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GameStop beta testing PS3 and Xbox 360 game streaming (but is it too late?)

There may soon be a day when GameStop beams its wares directly to your dashboard. A day in mid-2012, to be precise. This week, the brick and mortar video game retailer announced that it has started beta testing its own PS3 and Xbox 360 game streaming service, with plans invite US gamers to the pre-party later this year.

GameStop's entry into the video game streaming market follows its acquition of the Texas based streaming technology firm Spawn Labs back in April. In 2009, Spawn Labs earned some geek press after introducing the HD-720, a set-top device which allowed gamers to play PS3 or Xbox 360 games through a web-enabled PC. The device ran on Spawn Labs' proprietary streaming software client, and it is this technology which GameStop has been tinkering with to stream games to smart phones, PCs and now consoles.

"Spawn recently began its first beta and is currently live, testing the streaming of Xbox 360, PS3 and PC games from a data centre in Austin, Texas," said GameStop president Tony Bartel in this week's statement, noting, "We continue to get positive feedback from our publishing partners about the pro-console, low-investment model that we have chosen."

The Spawn client will be made available to GameStop's 12 million plus PowerUP program members, and Eurogamer has confirmed with an overseas GameStop rep that the service “is in the plans” to launch in the UK after it debuts in the US next year.

By the time GameStop rolls out its game streaming service, the company will be forced to contend with some fairly well-established competitors.  OnLive, launched in June 2010, is already available on virtually every smart device and home computer with sights on PS3 and Xbox 360, and is slated to launch in the UK this September. Just this week at GDC Europer, OnLive publisher and developer relations head Chris Donahue told MCV the company was actively pursuing exclusive deals with big name publishers and developers, and was even flirting with the idea of opening its own development office, hinting: “It’s possible we’d set up an internal studio, there’s a lot of people at OnLive who have worked on that side of the business. I can’t say we’ll definitely have a first party, but there’s every possibility that we’ll have third-party exclusives.”

Meanwhile, GameStop's other potential competitor Gaikai announced earlier this month it was close to striking deals with most of the major publishers, and its extremely high performance Server 2 (think Crysis 2 on demand) is in closed beta testing. Coupled with EA's recent release of Origin, Valve's continuing evolution of Steam and the imminent arrival of entertainment streaming service OTOY, the cloud is certainly getting crowded. But then, a little competition never hurt, no?

More details regarding GameStop's console streaming service, and the open beta, are expected to arrive soon.

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11 comments

  • Yeager1122 - August 21, 2011 4:42 a.m.

    Yeah i would rather have the disk manual and case then just a digital copy i just like it better to each there own i guess.
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - August 21, 2011 1:41 a.m.

    Also, if a game were old, shitty, and somehow digitally "used", I wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't think the "Classics" games on the 360 get bought too often.
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - August 21, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    Publishers don't put that much effort into games, now do they? That tends to fall on the developers. And look at Steam. Prices fluctuate wildly. Who's to say that other streamers/digital distributors won't look at this multibillion dollar (If I remember correctly) company and say, "Hey, they're on to something with these sales". And that's if they don't do the all-you-can-play, one-monthly-fee rate. Not all, but some brand new, $60 console games come out the same time on Steam at $50. Who's to say that this trend won't continue, especially if the market starts to head a little more towards the PC side (Which I personally speculate).
  • ParagonT - August 20, 2011 11:18 p.m.

    @MySisters There is a clear line between downloadable titles that don't have enough content to be sold as full games, and for ALL games to be sold digitally. IF you believe in the later, you are now going to be forced to pay digital developer price on old, used, shitty games. Which as a consumer is fucking dumb, but from a stand point of some crusaders for the multi billion dollar companies, is a good thing. Which I don't understand to begin with. Because due to recent trends of making games with replay value, people selling their games is usually a bad sign. =/ Oh, by the way, just because a company makes more money does not mean they are going to put more effort into a game. This is highly misconstrued. They can instead invest the money into more branches of the company and publish more games for more money. =/ Simple really. Children need to grow up.
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - August 20, 2011 9:46 p.m.

    @jmcgrotty I mean this literally: I hope you die in a violent, painful way. Downloadable games are saving the industry. You think games like Braid, Limbo, or numerous indie games on Steam would have seen a single sell if they were a boxed copy on a shelf in a store? Places like Gamestop are ruining the industry and forcing companies to get their money in a secondary way like a Pass. And all Gamestop employees are fucking obnoxious shitheads. I've tried trading in my games and ended up just walking out and trashing the games because it was easier.
  • jmcgrotty - August 20, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    I mean this literally: Anyone who supports streaming gaming needs to be taken out back, had the crap beaten out of them until they admit they are wrong, then kicked senseless for another 20 minutes. And as I said, I mean that literally. Garbage like this service is killing the industry in a major way. (That being said, to answer why some people don't like GameStop, it's just because it makes them feel elite and so "I'm a rebel against society! *RAWR!*" There is no legit reason to hate them.)
  • GAYMER - August 20, 2011 3:03 a.m.

    @ R-ape Why? What did GameStop do to you that makes you hate them so much?
  • Kyo - August 20, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    I reaaaaaaaally don't see why so many people hate gamestop.. they're a damn store wth do they do that is so friggin horrible when compared to other stores? Really..? What? If you don't like them, guess what? They don't put a gun to your head and force you to shop there. I've never had a bad experience with a GS in all my years of going there. Maybe it's just the people from where you live that suck lol
  • R-ape - August 20, 2011 1:08 a.m.

    Gamestop should just die already.
  • Vitreosity - August 20, 2011 12:51 a.m.

    Great, one more thing to keep them from falling straight off the gaming market. The day we cut retailers out of the market and keep only digital copies of games is a day I hope will come soon.

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