Still clinging on to your physical DVD/Blu-ray games? Satisfied with buying digital versions of games instead? Owning console games could become a thing of the past if GameStop's tests for a streaming games service pans out.
Consumers are increasingly willing to go the streaming route nowadays. We rent our movies through services like Netflix and iTunes and listen to music through Spotify or Pandora. What about on the gaming front?
According to Eurogamer, GameStop, the world's largest video game retailer is testing its "Spawn client" — a streaming service that is currently in beta and "testing the streaming of Xbox 360, PS3 and PC games from a data center in Austin, Texas."
At this point, anybody serious about streaming games could take the lion's share home, but it'll be a tough uphill battle.
OnLive's taking a whack at streaming high-definition video games to any screen with its $100 microconsole and recently revealed its plans to stream PC-quality games to smartphones and tablets, but that's about it. OnLive is the only major player in streaming video games.
The big kicker for OnLive (and any streaming service for that matter) is that the experience ultimately depends heavily on your Internet connection speed. If you have a slow connection, you're going to get a choppy lag-filled experience, no matter what screen the games are streamed to. If you have super fast cable or FIOS, well, you're just very fortunate.
GameStop's a pretty big force on the video game scene. It's not a game publisher, but it's positioning itself to become a huge digital delivery service. GameStop says it plans to have Spawn up and running at full by mid-2012, with an open U.S. beta by the end of the year. All 12 million of GameStop PowerUp members will reportedly get the Spawn client for free, too.
I'm not sure how much interest there is in just renting a game or streaming it (kills the need for a high-capacity hard drive), but one thing's for sure: Internet speeds aren't going to be an awesome 1Gbps everywhere, like it is in the Netherlands or South Korea; those lucky blokes!