The future of video games is in the cloud according to the best and brightest among us.
So it should come as no shock that Gamefly, the Netflix-like disc-rental company for video games founded back in 2002, is shutting down its streaming service by the end of this month as the technology transitions to EA’s Origin platform where players will be able to stream games under the Origin Access Premier program.
This news follows on the heels of EA’s acquisition of Gamefly’s tech and Israeli services team back in May. It was believed then that EA purchased Gamefly’s streaming technology and its infrastructure in order to better compete with Sony’s existent service and planned services from rival companies.
Founded back in 2002, Gamefly allows subscribers to rent games through the mail in a business model that is similar to what launched Netflix into the stratosphere when that company was founded back in 1997.
Since discs were all the rage when Netflix debuted the model made sense but, as streaming became a more viable route, the company pivoted to that and has grown into the media powerhouse it is today.
Gamefly, among others, has attempted to transition this new Netflix model, the scheme that reaped them so much growth, into something applicable to the games industry albeit with limited success.
Though lag in movies can be accommodated for through buffering, such is not the case with streaming video games titles but this isn’t the case with bet365 mobile.
Games that require pinpoint precision are some of the titles to suffer the most in the transition to streaming as user input is “lost in translation” if the connection weakens. This makes fighting games particularly challenging as you can imagine.
Though cloud-based gaming and streaming titles are often touted as the future of gaming few people realize just how resource – and money – intensive this tech can get.
As the big three home console makers move more rapidly into this space you can expect that outfits like Gamefly, though respectable they may be, will quickly realize they don’t have the pockets to compete.
But for its part EA denies that it acquired the Gamefly streaming service, emphasizing that the company only purchased the tech and Israeli team underpinning it all. This would implies that EA’s Origin Access Premier is something entirely new and not the technological successor to the Gamefly streaming service and that the company could continue to offer streaming services if it wanted to do so. This is probably not the case.
A spokesperson for EA told GamesIndustry.biz: “We acquired the team in Israel and the technology they’ve developed, we did not acquire the Gamefly streaming service…We have not been involved in any decisions around the service.”
EA’s purchase of the streaming technology is no real shocker to anyone that watches the company, one of the biggest non-console games businesses out there.
The launch of EA’s Origin Access Prime mirrors similar attempts to get a toehold in this emerging space by Sony and Microsoft, the latter making much of its back catalogue available to players through the innovative Xbox Game Pass service.
A hybrid between old Netflix and new Netflix, Microsoft’s Game Pass service allows users to download old titles to play on their console for a monthly fee. It is believed that this technology will eventually transition into a streaming games service with older titles as the forerunners for the scheme, natch.
Given Netflix’s massive size and how quickly the company achieved that it is believed that, similarly, the company that masters streaming in the video game space will have a lot of rewards to reap at the end of their journey. This makes the race to perfect streaming technology not only the biggest technical leap of our time for gaming but also perhaps the largest business opportunity to come along since the invention of the home console itself. We are living in heady times indeed.