Amazon plans 'game streaming service' to take on consoles

The cloud could kill the traditional console

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 11 January 2019 13:47 GMT
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Amazon could be set to extend it's global dominance by getting into the game streaming business
Amazon could be set to extend it's global dominance by getting into the game streaming business

Amazon has been secretly developing a game streaming platform that would bypass the need for expensive consoles, according to reports.

The project involves using powerful computers housed in data centres to run the games over the internet. Players would log in remotely from devices such as phones, tablets or even smart TVs.

It would mean that players no longer need to buy discs or download video games to play on high-powered PCs or gaming consoles such as the Xbox One or Playstation 4. The Amazon rumours come amid growing suggestions that both PlayStation and Xbox are working on their own versions of such cloud services.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the rumoured project, though several publications have cited sources close to the matter confirming its existence.

The world’s most valuable public company – which already has a major stake in gaming through its ownership of streaming service Twitch – is already in talks with a number of games publishers about distributing titles through the streaming service, the Information reported.

The cloud gaming service could launch as early as 2020, with Amazon already posting several job listings for engineers to work on it.

One listing titled software development engineer, cloud games, first spotted by The Verge, is seeking “the best developers in the world” in order to “change the way the world sees digital entertainment”.

The listing states: “Games have the power to connect people at a massive scale, and creating these experiences will produce some of the future’s most influential voices in media and art ... Join us, and you’ll have the power of Twitch, AWS and the entire Amazon ecosystem to shape the future of games.”

Other listings include posts for a senior game AI engineer and a front end engineer for cloud games.

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Other companies rumoured to be working on video game streaming services include Google’s Project Stream and Electronic Arts’ Project Atlas.

Google first announced its efforts in October, explaining in a blog post that the biggest challenge is reducing the lag or buffering that typically comes with streaming content online.

“We’ve been working on Project Stream, a technical test to solve some of the biggest challenges of streaming,” wrote Catherine Hsiao, a product manager at Google.

“For this test, we’re going to push the limits with one of the most demanding applications for streaming – a blockbuster video game.

“When streaming TV or movies, consumers are comfortable with a few seconds of buffering at the start, but streaming high-quality games requires latency measured in milliseconds, with no graphic degradation ... We’re inspired by the game creators who spend years crafting these amazing worlds, adventures and experiences, and we’re building technology that we hope will support and empower that creativity.”

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