Is television the next frontier for the video game business? Pay TV powerhouses Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable are all looking to make video games a key component of their pay TV packages, in a bid to expand its relevancy to today’s tech savvy consumer.
According to Bloomberg reports, the three cable companies are preparing to launch cloud-based streaming gaming services, similar to OnLive and Sony’s Gaikai. These new game streaming services are due to debut in early 2013. If the launch is successful or at least shows signs of promise, it may inspire other pay TV providers to follow suit and release their own game streaming services.
Some games are already available through a number of TV services, such as the popular game Angry Birds. However, the pay TV giants are looking to provide the kind of elaborate and detailed video games that Xbox and PlayStation are known for, so the idea would be to stream versions of AAA games from publishers like Electronic Arts, Rockstar Games, and Activision.
Because cable companies have the existing technological infrastructure, it’s easy to add streaming video games without incurring too much additional overhead. However, the service may fail to take off because online gaming is a community activity. If online gamers are not enticed enough to form new communities, or are loathe to try these games because they are afraid there’s nobody to play with, these new game streaming services may wind up withering on the vine.
However, a collaboration instead of competition may be in the works instead. Rumor has it that Microsoft is looking to partner with a pay TV provider to sell the Xbox 720 as a subsidized cable box that comes included in qualifying TV packages. If true, this may set off copycat deals with competing pay TV providers and the other major video console companies like Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii. For now, it’s just speculation—we shall see soon enough how the gaming market will evolve to incorporate pay TV into its ecosystem.