drop and pick up games between devices. 

The company operates under both a B2B model––bundling with service providers––and a direct to consumer, or B2C model, offering “all inclusive” pricing of $9.99 per month. At this price range, Blacknut hopes to lower the entry bar for cloud gaming for the mass market.

Aside from its subscription-based access to its 400+ title catalogue, Blacknut adapts the Netflix model to its licensing strategy as well. Through agreements with game publishers, Blacknut games are made available to subscribers in most countries across the globe. 

An explosion in global demand for gaming––estimated at approximately 3 billion players––has turned Blacknut’s “Netflix for Gaming” model into an increasingly attractive proposition for service providers. In fact, Blacknut has already entered agreements with major European telcos SwissCom and TeamGames (a Telecom Italia division) as well as the Isaeli telecom giant Partner TV, to bundle their service as an extra offering to subscribers. 

Blacknut’s steady subscriber growth has witnessed an exponential acceleration in the first months of 2020 which Avaro links to the series of lockdowns covering much of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s perhaps uncomfortable to admit, but the silver lining for COVID-19 was that it became a massive opportunity for us” Avaro says. According to him, boredom from watching Netflix series has pushed many towards gaming.

The company is also leveraging the power of 5G networks to reduce latency and jitter. By streaming games from servers on the Edge, Blacknut will be able to offer their ever increasing list of subscribers a more seamless and immersive gaming experience.

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