If Comcast, Electronic Arts deal pushes through, customers can buy games through their TVs
Cable TV subscribers may soon be able to stream video games right into their living rooms as Reuters reports Comcast is currently in talks with Electronic Arts (EA) to allow cable subscribers to stream EA games through its cloud-connected Comcast X1 platform.
Reuters cites five anonymous sources who each confirmed that Comcast and EA have just finished two years of testing and are now well on their way to finalizing an agreement that would stream video games using X1, Comcast's sophisticated video operating system with voice control, Internet applications and other advanced features. Experts have touted X1 the best operating system of its kind.
"Comcast and EA's aim is to make buying games as easy as ordering a pay-per-view movie, sources said. This could create a new distribution model that circumvents console and video-streaming device makers," writes Reuters.
The report singled out lucrative titles such as "FIFA," "Madden," "Plants vs. Zombies" and "Monopoly" as some of the first games that will be streamed through X1. It also mentioned that users will be able to turn their existing tablets into consoles, which suggests that the games offered will be smaller, mobile games instead of games that require a full-blown console.
Sources told Reuters that Comcast will offer casual and family games before considering first-person shooter and action games, based on user preferences.
"If the agreement goes through, it would mark the boldest step yet by a cable company to muscle into the territory of leading video-game console manufacturers such as Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp.," Reuters reports.
Comcast has been hoping to ward off what it sees as potential invasions of its home turf by other technology companies, including Sony and Microsoft as well as new players in the television industry Apple and Amazon.
Apple TV allows users to stream iOS games straight from their iPhones and iPads to their TV sets. It won't be long before Apple will also bring streaming video games through its set-top box, developers believe. Fire TV, which was launched just last month, came with more than a hundred free and paid video games from various game publishers, including EA.
If the partnership pushes through, it could create a potentially massive market for Comcast, which currently has 22 million cable subscribers in the United States - more if its controversial acquisition of Time Warner Cable receives approval from antitrust regulators.
The X1 system allows users to find programs, record and store them in the Comcast cloud. Comcast is reportedly installing up to 20,000 of new X1 boxes every day.