U.S. Cable Companies To Trial Streaming Video Games?

OnLive, the company focused on bringing streaming video games to low end PCs and mobile devices, may have gone failed spectacularly after the project went broke, but the dream of cloud gaming is still alive.

In fact, a new cloud gaming platform may be coming from an unlikely source – your cable provider. According to new reports, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable are planning to launch a service that delivers video games directly to televisions, bypassing traditional gaming platforms like the PlayStation, the Xbox 360, and the Wii.

Trials of cloud gaming services will start later this year, allowing carriers to test the technology before deployment begins in 2013. Cloud based games from cable companies could be a serious blow to console manufacturers, especially if included as part of a bundle.

This could be a boon or a disaster for mobile gaming. AT&T and Verizon could potentially include streaming to mobile devices in the deal, but the exclusion of tablets like Apple’s iPad may drive people towards television-based gaming.

Of course, it looks like the best model may be to incorporate tablets and smartphones into the gaming – some carriers are exploring the idea of iPads and iPhones as gaming controllers.

“Everybody has a TV,” says Atul Bagga, video-game analyst for Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco. Everyone is “looking for new ways to monetize their users and gaming can be pretty compelling.”

AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable aren’t alone in their desire to entice subscribers to shell out even more cash – Comcast and Cox Communications are also in talks to offer video gaming services.

Cable companies may well succeed where OnLive failed – after all, with more than 50 million cable subscribers, there’s a serious captive audience available. Of course, do we really want our cable companies to start bundling video game access? I can only imagine the cost. Many people are already shelling out hundreds of dollars for TV, phone, and Internet bundles. Soon, we’ll be signing over our first born children for our media fix.

Would you purchase cloud gaming access from your cable provider?

[via Bloomberg]

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