GameStop's console game streaming in early beta

Spawn Labs division working on PS3, Xbox 360 cloud gaming; launch expected middle of 2012

US retailer GameStop is currently beta testing the streaming of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, with a plan to roll-out a consumer service by the middle of next year.

Earlier this year the company bought Spawn Labs, extending its peer-to-peer game streaming service into a cloud gaming offering, and promised "a wide selection of high-definition video games on demand on any internet-enabled device."

Yesterday it revealed that as well as PC game streaming, it is working with publishers to stream console games to smart devices as well as dedicated hardware via the Spawn software client.

"Spawn recently began its first beta and is currently live, testing the streaming of Xbox 360, PS3 and PC games from a data centre in Austin, Texas," confirmed GameStop president Tony Bartel.

The beauty of Spawn is it can take a very large assortment of games. There's really no restriction versus an Xbox 360 and PS3 game.

"We continue to get positive feedback from our publishing partners about the pro-console, low-investment model that we have chosen."

The closed beta will go national before the end of the year. At the beginning of 2012 GameStop is expected to reveal more details about the service and what it offers, along with a pricing model - and a nationwide launch is currently scheduled for the first half of 2012.

The Spawn client will be offered to GameStop's PowerUp Rewards members - currently 12 million customers - and feature a demo service which it's claimed will not require publishers to modify their games.

Cloud gaming technology from Gaikai and OnLive is already proving a viable business, offering PC games and demos over the internet with very little in the way of dedicated hardware beyond the right control method.

Behind closed doors these technologies have also shown format crossover such as World of Warcraft running on an iPad or console and full PC games launching from within Facebook.

And with the growth of Smart and connected TVs, both Gaikai and OnLive are dropping their technology directly into the hardware and consulting on dedicated controllers, taking streaming games straight to the consumer's living room - an area that GameStop is also interested in.

"Those conversations are taking place today," offered Bartel. "There's a whole cadre of services that GameStop can offer far beyond just Spawn. The beauty of Spawn is it can take a very large assortment of games. There's really no restriction versus an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game.

"We're also experimenting with PC game delivery as well, but we can take that to any Internet-connected device including TV. So clearly, it's part of our acquisition forethought. We anticipated being involved in smart TVs as well."

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Latest comments (4)

Andrew Ihegbu / 6 years ago
Sounds great, as per usual. But in reality, where ISP's are using increasingly latent methods and consistent overselling of bandwidth, this is only going to shift the issue of scarce resources from your console to your connection.

In fact, to me this just looks like yet another restrictive DRM package being marketed by marginal advantages that happen to be side-effects of its original goal. Sure I can understand demos being streamed to your console when you might only play them once, but if you pay $60/40 for a new game you'll easily use more bandwidth having the game streamed to your machine than had you simply downloaded it. And the power point rings hollow when you consider how much poor compression you will have to use just to stream this in real-time say from US to UK.

Finally , I read the Gaikai article and they talked about having locally distributed servers very close to end users streaming the content. What about the servers that gamers actually compete on. I hardly think there will be localized servers and even if there is they will still have to report to a central one and connect distant users during off peak times.

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Marco Antonio Rocha Lima Systems Enginner - Workin as Qualit Assurance Coordinator 6 years ago
The problem will be a war with "traffic shapping" and one solution will be the internet providers be partners of the Cloud Computing Providers for game rendering via streaming or sofware rendering via streaming. Talking about other Game Computing Provider Service, "OnLive" its service works great, but the problem is the internet bandwidth.

I think that we will convive many years with real consoles and game downloading with the local processing in parallel with streamed playing with the rendering on the cloud without the needs of heavy gamming hardware.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marco Antonio Rocha Lima on 24th August 2011 11:02pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
I can see the future! Here's a headline for you: Hackers Take Down GameStop Streaming Service... Set your watches, folks.

Of course, screwing over people who buy the retail version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution by stripping the OnLive code out of the box is a pretty shitty way to get people interested in YOUR streaming service, GS...
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Marco Antonio Rocha Lima Systems Enginner - Workin as Qualit Assurance Coordinator 6 years ago
In part, you're right, because its obvious that its possible do that. But in my opinion, if hackers make this kind of attacks in a time when everyting will be streamed then they will prejudice themselves too. Its not a smart idea for them as its again, obvious that they play games too not only do hacking. Almost everybody play games. Thinking about security, there is no security if you have a network, or a cloud on the net like today,you bet! Its logical for me that, as a matter of time, if the security system is created by a human inteligence, another human inteligence will always broke it . What we will have is, little piracy that will be done with Sevice Pirate Cloud Computing serving, games, apps, music etc... and the work to identify and catch them will be minor than today piracy. Ok, ok... may be there will be a new era of cyberwar and new kind of attacks. But business has to creat new ways to persist even with this possibility. Is up to us!
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