SingTel and Playcast launch first Singapore cloud gaming service

Service to cost S$8 per month, free trial ongoing until end of April.

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Cloud gaming services are starting to take hold in the industry, with major players like OnLive already offering game streaming services to US players. It seems like it's Asia's turn next, with Playcast Media and SingTel recently announcing the commercial launch of their cloud gaming service in Singapore. The service is called "ESC" (pronounced as "escape") and will only be available in Singapore to any subscriber with fiber optics or broadband connectivity of 10Mbps and above.

Playcast CEO Guy de Beer said that the aforementioned partnership "Will succeed in markets where the console-based gaming economy has had somewhat limited success." Playcast COO and President of Media Alon Shtruzman clarified the above statement, saying that the reason the ESC service is launched in Singapore first is PC gaming is much more successful in Singapore due to the online gaming scene.

The service is priced at S$9.99 ($8) per month, with a S$1.99 ($1.60) price tag for a day pass. Gamers who aren't sure about the service can sign up for the free trial that lasts until April 30. The games available for the service are Street Fighter IV, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, DiRT 2, Toy Story 3, Pure, G-Force, Bolt, Back to the Future: The Game Episode I to III, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, MotoGP 08, Dark Void, Test Drive Unlimited, International Basket 2009, Frontlines: Fuel of War, Flock!, Cube Monsters, Mahjongg Artifact 2, Roboball, Chameleon Gems, Enchanted Cavern, Incaball, Electra, Balance, and Dark Void Zero.

Gamers can now play Street Fighter IV with a lesser-powered computer via ESC.
Gamers can now play Street Fighter IV with a lesser-powered computer via ESC.

Publisher names involved with the service include Activision, Atari, Disney, Capcom, Codemasters, THQ, and Strategy First. The ESC service will update its game roster with two titles per month. Shtruzman said that the company plans to expand its cloud gaming services across Asia within a year and a half.

Gamers will need to sign up on the ESC site first and then download the client to have access to the games library in the service. Players will then navigate through the list of games via the control panel. Upon choosing a game, players will have a choice of either using a keyboard and mouse combination or using a joypad.

Because the games are streamed and shown via cloud computing, there isn't an option to customize your controls; players will have to use the predetermined mappings on their chosen controller. All saved games and user data will be stored in the Playcast server. An Ethernet cable connection of 10Mbps or higher is recommended for a smooth streaming service.

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