Walmart Shoppers, Meet The Stream

Walmart Shoppers, Meet The Stream

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The world's largest retail chain has joined forces with Gaikai to offer streaming PC titles through Walmart.com.

Say you're at home. You're bored. You need something new to play. You'd like to pick up the latest shooter, but that would involve finding pants, driving to the store, and missing the last ten minutes of Mansquito.

What a dilemma!

Luckily, Walmart has the answer. The retail giant has inked a deal with Gaikai to bring the latter's "open cloud gaming platform" to the website of the former. Translation: Gamers, even those with low-end PCs, will be able to stream playable titles directly from the retailer's site.

VentureBeat broadly explains:

With streamed games, the actual game runs in Gaikai's servers in the internet cloud, or web-connected data centers. Changes to the game are executed on the servers and then sent over broadband connections to a user's computer. That way, it isn't necessary to do any computing on the user's machine, except displaying the images on the screen. The heavy-duty processing is done by the servers. That allows users to play games on web sites and use hardware that wouldn't ordinarily be able to run game as a client-based title.

The idea, it seems, is to compete directly with OnLive, the popular streaming games service whose name has become synonymous with the cloud gaming concept since its debut in June of 2010.

Key to the new Gaikai deal, is the company's ability to stream game demos directly to customers. A survey of 20,000 gamers showed that being able to try a game before purchasing it was the most crucial impetus in securing that sale, claims Gaikai CEO (and Earthworm Jim creator) Dave Perry.

Walmart realized that gamers don't have the patience to download 1GB-plus demos just to test a game, so by uniting with Gaikai, the company hopes to offer prospective customers a chance to test drive new games whenever the impulse strikes.

If your interest is suddenly piqued, you can experience the fruits of corporate symmetry at Walmart.com's new Game Center site.

Despite my personal bias toward the Walmart brand -- Walmart : native Portlanders :: Dracula : Grant Danasty -- this is just the sort of bold move the retailer needs to further assert its dominance over the global games industry. The company is already ubiquitous enough to demand (and, largely, receive) content changes in games, and snapping up a share of the nascent cloud gaming market can only make it more powerful.

Source: VentureBeat

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Thank you Wal-mart. Now I will be able to test out new games and then buy them from somewhere else.

Walfart is not the answer. It's a massive bloated problem waiting for a solution.

Earnest Cavalli:
Say you're at home. You're bored. You need something new to play. You'd like to pick up the latest shooter, but that would involve finding pants, driving to the store, and missing the last ten minutes of Mansquito.

That's not Mosquito Man! This is mosquito man!:

Also, you're quickly becoming one of my favorite news contributors here, "Nex". Keep up the good work.

Earnest Cavalli:

If your interest is suddenly piqued, you can experience the fruits of corporate symmetry at Walmart.com's new Game Center site.

I was browsing through this link, I can't find any demos on it through Gaikai (or any, for that matter) :( is the service not available yet?

Ghengis John:

Earnest Cavalli:
Say you're at home. You're bored. You need something new to play. You'd like to pick up the latest shooter, but that would involve finding pants, driving to the store, and missing the last ten minutes of Mansquito.

That's not Mosquito Man! This is mosquito man!:

Also, you're quickly becoming one of my favorite news contributors here, "Nex". Keep up the good work.

Agreed. It isn't Mosquito Man. It's MANsquito Man, the harrowing tale of man sized mosquitos who suck (both literally, and in regards to the SciFi Channel's cheap production values). Before it totally sold out, it was known as Mansquito.

Also, thank you. On a related note, you are quickly become one of my favorite people who has the decency to use my absurd nom de Internet.

bleachigo10:
Thank you Wal-mart. Now I will be able to test out new games and then buy them from somewhere else.

My thoughts exactly. Demos are fine, but buying games to play from the cloud? No way. There are reasons I don't buy EA and Ubisoft PC games anymore, and one of them is that "if you disconnected from the internet you can't play single player" bullshit. The same thing happens with the cloud, so fuck paying for inferior service when I can buy from Steam.

I like the look of Onlive better. Wall-Mart just doesn't have the look to do it right. Damn meglomaiancs. They can't corner the market on everything. You already have China! Leave DD alone!

Man, I dig that I'm playing games that I couldn't normally run without a hiccup. I honestly think this might put some pep back into PC gaming.

A better title would have been "PC Gamers Hit A Wal"

bleachigo10:
Thank you Wal-mart. Now I will be able to test out new games and then buy them from somewhere else.

Or if you are me call them shit, go the the comic store, and buy something better to spend my time and money on.

Last few games i bought were indie titles because i was bored.

I've hated Gaikai's ad campaign so I'm going to avoid this like the plague.

Support them and you support their ads, so yeah no thanks.

I think I'm gonna have to say something nobody else is thinking.

This is unusual news.

There, I said. Someone had to.

The company is already ubiquitous enough to demand (and, largely, receive) content changes in games, and snapping up a share of the nascent cloud gaming market can only make it more powerful.

Which is why we must drive a stake through its cold, dark heart while we still have the chance!

Ahem...

Well, I'm up to my ears in perfectly good unplayed games, and I just got 3 more from GOG's Interplay sale, so even if I didn't largely feel that Wal-Mart was a thing born from the fifth circle of Hell, I wouldn't be interested.

Don't let me stop you, though! It's your soul... (*cough*)

If you've ever been to the Walmart near my home, you'd know that pants seem to be strictly optional.

One more thing for me to avoid because it is linked to Wal-Mart I guess.

native Portlanders

Wait...what? What you got against hipsters hmm? HMMM?!

This "Walmart" thing is set to open a few stores down here later in the year. Should Australians be concerned by this? Is it really as bad as peopleofwalmart and south park make it out to be?

Yay Wall mart! :D

What'd Grant Danasty ever do to you?
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Seriously? Does anyone actually buy games from Walmart? I mean, I would never buy games from there... *embarrassed cough*

Xiado:
A better title would have been "PC Gamers Hit A Wal"

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Well played. Of course, if I'm going to shop for games somewhere, it's going to be a place where I'm not treated like a criminal before hand.

vxicepickxv:

Xiado:
A better title would have been "PC Gamers Hit A Wal"

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Well played. Of course, if I'm going to shop for games somewhere, it's going to be a place where I'm not treated like a criminal before hand.

So does that mean you don't buy any titles that require you to be online to play in single player mode? Because Valve, EA and Ubisoft certainly treat their customers as criminals then.

I know Wal-Mart gets a lot of hate. Most of it well deserved. But they do make an effort to sell everything to everybody. If you're a fan of recording your tv shows and movies, then Wal-Mart is the only place to find a dvd-recorder that has a hard drive in it. Funai makes a Magnavox unit that has a 500gb hdd with ATSC/QAM tuners built-in. It's only available on walmart.com because Wal-Mart commisions it. And the models improve every year. It's rare to see such a commitment to a niche market.

So yes, the stores certainly attract more than it's fair share of weirdos. But it's better to keep those people all in one place anyway! ;)

mogamer:
So does that mean you don't buy any titles that require you to be online to play in single player mode? Because Valve, EA and Ubisoft certainly treat their customers as criminals then.

While I might buy a game a game that requires online activation and I'll play it, but I won't be activating it if you know what I mean. Any single players game that requires a continuous connection is right out.

Steam is about the lightest form of DRM even if it does require launching their client every once in a while.

Ehh, screw that unless it's free. But it's Wal-Mart, so it won't be free, the greedy fucks. So yeah, I'll pass.

This is going to suck so hard, you know they are going to put so many hoops and hurdles in the way that they'll kill their platform without any outside assistance. Part of the reason I like Steam over other games services I've tried (EA Games, Games for Windows Live for example) is it's fairly easy to use, has a huge multi-publisher library, runs sales (seriously Publisher services need to understand no-one is going to pay full retail for a 2 year old game...), and isn't prone to throwing fits.

Hell when my mum wanted a legit copy of peggle and since she is always bloody formatting and restoring her computer (my stupid brother who still lives at home is constantly "It's a virus mum... no I wasn't on a porn site") I installed it for her, and she loves it, and this is a woman whose experience with computer is facebook, email, and kitten videos.

Cloud gaming seems like a good idea, until some nitwit screws up the servers and the money you plunked down for a game ends up going into frozen or blank screen time. Or until Lulzsec shuts it down causing the same thing.
And then there are those people who have to deal with a bandwidth cap, which this will eat up in a hurry.
No thanks. I'd rather download the game and then be able to play it offline if need be(Unless it is an Ubisoft title requiring constant online connection, of course). Streaming gives you the opportunity to try a game, yes, but right now it seems to me to be an opportunity to be much more expensive.

mogamer:
So does that mean you don't buy any titles that require you to be online to play in single player mode? Because Valve, EA and Ubisoft certainly treat their customers as criminals then.

Since it is a "streaming" service, then being online all the time is a requirement. Valve and EA don't fall into the same category as Valve doesn't require you to be online except to download the game unless you are installing it off of disc and to run updates. EA only requires you to be online to register your game. Otherwise you can be offline for single player play. Ubisoft does require this, but with the exception of dated titles that are sold on Steam.
Either case, with streaming service, you never really do own the game. As game companies like EA and Ubisoft would like you to believe. You may pay full price to purchase but you will only have access to the game as long as your internet service is up and your bandwidth doesn't take a nosedive for many reasons that will probably be out of your control.
If one were to take on this service, it would be ideal to just go for something like OnLive's Paypack deal, where you pay $10 a month for access to any older title on their list(ala Netflix's Instant Movies). I wouldn't go and pay 40 to 50 bucks just to own a game you won't actually own.

 

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