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Television Games

Report: Comcast and EA To Stream Games To TVs 52

An anonymous reader writes "Reuters is reporting that Electronic Arts and Comcast are working on a partnership that would stream video games to consumer televisions through Comcast's cable boxes. It will start with the FIFA and Madden sports game franchises. '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.' The report says consumers will also be able to use tablets as controllers for the games."
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Report: Comcast and EA To Stream Games To TVs

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  • New? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Travis Mansbridge ( 830557 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @06:13PM (#46903631)
    Sega Channel was doing this back in the 90's.
  • by ddt ( 14627 ) <> on Friday May 02, 2014 @06:15PM (#46903641) Homepage
    I'm genuinely curious if anyone is excited about this. This service seems like it would be of interest to no one outside of big companies wanting to cut big company deals.
    • Comcast and EA...
      I'm not particularly excited. Comcast, besides already providing our internet, TV, streaming, is trying to merge with Time Warner, and now they seem to also want a grip on the game industry. Does anyone seem to have a problem with that?
    • Two rather disliked companies teaming up? Not excited. FRIGHTENED!

    • It would be like "twitch tv" except through your cable box. This kind of thing could take off pretty well if games start to build in some kind of "spectator" mode meant for streaming. It's already proven very popular for things like Star Craft, and I have to admit the idea of simply tuning into a channel from the couch is pretty cool.

  • Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Tablets as controllers? What are we, barbarians?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's like Stalin and Hitler teaming up to deliver milk for a monthly premium instead of buying the cow.

  • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @06:17PM (#46903677)

    this has been done by multiple companies, in various iterations, and all have failed. This will too of course.

    the group of folks who are into FIFA and/or Madden already have consoles. with real controllers. without streaming induced latency.

    Though Comcast and EA teaming up .. has historical precedent, Poland should be very very concerned. :(

    • The latency from multiplayer over the Internet is still there. This only adds latency viewing the response from your own input. Still, Madden and FIFA games are evolving, with more and more players acting as coaches and managers only, letting AI fully handle actual player simulation. In that scenario, this added latency is not a problem.
      • The latency from multiplayer over the Internet is still there.

        Although if you are a Comcast subscriber, your latency to them is much less than to any single centralized location. If there's anything that ends up making this succeed where others failed, it would be that Comcast has data centers nearby their customers, and can prioritize the traffic.

        • and if anything guarantee's failure, it would be that it's a joint venture between comcast and EA, the two most hated companies in the us (literally, i believe.). See the above stalin/hitler reference.

      • The latency from multiplayer over the Internet is still there. This only adds latency viewing the response from your own input. Still, Madden and FIFA games are evolving, with more and more players acting as coaches and managers only, letting AI fully handle actual player simulation. In that scenario, this added latency is not a problem.

        All modern videogames hide latency with client-side prediction. At the very least, locally rendered games means your own avatar, the one most important to you, is always snappy and responsive (unless the devs royally screwed up). The reason most streaming technology has generally failed so far is that input latency is extremely frustrating for gamers, making the game feel sluggish and unresponsive. You say "only" in regard to input latency, but that's a pretty huge caveat. Games like you mentioned that

  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @06:17PM (#46903681)
    Cable is over. That is pretty obvious by their constant blundering around trying to find a problem that their solution solves.
  • Comcast's motivation is obvious, but EA seems pretty shortsighted. Probably a majority of their dedicated Madden / FIFA players that could be swayed into a subscription business are NOT Comcast subscribers. Yet.
  • Something tells me this is some kind of an attempt to impose DRM through the cable box, going after people who are accustomed to shelling out for Sports packages through Comcast to get all the games for their sport.

    I like soccer, for example, but I don't pay for the Soccer sports packages, just the expanded basic.

    But they figure I'll shell out to play the EA FIFA2013 game.

    How wrong they are.

    I'd rather play inFamous: Second Son on my PS4 without online and shell out the money for seasons tickets for me and m

  • Why do I get the feeling this is going to be one of those things where Comcast degrades other internet traffic because they EA wants DRM you can't break?

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @06:30PM (#46903807) Journal
    Other than being able to test-drive a game before you buy it, why in the world would you want to do this? The overall quality can't be as good as an actual game console, can it? Otherwise it just sounds to me like yet another way to swindle people out of their money and give them essentially nothing.
    • Probably to avoid paying $600 for a new console and a couple games.

      But yeah, it'll never really work for games designed for game consoles, just as new games had to come along for smartphones and facebook instead of just using PC games directly on those platforms. They are vastly inferior to the PC in any way a PC gamer would have thought to measure, yet make big bucks for some companies.

    • Here's the problem as I see it. The only reason to do this in the cloud is because you can't afford a fast enough computer to run the games at home. And game that requires fast rendering of high quality graphics is going to be somewhat fast paced. Nobody cares about graphics in turn based strategy games. So, in order to decrease controller lag, the server will have to be close to your physical location, preferably in the same city, or at least in about a 500 mile radius. Everybody who is using the service i
  • I will give it to Comcast & EA, this is definitely an interesting way to attack traditional consoles. It's very fitting that MS is one of the targets, as this was one of their favorite weapons (i.e. Bundling IE with Windows to attack Netscape, WMV to attack Real, etc.).

    I'll be curious how they execute this platform envelopment [] attack as I think its success will largely rely on their operational efficiency (something neither Comcast nor EA are known for). Comcast certainly has a major advantage over other remote gaming providers in terms of latency, but even being the closest hop to their customers, I don't know if it's quick enough for certain games. I don't think they'd cache the game locally on the customer's X1 client as it those devices won't have anywhere near the processing power of a modern console. I also have serious doubts about using tablets as controllers as described however I presume their target is casual gamers (i.e. those who never owned a console before they bought the original Wii). It will be interesting to see how those users respond.

    I am also curious to see how MS & Sony will respond. MS currently offers a Comcast app on the Xbox 360 (and I presume the Xbox One); will both sides continue with that service? Does anyone know how the financials work with that (i.e. does one side pay the other)?
    • > I will give it to Comcast & EA, this is definitely an interesting way to attack traditional consoles.

      I think in the coming months we will hear about this again maybe once or twice and then a year later no remembers this article.
  • Comcast and EA? Isn't that crossing the beams?
  • I'm actually curious if any of the representatives from EA actually used the word "buy".
  • if i'm giving away my right to sell and/or lend the games, then surely the price should be under $10, and even that's asking a lot.
  • If streaming games is anything like streaming video, it will be a game of patience as it buffers..

  • 5 years ago, I would of looked forward to it.

    Now? I'll check to see if AT&T will offer being dragged thru a swimming pool full of salted razor blades as an alternative.

    The latter would be more preferable....

  • So basically we're back to the arcade.. only in your living room..
  • Comcast needs better cable tv they are behind other cable systems. There nbc premier league extra time is a joke why put that on VOD when other systems have it as real part time channels that work like live tv channels.

    any ways didn't hot cable Israel have some thing like this?

    Right now with VOD you can see the control lag but that is ok when viewing a movie / show but to play a game with that?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do I see a sith lord and apprentice team here? or is that just me?

    • by qwak23 ( 1862090 )

      I would ask who would be the sith lord and who would be the apprentice, but after some thought I definitely think EA is the sith lord and Comcast the apprentice.

      Comcast gets our dollars because often they are the only choice for a reasonably fast internet connection (essentially a regional monopoly).

      EA manages to get our dollars purely voluntarily, even in light of all that negative press.

  • half the time on demand wont work, the other half it bitches about the cable box THEY JUST GAVE ME

    on demand is so easy its useless

  • On a lighter note, CDC labs in Atlanta have successfully injected DNA from Adolf Hilter into an airborne strain of the Ebola virus.

  • Cable boxes already have terrible games on them that you can play. All this seems like to me is a licensing deal. EA is willing to slap their label on some of the shit games. I suspect we'll have some version of Tetris with football shaped blocks and a big picture of John Madden of to the side.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer