GameStop game streaming coming to consoles by July 2012

Specialty retailer enters first beta-testing phase of on-demand service, open beta planned for late 2011; pricing announcement due next year.

Record earnings had become the norm for GameStop up until its most recently concluded quarter, when both revenue and profit were off by millions. However, one way the world's largest specialty game retailer has been attempting to turn it around is through a greater push into the digital sector, picking up game-streaming service Spawn Labs and online storefront Impulse earlier this year.

GameStop will roll out its answer to OnLive and Gaikai next year.

In a post-earnings conference call following yesterday's earnings announcement, GameStop provided an update on its game-streaming plans, saying it plans to launch Spawn's service on platforms that include the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC during the first half of 2012. A closed beta for the service is currently under way, and GameStop plans to enter an open-beta phase later this year.

"Spawn recently began its first beta and is currently live, testing the streaming of Xbox 360, PS3, and PC games from a data center in Austin, Texas," said GameStop president Tony Bartel. "The initial results of the test are positive, and we are on track to broaden our testing in Q4 to a national beta and for a nationwide launch in the first half of 2012. We continue to get positive feedback from our publishing partners about the pro-console, low investment model that we have chosen."

"We have the closed beta that we're going through and then the open beta that will happen later on this quarter, and we will most likely announce pricing in the first half of 2012," Bartel continued.

As detailed in April, GameStop is experimenting with a try-before-you-buy model for game purchases, as well as a subscription model through its PowerUp Rewards program. The try-before-you-buy model, according to Bartel, will let gamers play approximately 15 minutes of a game before giving them an option to make a purchase.

"The other way we look at it that we're very excited about is a subscription service that we would offer to our PowerUp Rewards members, where based on the games they purchased from GameStop and have in their library, we would offer them a subscription service to stream those games and play them on any Internet-connected device," Bartel said of the subscription service.

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Discussion

57 comments
ejd3100
ejd3100

I can't seem to get out of GameStop without being lectured on the $2 I would've saved if I'd bought it used, the 51 games I need to preorder, the card I MUST have or else I'm an idiot for not saving 22 cents, the e-mailing list AND JESUS CHRIST I JUST WANT THE ONE GAME. Ugh. If it weren't for Walmart looming just behind GameStop for game sales I'd say they should just go ahead and pack their bags. Between them and DLC type corporate behavior, they have me feeling like a singing chimp with a hole in my pocket.

zzamaro
zzamaro

I really like what GameStop does so GameStop has my support. Don't be angry, I work at GameStop so I'll like anything GS does :D

ziproy
ziproy

I am not going to spend $60 on a digital copy of the game. I assumed we pay so much because of manufacturing but if there isnt any of that then we better be getting a price cut.

the_real_luigi
the_real_luigi

I don't think so! I'm sticking to buying real merchandise that I can physically hold in my hand!

Crystal-Rush
Crystal-Rush

Going digital is one thing, but to stream games straight to the gamer, who has to pay full price mind you and doesn't even own the game or have information installed (to have a least a small amount of entitlement) is just criminal. Game stop should fail and go out of business because if this goes through and becomes successful, you'll become a slave to their business and you wont even own a single game. Same thing applies to onlive as well. People who support this obviously love getting ripped off and urinated on.

Diophage
Diophage

This is basically what the game industry has amounted to. Digital rights management:: Don't have an internet connection? Well, **** you! You can't play OUR game. That's right. It's ours. We decide when you can play. After all, you don't have rights. Streaming: Pay the same price for a full game, but if we ever close down, you'll be **** out of luck. Excessive milking of franchises: Call of Duty Future of the Future Call of Duty that is Modern and Has Warfare. What's worse, other games are starting to follow. Downloadable content: Pay for this and pay for that, and maybe you'll have a full game. Yeah, we know it's on the disc. But so what? You can't do anything about it. These things, or at least the way are being handheld by the game industry are slowly but surely killing my desire to continue playing new games.

almossbb
almossbb

the future isnt looking too good

beuneus12
beuneus12

does this mean the games are gonna be cheaper? NO!

Gen007
Gen007

seems like Gamestop would want to stay as far away as possible from digital since they will most likely be the end of them. Without the used aspect there just isnt much reason to buy from them as they rarely have the best deal going on.

xemnas0013
xemnas0013

Hmm, if the download speeds are really fast(or like Steam where you can download most of the game the night before) this might be a very valuable service. However I do agree with what several of you are saying in regards to how this may be exploited or hacked.

jimbo-45
jimbo-45

this has one thing going for it at least you won't actually have to into the store which I have grown to hate more and more over the years. It used to be a little exciting now its just and ordeal especially when they try to sell you a warranty for a game. like pretty much everyone else I have no interest in this.

AvnKnight
AvnKnight

I think most ppl will make like a quarterback and Pass on this.

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

then what happens if this 'service' was 'suddenly' hacked...whats happens to the guy that actually downloaded more that 10 games and u guys are just gonna apologize and give us 2 free games that is less that 5$...but then again IF this service was hacked (which will happen eventually) :P

terrascythe
terrascythe

Gamestops open Beta will be competing with Gameflys open Beta. That should make things more interesting. Except Gameflys service is PC only.

B4NTH4F0DD3R
B4NTH4F0DD3R

Will there be used versions of downloaded games that they'll sell for 5$ less than the new ones??? LOL Joke

B4NTH4F0DD3R
B4NTH4F0DD3R

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

packtop
packtop

@CTBradums Don't forget we also have to pay a subscription so in the end it will cost more then buying a physical copy.

CTBradums
CTBradums

I could rant on the pros and cons of this, but it all boils down to: I don't like the fact that I'm paying for access to data (possibly temporarily), as opposed to getting the physical game itself (permanently). As someone who collects - and still plays, on occasion - games from older eras, I can't justify spending $50-60 on access to game data through a specific service when purchasing a physical, tangible copy of the game is the same price and is guaranteed to be MINE, for as long as I own it. If the service tanks, or discontinues, that game goes with it. If I buy a physical copy, I can play it whenever, wherever I want - even a decade down the road.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

So this is kind of like OnLive except it will be available on existing consoles also?

majin_lebeau
majin_lebeau

gamestop has a history of overcharging for used games and almost giving away games that are no longer popular. On xbox live once i purchase a game I can redownload it again no fee. There is no extra profit to be made from that, gamestop would have to match that for me. Gamestop is all about the profit.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

We now have the quiet and serenity of not being around pressurizing sales employees.... I just want to buy the stupid game!

Eric_VA
Eric_VA

Just another way people don't have to leave the house for games, i thought that's why i got gamefly....

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

The gods weep LOL I am not a fan of full games being DLC. I know there is cloud service and all (which is usually limited to 5GB), but with most people having the standard editions of their consoles, space is an issue what with even demos coming in at 2+GB. Even having a larger hard drive isn't a deterent. Besides, why would I want to house my whole game on the hard drive and have to redownload that entire thing if my hard drive fails? Hard discs aren't going anywhere, they're still the safest and fastest medium out. Hence why they still sell CDs even though MP3s are preferred. The quality can't be matched so long as you don't scratch it up to hell. Hard drives corrupt easily. I'll stick with the disc versions.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I don't like OnLive either for the reason many brought up, when you see stuff like this it's another attempt by these companies to take away the ownership of a game you paid for, by making you go through them just to use it. That doesn't work for people like me who have sometimes unreliable internet service, or others who have bandwidth caps to worry about and maybe don't want to have to be online just to play a single player game they already bought. Not to mention, 15 minute trial? Even the PS3's 60 minute trial is way too short, you can have some opening cutscenes that are that long. Now a game streaming rental service is a different story and I think it needs implementing, but I'll pass on this.

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

Give me the good old physical dvd format ;)

dstv
dstv

LOL....i dont rent i buy ....its a hobby for me

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

Personally, I would rather have a physical copy of the disc, or the digital game on my own system.

shinmew
shinmew

Oh, I have a large list, that is just a small part. I've been thinking about making a large write up and having a run with the media.

exedeath
exedeath

shinmew is prophet, or he worked for GameStop in the past. I did as well, and I know it to be true. However he failed to mention how before everyone looses their jobs, we will have to hear a speech every time we buy a game from their store, to sign up for this streaming service. Now they will have to push Game Informers, pre sells, and a subscription to their streaming service. Then if that employee does not sell a subscription every two transactions they will get written up. It sucks that the only place to buy games where I live is Gamestop. Unless I want to drive an hour to get to Best Buy.

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

I like owning my games, so Steam is still my preferred digital distribution method.

shinmew
shinmew

Perhaps they are taking a loss because they keep losing good managers who know about games because of how they treat the ones that work for them. You can't get sales if you have people there who are always depressed and angry because no matter how hard they work, they always get a threat for their job, even when they are doing a great job. I'd rather just download my content strait from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. I don't need you GameStop. Take your greed somewhere else. We already know what is going to happen to your workers once everything goes download. Lay offs like crazy and a huge lack of hours. I'm willing to bet that you are going to lay off everyone except that one Salary paid manager and work him 50 to 70 hours a week at a cheap rate.

djpetitte
djpetitte

@Dawg9000 onlive was finished from day 1.

Vodoo
Vodoo

@collinmul... Microsoft and Sony are not allowed to sell games at a discounted price directly to the public just to cut out the middle-man, Gamestop. Manufacturers have to sell to distributors, then they sell to the retailers. Then you get it. And the price being raised every step of the way, lol. I'm not sure if Microsoft/Sony can sell digital games at retail price to the public when they first come out. If you notice... all the games on their online services are not new releases. PC gaming is different whereas Steam sells new stuff right away. But I think console manufacturers aren't allowed to bypass the retailer when new releases are concerned. Same as the movie theater movies going to dvd, then to cable. They can't go straight to cable and cut out the dvd rental places.

Xplode_77
Xplode_77

How come I feel cool at a local game shop with classics and people who know what they are talking about, than Gamestop?

strayfies
strayfies

Gamestop has tried to hock me the dumbest things ad nauseam for years. I gave up on them five years ago, Amazon's easier and they do release-date delivery just the same. If I wanted to preorder something, I'd say "I want to preorder something". It works like crazy.

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

So Gamestop's onlive? Well, they're already national, guess Onlive is finished.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

Our Spawn service will also engage our customers in our user friendly ads space that appears in game that only takes up 20% of the screen to inform them of new games you would like to preorder and our game informer magazine. We will also pause the game every 10 minutes to remind our customers they can always bring their games in to trade. Power to the Players.

Super-Poke-Bros
Super-Poke-Bros

I guess it would need a connection anyway, so that they you can't keep the game forever by not connecting again... Still there could be another way to do it other than game streaming...

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

When I first saw the title, I thought, "Oh, digital game rentals. That's interesting." When I actually got into the article.. streaming games that you purchase from their server? I'd rather just download and have it on my own hardware, thanks.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Gamestop is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I could kick them towards it.

FinalKloud
FinalKloud

the internet is the devil, souls up for sale! buy now...

SoYoung24
SoYoung24

I dont like streaming games idea at al. At least I prefer to download it into my hardware. Sometime when I play, I lose my internet connection, and if so, what will happen if I played for several minutes without saving? Its rare but its happens. A system like that is too dependant of an internet connection and I'm sure the image quality will not be the same as a physical copy or a downloadable copy.

Nozizaki
Nozizaki

...we'd pay... and get a demo of any game we want? Ugh.

collinmul
collinmul

The race is on to offer release-day streaming on console games. Many analysts believe Microsoft and Sony will offer it themselves on their next consoles. Would Microsoft and Sony cut out the middle-man (retailers) by working directly with third parties? That'd be the smart thing to do..... Wonder if the GameStop program will begin to pick up momentum only to have the console makers chop off their legs for Xbox720, PS4?

president_bush
president_bush

GameStop is tinkling in their pants. They're still pushing PowerUp Rewards like there's no tomorrow. I believe this will not work out for them.

okassar
okassar

Why would Gamestop still exist when gaming goes disc-free (likely next gen)? Wouldn't it be more efficient for all of them to be sold through the corresponding Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo virtual hubs? No middleman is needed when delivery can be made instantly.

vallan2
vallan2

"The other way we look at it that we're very excited about is a subscription service that we would offer to our PowerUp Rewards members, where based on the games they purchased from GameStop and have in their library, we would offer them a subscription service to stream those games and play them on any Internet connected device," ...um, why would you need to stream games that you already own? If you wanted to play that game so badly, you'd bring it with you.