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Amazon joins game streaming race with service for smartphones

Amazon is working on a video game streaming service for smartphones. Jeff Bezos and co. join Microsoft, Google and, more recently, Verizon, in a race to deliver console-quality video games on smartphones and tablets via cloud computing.

Streaming promises to be the next big thing in gaming, and all the big players in the tech business want a piece of the action. Amazon, it seems, will not be left behind. According to a report in the Information, a new cloud-based service is being worked on at Amazon that hopes to bring AAA games to smartphones and tablets.

It is clear that big tech companies see streaming as a way to expand the market for gaming into new audiences, given that big-name titles would be playable without the current need for expensive consoles or high-end PCs.

Amazon's game streaming service is not scheduled to launch until 2020. By that time, its rivals may already be live. Google's Project Stream, which allows players to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey in Chrome, is already in beta. The open-world adventure game looked mightily impressive during Google's demo, running in 4K.

Not much else is known about Amazon's game streaming service at this point, but it would appear that the company is not as far along in the project as Google is with Project Stream, or Microsoft is with Project xCloud. However, Amazon is rumored to already be in talks with game publishers as it looks for partners for the service. PlayStation Now, Sony's game streaming service, has been up and running since 2014 in North America and 2015 in the rest of the world, but it is limited to older generation games that do not require the latest hardware.

Verizon is also testing a game streaming service

According to The Verge, Verizon is also working on a game streaming service for smartphone users. The US carrier has already begun trialing the service with a small number of customers as part of the alpha testing phase.

Verizon Gaming, as it is currently known, is already running on Nvidia Shield TV, and there are plans to bring it to Android in the future. According to the reports, the trial phase features more than 135 playable games including Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Battlefield V, and Destiny 2. Apparently, testers were given a free Nvidia Shield TV and an Xbox One controller, which can be paired of course, in order to carry out the test. Verizon will also be conducting a similar test through Google Play later this month.

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Verizon's cloud gaming service on Nvidia Shield TV. / © The Verge

The trial run will end at the end of the month. After that, we'll have to wait and see what the next phase entails. The service is currently running over Wi-Fi, but with Verizon's plans for 5G broadband well-known, it will be interesting to see if game streaming is ready for the launch of the next generation of mobile networking technology.

What do you think about the potential for cloud gaming services in the US? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • With its huge AWS server plant, streaming anything seems pretty natural for Amazon - will be surprised if it doesn't take on Spotify sooner than later. Will depend on licensing at the content end, and how well it fits into the Prime ecosystem at the consumer end. Every Prime gamer will be a potential Prime electronics, video and snack food consumer.