Cable companies may be moving en masse into cloud gaming by the end of next year. A Bloomberg report states that several major cable TV corporations are looking into streaming games to customers' set-top boxes as a service offering.
The sources claimed AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Cox Communications all plan to stream games to cable subscribers, with some to begin beta testing as early as this year. They then plan to deploy the services on a wider scale as early as 2013. Only AT&T acknowledged it it is looking into providing cloud gaming to customers.
The companies are targeting AAA games from publishers like Electronic Arts, to be played with generic controllers or potentially even smartphones, the sources said. EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said games on web-connected TVs will at some point be a “big opportunity."
Similar services have already emerged internationally, with Israel-based Playcast partnering with carriers in Europe and Asia to provide cloud gaming services to customers.
Breaking into streaming games is no small feat, as demonstrated by the recent plight of OnLive, and the companies will need to invest significant resources to produce a good experience for consumers. Mitch Lasky of Benchmark Capital told Bloomberg it makes sense for network providers to tackle the problem.
“Streaming games use a ton of bandwidth and really benefit from good networks," Lasky said. "But it’s a gnarly execution problem they’re trying to solve.”