Time Warner Xbox? Cable companies target consoles with streaming games

microsoft onlive

Will television be the savior or the death of the video game console business?

The entertainment singularity probably isn’t coming this decade. There will be no single utopian device that you plug directly into your body, acting as PC, phone, television, library, filing cabinet, and video game console simultaneously. Keep waiting. The convergence of disparate entertainments as single services, however, is continuing apace. Much as Apple’s iPod became the nexus of portable entertainment last decade, giving you movies, music, and games everywhere you go, video game consoles are expected to be the nexus of the living room. Rumors are that Xbox Live will transform into your cable service on Xbox 720. Nintendo is staking its claim with Wii U’s Nintendo TVii. The best video games and all the television and movie services available, pumped out one box. That’s how game console makers hope to survive.

If cable companies have their way though, they’ll be able to cut the game console makers out of the equation entirely. Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable are all planning to make video games a key component of their cable services going forward.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that all three of those cable companies are preparing cloud-based streaming gaming services, not unlike OnLive and Sony’s recent acquisition Gaikai. Testing is set to start by the end of the year with the services debuting in early 2013. Other sources said other premium TV providers will follow Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T in 2014, right as the next generation of game consoles like Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 are getting established in the market.

Games are already available through a number of television services, and through many televisions themselves. Samsung Smart TVs already carry casual gaming mainstays like Angry Birds. These new services, however, will look to offer streaming versions of AAA games from publishers like Electronic Arts.

The thinking is that cable companies might succeed where startups like OnLive failed because of their existing infrastructures. Cable companies already have massive data centers, so re-appropriating them for gaming networks will be easier and cheaper then building them from the ground up. What they don’t have though are the pre-installed communities of gamers that console services like PSN, Xbox Live, and PC services like Steam have. Cable companies could easily fail at penetrating the gaming market because they lack experience establishing online gaming communities.

With consumers abandoning premium TV services for streaming alternatives like Netflix, cable companies would be foolish to try and compete with gaming machines when they could partner with them instead. The rumors that Microsoft is looking to partner with a cable provider like Comcast to sell the Xbox 720 as a subsidized cable box alongside a subscription contract rings true. That scenario makes the most business sense for both industries.

Gaming

Seth Rogen sets Twitter ablaze with secret ‘Duck Hunt’ trick

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen let Twitter users in on a little secret about the classic Nintendo game Duck Hunt. If you remember playing it back in the '80s, you might want to sit down.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.
Gaming

What the FUT? An in-depth guide to getting started in 'FIFA 19' Ultimate Team

New to the latest entry in the FIFA franchise? Our 'FIFA 19' Ultimate Team guide will provide you with everything you need to know. including which packs to focus on first and how to extend contracts.
Computing

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 vs. GTX 1080

Should you upgrade from your GeForce GTX 1080 to the GeForce RTX 2080? Even if you won't take advantage of ray tracing, there are other benefits to the RTX series. We'll examine how each GPU performs to help you decide.
Computing

We tested Nvidia’s RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti. Are they a worthy upgrade?

We finally have Nvidia's newest graphics cards, the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti, and put them through our standard suite of benchmarks and game tests to see how they performed in a standard play of Battlefield 1 and Fornite. How do they compare to…
Computing

Here are all the games that support Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing

These are the upcoming games that support ray tracing rendered on Nvidia's RTX series graphics cards. They aren't many in number at this point, but thanks to the power of ray tracing, they are some of the best looking games ever made.
Gaming

PlayStation Classic arrives this December with ‘Final Fantasy VII’ in tow

Sony has announced the PlayStation Classic, its own plug-and-play system pre-loaded with 20 games from the original PlayStation's library. These include Tekken 3 and Final Fantasy VII.
Gaming

Leaked rating could point to ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ on PS4

A rating for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on PlayStation 4 has been spotted on the Korean Game Rating and Administrated Committee website. The game is currently only available on Xbox One and PC.
Gaming

‘Destiny 2' and the 'Fortnite' Celebration Pack are free right now with PS Plus

Free games, radically discounted hit titles, and exclusive DLC are all on the table with PlayStation Plus. We're here to make sure you don't miss out on any of the best PS4 game deals available this month.
Gaming

How to pre-order your PlayStation Classic before it's too late

Sony's PlayStation Classic comes with 20 pre-loaded games and two wired controllers for $100. While we don't know the full list of games yet, you can already pre-order the console. Here's how to snag one early.
Gaming

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ online mode gallops into open beta in November

Red Dead Redemption 2's online mode, Red Dead Online, won't be available when the game launches October 26, but you won't have to wait long. Red Dead Online, which takes cues from Grand Theft Auto Online, enters open beta in November.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…