Let the debate over whether or not the physical video game console is dying rage on. Samsung has announced their Cloud Gaming service, which will work with their recent batch of Smart TVs to handle digital distribution of video games of all kinds.
Samsung Cloud Gaming was developed with Gaikai, a company specializing in using the cloud to distribute video games. The service will stream video games from Samsung’s servers, meaning that local storage won’t be an issue. Separate downloads and patches will also be handled by Samsung, though how paid DLC will be offered remains to be seen. Gamers will need to pay per title, rather than a monthly fee like OnLive, which provides a similar cloud-based streaming distribution model for PCs, Macs, Android devices, iOS devices, and Vizio VIA televisions. Samsung will have a free trial period for every title, which could be a big draw that sets the service apart from traditional home consoles.
For now, the service will only be available in the United States. Early adopters of Samsung Smart TVs might be out of luck, too – only those with 2012 Samsung LED 7000 series and up will be able to access Samsung Cloud Gaming. For those who do have compatible televisions, the beta is scheduled to go live soon, and will be accessible through the Samsung Smart Hub.
We are in a time where available bandwidth is capable of streaming entire games without wrecking the entire experience with choppiness or lag – OnLive hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, but their service has generally been reviewed as a quality one. The Samsung Cloud Gaming service looks to be more lucrative for Samsung, than for the people behind OnLive – besides adding another selling point for their Smart TVs, Samsung is asserting control over the distribution of an entire medium. The ecosystem grows larger – hard to say whether or not that’s a good thing.