In brief: The Epic Games v. Apple trial keeps revealing more than some companies might have wanted. In an exchange of confidential emails between Walmart and Epic, the multinational retailer pitched the Project Storm cloud gaming service intending to bring Fortnite into the yet unreleased platform. Moreover, the emails also describe how the service works and show a glimpse on the Home menu UI.
The first rumors surrounding Walmart's cloud gaming service came from 2019, a few days after Google Stadia's announcement. Since then, Project Storm hasn't been mentioned that often, but an exhibit in the Epic Games v. Apple trial brought its name back up.
The emails exchanged between Epic Games and Walmart included a presentation with some details about the Project Storm platform. A slide titled "How we are building it" shows Walmart planned to support multiple 3rd party launchers inside the cloud gaming platform, including Uplay, Origin, Steam, Battle.net, Epic Games Store, and Bethesda Launcher.
Another slide of the presentation shows a glimpse of what the Home menu would look like. The UI would include a list of 'Recently Played' games and another one for 'My Games.' Users could also choose games by genre or use the search function.
In the emails, Walmart described its platform as an "open ecosystem," allowing users to play locally after downloading a game or through streaming from the cloud.
“I played Walmart’s demo on an Android phone (with an Xbox controller) and the experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS,” wrote Epic Games co-founder Mark Rein in an email from April 2019. This email also contained a photo of Rein with other members of the Epic Games executive team and a game clip that would be used to attach a controller to the phone. This clip would be available at Walmart for $2.
The beta period of Project Storm was slated for July 2019, but the service has never undergone such a phase. Reports claim Walmart had already secured some partners, but the launch was put on hold last year when the Covid-19 pandemic started. It's still unclear if we will ever see Project Storm reaching end customers.
Image credit: The Verge