by Graham Pierrepoint
The way we entertain ourselves has changed enormously in just a few years – this much is true! It was only a decade ago when we were still clinging onto home rental DVDs – and while video streaming has been on the creep for some time now, it has really become the be-all and end-all in the past couple of years. Whatever happened to Blockbuster? While there may still be a handful of stores scattered about, it’s safe to say that services such as Netflix have changed the way that we watch TV and movies forever in our homes. Therefore, a further question has been lingering on the air for a fair amount of time now – when will the same happen for games?
Videogames can now be bought and downloaded directly to our home consoles – an incredible leap forward from a world where we used to need to blow into our plastic cartridges in order to get them to work properly – but the emergence of a model where all-you-can-eat gaming is available for a flat fee every month seems to be on the go-slow. While Microsoft and Sony do offer membership services to reduce the cost of certain titles (and selections of free games), there is yet to be a full ‘Netflix for Games’ to poke its head out of the ether – that is, unless Google have their way.
It’s thought that the brand are looking at ways in which users of their Chromecast streaming device can effectively stream and play games on their TV – meaning that users wouldn’t have physical access to titles, rather, they would be streaming directly from a Google server. Consider it similar to what Spotify does for music – and, of course, what Netflix does for music – and the service, currently codenamed Yeti, could be set to allow gamers to enjoy a range of titles from the comfort of their own home. You can already stream certain Android games – however, a full library of titles to ‘rent’ could push gaming in a completely new direction. Nintendo, too, is thought to be working on something similar – meaning that we could be seeing a games streaming revolution on our hands before too long.
Are the days of physical media completely numbered? Let’s wait and see – there will always be collectors keen to retain physical boxes, cartridges and more – but for convenience alone, this model will certainly appeal!