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GameStop's Streaming Client Coming to Android

By - Source: Joystiq | B 6 comments

GameStop apparently plans to stream games to Android devices thanks to its new Spawn Labs acquisition.

Last month GameStop revealed that it acquired Spawn Labs to gain access to its proprietary streaming technology. The retailer also said it entered an agreement with Stardock Systems to purchase its subsidiary Impulse, a gaming-focused digital distribution platform. Immediately GameStop's double-announcement seemed obvious-- it plans to launch a digital distribution platform similar to Steam, but also offer on-demand gaming as seen with OnLive.

"Spawn Labs, part of the GameStop network, brings patented technology and a talented team of technologists with unique game streaming and virtualization expertise," GameStop said in a press release. "The Spawn Labs team will work closely with GameStop's existing R&D group to develop GameStop's growing suite of digital game products and services. Once the Spawn Labs integration and testing on a new consumer interface is complete, users will have immediate access to a wide selection of high-definition video games on demand on any Internet-enabled device."

Before GameStop's acquisition, Spawn Labs offered a device that streamed console gaming to any computer located on the same network. Gamers simply connected their consoles to the Spawn HD-720 box and loaded up the Spawn Player client on a networked PC. Currently it's unknown whether this device (or a variation thereof) will be incorporated into GameStop's plan to take on OnLive's streaming-based console.

On the Impulse front, GameStop said the acquisition will provide three specific components: the client for accessing a library of more than 1,100 games on day one; a toolset for developers in adding achievements, customer-friendly DRM (whatever lol), friend lists, real-time chat, multiplayer lobbies and more; and a publishing client for real-time reporting and product management.

Up until now, little else has been known about the upcoming GameStop digital distribution/steaming service. However a current LinkedIn job listing shows that GameStop is looking for a senior software engineer to bring the Spawn Player to Google's Android OS. "The Sr. Software Engineer will be responsible for the development and maintenance of our Player software on Android tablets and smartphones," the listing specifically reads. "The ideal candidate will have several years of experience in application development in Android or iOS applications."

Although the job application mentions iOS experience, GameStop may never successfully develop a client for Apple devices. "Getting the audio and video onto the iPhone or iPad is not too hard," Spawn Labs' David Wilson previously pointed out. "Getting game control in a way that works for console games is hard -- but only because Apple controls both the physical and Bluetooth interfaces to the device."

With an Android client in development, does that mean gamers will be able to stream their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games to an Android smartphone or tablet? Will there be a way to stream downloaded PC games to those devices too? GameStop has yet to reveal its full plans for world domination, but we expect to hear more about its new platform at E3 2011 this June.

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  • 1 Hide
    kinggraves , April 30, 2011 12:18 AM
    Even Gamestop knows physical media is on it's way out for gaming, and they're sticking their foot into both future possibilities.

    Taking on Steam? Well...they do have a better chance than most. They already have publisher deals for physical sales, and they can run cross promos between physical/digital approaches. They've also gotten the scorn out of a lot of hardcore gamers for their shady business practices over the years, I know given an equal choice, I'd buy from Steam before GameStop.

    Taking on OnLive? Well that depends on who gets playability on Android first. Mobile is one of the few places where something like cloud gaming could be useful. Get a device with an HDMI out and open Bluetooth (or USB host), hook it up to your TV, pair up a Bluetooth Mouse/KB or controller, and game on. It's a lot better than buying OnLive's stupid "console" plug, I really don't know why they haven't done it already.
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , April 30, 2011 1:23 AM
    Sweet, now I can play even more games on my phone instead of working :) 
  • 0 Hide
    flexengineer , April 30, 2011 3:08 AM
    I invite you to read my email response to Steve Jobs' open letter "Thought on Flash" posted on Apple's website last year:
    http://tinyurl.com/65w3bop


    Also, you might find interesting that Google is expected to take Apple's app crown by July:
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20058080-248.html#ixzz1KwpDnWgD
  • Display all 6 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Khimera2000 , April 30, 2011 10:33 PM
    thats a up hill fight, they did give PC gamers the finger by not carrying enough or any of the titles in store. Its funny watching these companies try to franticly rebuilt all those bridges they burnt, if they did this when steam first came out (star dock was still there) then they would stand a chance against steam. as things stand... Ive come to like steam, its simple and easy to get what I want, rarely ever has any problems, and gives me the latest drivers for me video card :D  (ati only i think)

    as for streaming games to phones... it will need WIFI, that or a rock solid data connection (service fees got to love them) with the tele companies trying to kill of unlimited over there cell towers i don't see these features taking off. if they want to target desktop users, well theres already another company dedicated to pushing the same service which is used by 0 people I know. I don't think that numbers going to change any time soon.

    all in all... this looks like a great strategy that they should of moved on yesteryear when there wasn't so much competition, here's hoping that they can overcome these issues, and make a rally good product... otherwise they just spent a buck load on a white elephant.
  • 1 Hide
    cknobman , May 2, 2011 2:16 PM
    Gamestop? So I take it everything will be overpriced then?
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , May 2, 2011 3:05 PM
    I don't know about you guys but I'm excited about this because my laptop is not fit for gaming and being able to stream to my laptop would be sweet! (Depending on how it works) This would allow me to play PS3 games at work! : )
    I recently finished F.E.A.R. using modest graphics settings and that game is pretty old. That's about the best my laptop can do. (Intel i5 but it also has intel graphics)
    To play FEAR 2 and some newer games I was thinking I could use OnLive but I don't like the Onlive game selection. The only game I've been thinking about trying through OnLive is Boarderlands.

    I've already got the USB to PS2 controller and adapter, So bring on the console games! I'm interested to see how this works because if it only works over a network it would be pointless but if it works over the internet then I can start playing God of War 2 (on my PS3 collection disk) on my laptop while I'm at work!

    Yes, I play games at work. I also watch movies and TV shows. It's a 12 hour shift job and the actual work only takes up about 2-6 hours but they absolutely MUST have someone on staff. Yes, my boss knows, infact he said we could use one of the 55" LCD TV's

    So, like I said, this service will be great for me!
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