Playcast launches games-on-demand service

Written by Joe Martin

July 21, 2009 // 10:59 a.m.

Tags: #cloud #gaikai #games-on-demand #israel #onlive #playcast #playcast-launches-game-on-demand-service #streaming

A new games-on-demand streaming service which could rival Onlive has been launched by Playcast Media System in conjunction with cable network company Hot. The system apparently allows users to play console-quality games through a standard set-top box connected to a cloud-based computing network.

The system is still only available in Israel at the moment and is still in the early phases, but it's the first time such a system has been properly rolled out for public use. The idea of streaming games with no lag has been much discussed since competitor Onlive first announced a breakthrough in the tech, though neither Onlive nor Dave Perry's similar Gaikai system have been publicly demonstrated yet.

Playcast claims that their own system has been in development for than four years in an official release on the topic and that it is now ready to start rolling the technology out in a public trial. A wider release across the US, Europe and Asia is therefore planned once the final interface kinks have been ironed out based on user feedback.

"This pilot unequivocally proves the viability of high-end videogames delivery over cable TV networks," said Guy De Beer, CEO of Playcast. "The vision of TV games-on-demand is about to come true, enabling new growth opportunities for game publishers and TV operators at minimum investment, as well as an exciting and affordable new gaming experience for hundreds of millions of cable and IPTV viewers around the world."

"After four years of development, it's exciting to see our technology transform in to a real user experience. We're delighted that Israel’s premier cable network, Hot, has been able to share this vision with us and we’re indebted to them for giving us this opportunity to roll out the Playcast service."

Meanwhile, Onlive is rumoured to be prepping for a closed beta across the US in the run-up to Christmas this year, while Gaikai is on the verge of opening a similar US-based beta. Those of us in Europe are going to be stuck thumb-twiddling for a while yet, it seems.

What's your take on games-on-demand - is it the future of gaming, or a solution to a problem that doesn't exist? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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