Cloud services will be used by a whopping 3.6 billion consumers across the world by 2018, according to a new report by Juniper Research.

The study shows a substantial predicted increase on the 2.4 billion users using the cloud in 2013, and shows that the market is far from reaching its peak.

Cloud storage, cloud music, and cloud-based games will be the main drivers of consumer demand over the next five years.

The cloud gaming market, in particular, is experiencing renewed growth, thanks to PlayStation Now and the relaunch of OnLive. Latency, however, is seen as a major obstacle to this sector.

Challenges ahead

Despite the boom in cloud storage and entertainment, many of these firms are also expected to face challenging times ahead.

Junpier predicts that companies will find it difficult to turn free users into premium subscribers. It highlighted Pandora and Spotify as examples of cloud services that have yet to turn a profit.

Ubuntu was also forced out of the cloud storage market due to the "unsustainable" price wars between cloud vendors. Dominant players like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have been chopping prices like crazy, making it difficult for smaller firms.

With more than a billion new cloud customers up for grabs in the coming years, it's not hard to see why companies are fighting for a bigger slice of the pie.

Via GamesIndustry