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Could Your Cable Company Become Your Next Cloud Gaming Provider?
Come with me, if you will, back to the fall of 2012. Cloud-gaming giant, Onlive had made its spectacular implosion earlier in the year, leaving many industry professionals and end users alike wondering where cloud gaming would go from there.
It was around this time that news outlets all over the Web began running stories proclaiming the impending arrival of cloud gaming services from some of the top cable companies in the United States. Among these prospective cloud gaming providers are AT&T, Time Warner and Cox. No matter where you turned around, gaming news outlets all seemed to be in agreement that cloud gaming from cable providers was right around the corner.
And then it stopped.
For approximately a year and a half, virtually no more word was heard on whether or not these flights of literary fancy would turn into a reality. Focus seemed to shift from cloud gaming services altogether, possibly as a result of the demise of Onlive. Whatever the case may have been, the hype over the impending arrival of cloud games directly from your cable company completely fizzled out.
So where does that leave us? Is the possibility of cloud gaming services via a cable company truly just a flight of fancy? This author says no, and here is why:
Towards the close of last year, reports began to circulate that cable-giant, Xfinity (formerly Comcast) would be testing out a cloud-gaming platform in conjunction with Electronic Arts’ Origin service. The service would work in tandem with an app that you would need to download and install on an iPad. An iPad 2 or later would be needed in order to use the service.
A free trial was offered to all current Xfinity X1 subscribers via an email invitation. This trial provided access to an initial eight games, dealing with a wide variety of video game genres. These titles include FIFA 13, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and NBA Jam. Playing the games was accomplished by using credits, of which you received 60 to start out. Additional credits to be used towards gameplay can be purchased directly through the Xfinity service.
Japanese telecommunications giant, KDDI, is also planning on entering into the cloud-gaming industry by offering streaming games in tandem with their cable services. This offering, named GameNow, is being produced in tandem with Ubitus, one of the leaders in Japanese cloud solutions.
GameNow was launched in March of 2014, and was initially available to all existing KDDI subscribers. Two free months of access were offered as a trial, as well as a free gamepad for the first five thousand subscribers.
While the mainstream hype over the possibility of receiving cloud-gaming services directly through your able company may have quieted down for now, it is by no means a dead issue. With Xfinity paving the way for more cable companies to jump onboard, expect to see additional providers testing out their own platforms in the coming months.
By Joe Pellicone