Amazon and Verizon have both been tipped as working on rival game streaming platforms, though neither company has stepped forward with an announcement to confirm nor refute the rumours.
While it may have taken a while to get off the ground, cloud gaming - in which the heavy computational lifting required of modern gaming is performed on remote servers, with the resulting video stream being transferred back to lower-power client devices - appears to be finally catching its stride: Microsoft has announced Project xCloud, Google Project Stream, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Sony the Gaikai-powered and longest-running PlayStation Now. The road is littered with failed attempts to capture the market, however: OnLive went bankrupt only to reopen then partner with Mad Catz which would go bankrupt in turn, Square Enix closed both its Shinra and Dive In cloud gaming divisions, and while OnLive would try another crack of the whip with CloudLift its story ends with all services shuttered and 'important parts' being acquired by Sony for its PlayStation Now platform.
Now, two separate reports have suggested that media giants Amazon and Verizon are separately working on cloud gaming platforms of their own. The Information cites unnamed individuals 'briefed on the plans' as stating that Amazon plans to launch a service akin to its Prime Instant Video platform but for games, allowing players access to an array of titles for a monthly subscription. Its competition will come from Verizon whose own platform is claimed by The Verge, based on leaked emails, to be up and running on Nvidia's Shield tablet platform and will soon expand to all Android devices.
In Verizon's case, it looks like it will beat Amazon to market: The current Nvidia Shield trial is said to end this month, with private distribution of the generic Android app to follow. Amazon's service, meanwhile, isn't likely to launch until next year at the earliest, according to The Information's sources. Details leaked surrounding the trial suggest it will use a mix of all-you-can-eat free content for subscribers and pay-to-play purchase options on selected games - a similar approach as used by Amazon for its Prime Instant Video platform.
Neither company has stepped forward to confirm the rumours, but with mobile gaming having received a serious shot in the arm thanks to Epic's release of Fortnite Battle Royale on iOS and Android last year neither rumour seems completely out of the realm of possibility.
February 24 2020 | 12:00