US cable companies to enter cloud-gaming business

By on September 25, 2012, 3:00 PM

US cable providers are reportedly gearing up to start testing their own cloud-gaming services, in a move that ultimately aims to make dedicated gaming hardware a thing of the past. Citing "people with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg reports that AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner are likely to start trials later this year, with wider deployments beginning as early as 2013 or 2014 depending on the results of their tests.

Comcast and Cox are also planning to offer video-gaming services, though the report suggest they are at an earlier stage of negotiations with game publishers. They're all looking to go beyond just social and casual games by offering “advanced action games from top publishers.” Startups such as Playcast Media Systems, CiiNOW, and Agawi would reportedly power the technology behind the scenes.

When asked to comment on the report, executives for AT&T and Cox acknowledged their companies were exploring a number of cloud-based broadband services but declined to provide specifics. Likewise, Verizon said they have the capability to offer such a service but didn’t have anything to announce at the moment. Time Warner Cable and Comcast simply declined to comment on rumors and speculation.

The news come roughly a month after cloud-gaming pioneer OnLive was forced to layoff the majority of its staff and restructure the business, after failing to attract enough subscribers to its $9.99-a-month service. The OnLive branding was kept alive and the service continues to operate, but everything is now run under a new company. Meanwhile, another cloud-gaming startup called Gaikai was acquired by Sony for $380 million.

Cloud-gaming may be off to a rocky start but many are betting it is the future. That includes Nvidia, which recently came forward to instill some confidence in cloud gaming and tout their GeForce GRID technology used to drive graphics in cloud gaming servers while bringing down latency times.

User Comments: 7

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Guest said:

They'd better start doing something different.

Google's fiber is going to put an end to overpriced hi-speed internet.

Now they want to sell software as a service, I'll keep my hardware and downloads thank you.

That way I can load up Baldur's Gate years later without having to pay for some service.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I think it sounds like a good idea. I don't know much about it, but if it means I can play the occasional high end game without paying for all the hardware, I'd be down with it. It'd be nice to play things like BF3 on my not-so-gaming laptop. I wonder if this might make it easier to get all of these games on linux too. That'd be a huge plus.

I'm about 90% sure though that if this happens they would still offer the regular download alternative. There is always going to be a high demand for that among the hardcore gamers and people who like to own their stuff.

Guest said:

Don't joke yourselves people, sure cloud gaming is and will be an awesome convenience. But is many of years away from eliminating the enthusiast market. For those who seek the best experience money can buy and not just the convenience of the cloud, this we will have to wait.

I do accept the idea of cloud computing far off in the future, buying "hive" access and requiring a direct neural interface and gawd don't even ask about the commitment that wireless one would have.

Guest said:

Cloud gaming is bullshit. when the average consumer internet speed in the WORLD hits 20mb then cloud gaming has a chance.

I cant think of any developer being mentally retarded to just release a game for one country.

igotdembombs said:

By the time cloud-gaming gets big it will have no niche. Better technology and pricing on other things will kick cloud-gaming out of its possible market.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

Anyone remember sega channel? I do, and it was rad.

But man oh man I can't imagine playing top end games through an internet connection.

Guest said:

You know I completely forgot about sega channel. but I remember seeing it advertised. you can already play hundreds of games through online as is. so I don't entirely seem the point of cloud gaming besides just a case of quality. the problem to me is it seems like it would slow down game development as the games would be constructed to run off the most average of consumer computer hardware spec.s leaving the enthusiasts who are a smaller market and run high end hardware with games that fall short of using there high end hardwares full potential.

kind of like how catering to Xbox and PS3 has causes developers to stifle how much hardware there games will use.

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