Cable firms pursuing cloud gaming - report

Bloomberg reports that Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, and more are hoping to make consoles obsolete

While OnLive may have nearly gone out of business, cloud gaming remains a hot topic, as evidenced by Sony's $380 million acquisition of Gaikai and the continued rise of cloud startups. Now, according to Bloomberg, cable and telecom giants are aiming to get a stranglehold on the market for cloud gaming.

The report states that AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. are all either in talks to deliver video games directly to the TV or they are already in the midst of preparing cloud gaming services. In fact, citing people "with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg notes that trials of cloud gaming services are "likely" to begin later this year so carriers can tweak the technology before wider deployments in 2013. Meanwhile, some of the other carriers are aiming for 2014.

Cloud gaming startups such as Playcast Media Systems, CiiNOW Inc. and Agawi Inc. could get their big break in the near future. Executives for these companies did confirm that they're in talks with US carriers, but they wouldn't get into specifics.

"It makes perfect sense why they would want to go after this market," said Mitch Lasky, a partner at venture firm Benchmark Capital in Menlo Park, California, and an early investor in Gaikai. "Streaming games use a ton of bandwidth and really benefit from good networks. But it's a gnarly execution problem they're trying to solve."

The cable firms mostly offered generic statements or declined to comment, although AT&T did acknowledge that it's "exploring unique ways to offer cloud gaming services to our TV and broadband customers."

Latest comments (5)

Nick Parker Consultant 5 years ago
There are a surprising number of cloud gaming technology companies either in the pixel streaming, progressive download or nascent compression executions. Any of these companies could be bought by a number of predators such as telcos, console manufacturers, download platforms and publishers. It's going to come and interestingly, bandwidth, if the solution works, could be the least of the problems.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 25th September 2012 6:05pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
... which means (as I predicted back in 2005) that once cable providers get into gaming with the intent of killing off consoles, they basically screw gamers over with more fees and probably new restrictions that can't be opted out of unless you pay your way out and into a package that will hurt less (but still be an amazing rip-off when all is said and done). No thanks.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
They have some good pr men, I'll give them that. This is never out of the news, but that doesn't mean it has any legs.

I've not actually heard from any punter yet who actually wants this over a console. Forget about the complication of games for a moment and consider something far easier to deliver in this way:

Most people still have some form of "record player" box even if that's a TV or docked iPod and not a big german hifi system. Not everyone wants, or is able, to stream live music at the exclusion of other options, and that is fully doable right now even with old tech and poor connections.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 26th September 2012 11:43pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (5)
John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
Sounds awful. If you think having three major console platforms (plus handhelds, social, mobile etc) is a fragmented market, imagine what it will be like if every cable company around the world has its own cloud gaming service, and are buying up timed or permanent exclusives on games, like they do for movies, TV series and sporting events today.

And while you can quite reasonably own two or three consoles to get access to all the games, you can't really have two or more internet providers. If this comes to pass maybe one day you'll need to get Sky to play Call of Duty and BT to play Halo and Virgin to play Uncharted and...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
Do not want. I really hate all this cloud nonsense. In the UK it seems to be just about impossible to download a movie legally to be played offline, everywhere you look seems to redirect you to streaming instead. I'm going to be on a plane in a few weeks, I have a Nexus 7 and can't find any way of getting some movies on it to use while in the air. The last thing I want is for this crap to extend to games as well.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.