Today Electronic Arts announced its acquisition of GameFly. The takeover includes the company’s cloud gaming technology and its personnel.
According to EA's press release, "The team based in Caesarea, Israel, will join EA’s functional teams, including the central technology organization that is responsible for developing and operating the cutting-edge platform that powers EA’s leading games and services."
GameFly started out like Netflix in that its business model was subscription-based and mailed out physical copies of games to its clients. Also like its movie-streaming cousin, the company has a game-streaming service it launched back in 2015, which seems to be EA’s primary interest.
EA’s CTO Ken Moss said, “Cloud gaming is an exciting frontier that will help us to give even more players the ability to experience games on any device from anywhere. We’re thrilled to bring this talented team’s expertise into EA as we continue to innovate and expand the future of games and play.”
GameFly Streaming does not require a console or PC. Games can stream through an app on LG, Samsung, and Phillips Smart TV’s. For players without a compatible set, there is an alternative using Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. Users can also use an EMTEC Gem Box.
Terms of the deal were not made public, but the acquisition falls in line with EA’s plans to launch its own streaming service within the next few years. EA believes it has the clout to compete with Sony’s PlayStation Now and Microsoft’s Xbox streaming service planned for 2020. With the GameFly acquisition, it just might have a chance.
Video game streaming is in its infancy. It has struggled to catch on due to issues with lag. New technologies and faster broadband connections are just now beginning to mitigate these issues. The market is ripe for new entries, and EA has taken a big step in assuring that it is getting in on the ground floor.
It is unclear what this means for the GameFly service. As of today, it looks like it is business as usual. Whether EA rebrands the website or changes its operations down the road is anybody's guess.