As the use of video games becomes even more widespread, a number of companies have fused gaming with the traditional entertainment mediums of the living room. Both Microsoft and Sony have tried to make their home consoles into all-in-one media devices, with Sony announcing an expansion to its PlayStation Vue service at E3 2015. Meanwhile, although Amazon is planning a new amibitious PC game, its Fire set-top box provides gamers with Android gaming.
Amazon is not the only company bringing games to the living room through set-top boxes, however, as Comcast has just announced its own move into the market. The broadcasting giant is delivering an additional service through its Xfinity set-top boxes, and will combine with one of the biggest companies in video games to do so. As revealed in a YouTube announcement video, Comcast will team up with EA to create Xfinity Games.
Xfinity Games will provide users with a number of EA-licensed games, including the likes of NBA Jam, Plants vs. Zombies, and Peggle Nights. The service will not provide players with any console releases, and instead only gives gamers the publisher’s mobile titles. A full list of games is available to view on the Xfinity Games website, although no online multiplayer is supported at present.
The user’s smartphone or tablet acts as a controller for the system, with Xfinity Games offering support for devices for both iOS and Android. Apple users can use their iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus, as well as iPads from generations 3 and 4. From an Android perspective, Xfinity Games is only noted as being compatible with Samsung Galaxy tablets and phones, but the list of devices is expected to grow with time.
Current Comcast users can sign up for a beta of Xfinity Games now, where the app can be found on the set-top box’s Apps menu. The Xfinity Games app will provide instant access to the full library of games to stream, and the beta will be free to those who join. In terms of the service’s eventual retail release, a pricing structure has yet to be revealed.
It’s a bold move from Comcast, and the team-up with EA is expected to add a wider variety of media for set-top box users to enjoy. There’s no guarantee that such a move will be successful – after all, the struggling Ouya console was expecting to see a second wind through set-top box compatibility before a buyout from Razer. By collaborating with EA, however, Comcast may have found a financially sound partner. The publisher has seen its stock price double in the last year, whilst an increased emphasis on mobile game development means Xfinity Games is unlikely to run out of content any time soon.