EA Nearing Deal to Stream Games to TVs via Comcast
Reuters reports that cable television giant, Comcast, and Electronic Arts have been testing the streaming of EA games to televisions for the past two years and it may soon come to Comcast XFINITY subscribers.
In an effort to fend off subscribers jumping ship to video streaming services like Apple TV, Netflix on practically every set-top box that exists, and Amazon's FireTV (which released with over 100 games just last month), Comcast is nearing an agreement to release EA-published titles to subscribers with X1 cable boxes. X1 is Comcast's cloud-connected cable box operating system which features downloadable Internet apps, viewing recommendations, and voice control.
The deal with Comcast would allow Electronic Arts to publish games on the X1 storefront just as a pay-per-view movie, allowing EA to reach a whole new user base outside of the console-owning market. At first, EA plans to release family games -- like the Madden, FIFA, and Plants vs. Zombies series -- before releasing their action/adventure and first-person shooter franchises, with the games using a tablet device as a controller (versus forcing the player to buy a separate controller device, like Amazon's FireTV).
If one thinks about it, this could be a welcome alternative to that guy you know who owns an Xbox 360 for the sole purpose of playing the new Madden each year. Why spend ~$500 on a new console when you can just play FIFA right off your cable box at home? Or for the parent who just cannot justify the price tag for a new console for the kids and would rather buy them the new Plants vs. Zombies right off the TV. And with Comcast about to become the largest cable provider after their impending $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable goes through, they will have the opportunity to reach a remarkably wide audience.
This also places EA at the forefront of what many are speculating as one of the last console generations the industry may go through. If other publishers follow suit, gamers could be in for a whole new platform for playing games.
Both Electronic Arts and Comcast declined to comment, so only time will tell when Comcast subscribers will see EA games available on their cable boxes. We will update as we know more.