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We talk all things Samsung Gaming Hub a year after its release

Samsung's Gaming Hub celebrates its first anniversary and in this interview with product management director Patrick Horne we discuss the different aspects of the platform which comes with the manufacturer's TVs: resolution and input lag, cloud gaming services, supported controllers, overarching catalogue filters, and more.

Audio transcription

"It's Summer Game Fest Play Days Day 2 for me, and it's the end of Day 2, and we are finishing here at the Samsung Gaming Hub booth to learn a little bit more about what you guys are doing with gaming, and you know, we've been seeing your screens all around, you're of course partners to the event, and we've enjoyed every single game on Samsung TV, which was really nice, but you go beyond that, right?
Thank you so much for joining us Patrick."

"What does gaming mean to Samsung nowadays?
Yeah, we're really trying to bring gaming to a lot more users, we're trying to democratize gaming as we like to say.
We found that with the advent of game streaming over the last several years, that that was an opportunity for us to bring gaming to users, and we built the gaming hub, and we actually launched it last year here at Summer Game Fest, this is our one year anniversary actually."

"Congratulations.
Thank you very much.
So we launched that gaming hub with a variety of cloud gaming streaming services last year, we had a couple, we had Xbox, we had Utomic, we had GeForce Now, and then since that time we've launched several more, we launched Luna, we launched just recently AntStream Arcade and Black Nut, and we now have over 3,000 games available on the gaming hub, so users can go into that, which is kind of a destination aggregation place, you can see all the games in the gaming hub there, where we surface those games up out of those individual services and bring them up for people to view and explore and find a variety of different games for them."

"We're also really happy because it provides a lot of different kind of business models for users, you can get subscriptions through Game Pass and xCloud, but something like AntStream Arcade allows you to access games with just watching ads, you can earn the ability to play games for free that way, a lot of really interesting things for users to get into the gaming and not have to purchase a console and not shell out those dollars, and so we're really, really excited about that, and then also we're excited about the quality of that game streaming experience that we're able to bring to users, because as Samsung, because we own the TV, we can own that video rendering pipeline, and we can automatically put it into game mode for users when they launch a game stream, and then also we can go in and create a kind of almost like super game mode for users, where we're deciding what's going to be in that video rendering pipeline, and we can reduce all the post-processing effects, and then we can make the best, lowest latency experience for users, and we're really proud of what we've developed."

"By removing the HDMI way in between, right?
Yeah, exactly, right?
If you're streaming to a console or another device, when you do that, it renders on the console itself, and then it goes up the HDMI to the TV, and that's all added latency, but since right now we have the stream coming directly into the TV, we're able to render it on the TV, and then remove any post-processing effects that might be there for movie modes or anything like that, right?
Because each of those things adds a little bit of latency, which doesn't really matter if you're watching Netflix, right?
But when you care about that latency, when you're pressing that button, you want it to feel good, right?
We want that to be as low as possible."

"Speaking about latency, what you guys do is, of course you support several types of controllers that you can connect via Bluetooth, but as well, if I'm correct, you can just plug in a USB controller to also reduce that latency."

"Exactly, yeah, right?
So we do support, we can't say necessarily every controller, right?
But there's a lot of controllers out there that we do support through Bluetooth.
We can support Xbox Series X, Xbox One controllers, PlayStation, DualSense controls, DualShock 4 controllers, a lot of third-party controllers."

"But to your point, if you want to reduce the latency even more, you can't connect it directly through a USB port.
One thing that I find interesting is that you can filter games and genres on top of the services themselves."

"So how do you guys work with partners to make that happen, to make that work?
Because of course it's not their native app.
It's some collaboration with you guys so that you can filter and show, for example, adventure games that are on Xbox and on GeForce Now at the same time."

"Yeah, so we do work with each of those partners to understand what kind of games are inside of their apps, right?
And we collect what's called metadata, right?
So the partners actually, we get a feed of what that metadata is, so what kind of games they are, what kind of genres they are, what their ESRB ratings are, PEGI ratings, right?
We get all of that information."

"And then we're able to, one, manually merchandise that content but also programmatically include that into various different filters that you can go in and then look for the content that you want, which is really helpful, to your point, to be able to see that across a lot of different partners, right?
So you're not having to necessarily go into each one and find what you're looking for."

"Is there, you know, you have these beautiful panels.
We recently attended the presentation of the 2023 new panels that you guys are introducing now in Europe too.
Is there a concern that you guys, as you just said, the streaming technology has evolved a lot, but perhaps it's not there yet sometimes in terms of resolution."

"You have this beautiful 4K, 8K panel, and then some of the, for example, Xbox Game Pass, which are being streamed, then are down to 1080p or perhaps you see the artifacts."

"Are you concerned that this sort of doesn't take advantage of the marvelous panels that we are getting?
So I think each of the different partners that we work with come at that in a different way, right?
So most of the partners, yeah, are 1080p, right?
But actually some of them, GeForce Now, just recently rolled out 4K streaming, right?
If you view that, it's gorgeous."

"It looks amazing on the panel, and to your point, takes advantage of all that.
But at the same time, I think we're still really happy with the 1080p quality, right?
Certainly, is it taking advantage of that 4K, right?
No, not necessarily."

"You have your own app scaling as well.
Exactly. We have the post-processing that we can do there, the AI app scaling, which can make it look quite nice as well.
So I think overall, across the different partner services that we have, we're very happy with how it takes advantage of that."

"Okay, and closing one.
If I buy a Samsung panel tomorrow, is there any way you're helping users sort of get a tease of the different services you guys are offering under the gaming app?
For example, are you giving a couple of months of Game Pass for free?
Or a way to try out Amazon GeForce Now?
Are you doing that, or is that per subscription or the ones that you can play for free with advertisement?
So most of that is per partner service."

"We have done a variety of different kind of bundle offers and things like that to kind of give some of those.
But it tends to be very limited to certain territories and things like that, yeah."

"All right.
Looking forward to learning more about the Samsung Gaming Hub back at Europe.
So thank you so much for your time, Patrick."

"Thank you very much."

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