June 21st, 2011
PC game service and Onlive rival Gaikai today announced a massive deal to stream games for Walmart, the largest gaming retailer in America.
It's unclear when the service will launch -- as of right now, the "play now" feature has yet to be enabled (at least for my IP address) -- but it allows instant access to PC demos without the need to download or register for anything. The game can then be purchased once the free stream trial expires.
Like Onlive, the new Walmart.com Game Center processes PC games on pooled servers and then streams then to the end user. The only requirement is a web browser, a low-end computer or compatible device (say an iPad), and broadband.
While cloud gaming can stream HD games to virtually any computing device, the picture quality is somewhat granualized due to compression, regardless of brandband or PC quality.
Basically, it's good for the masses and increases the number of PC games being made. But for now, the enthusiast gamer will still get better fidelity from locally installed games.
Nevertheless, the announcement is a sizable one and affects how the lovable Steam may need to operate moving forward.
What do you think of the news? Does this impact your fetish for state-of-the-art gaming rigs?