Even Walmart is getting into the cloud gaming business
Walmart has reportedly developed a cloud gaming service that nearly launched in beta back in 2019. The service, codenamed Project Storm, apparently runs on Windows and supports third-party game launchers like Steam, Uplay, Origin, Epic Games Store, Battle.net, and Bethesda Launcher.
According to confidential emails revealed in the Epic Games v. Apple trial (via The Verge), Walmart pitched its service to Epic Games as recently as April 2019.
“I played Walmart’s demo on an Android phone (with an Xbox controller) and the experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS,” said Epic Games co-founder Mark Rein in an email.
Images: The Verge
Rein apparently also shared an image of a game clip, which would attach a phone to a controller, that Walmart would have shared in its stores. “They’re going to sell the clip for a crazy low amount, they were saying something like $2,” Rein said in the email.
A presentation attached to the emails reveals the service would be accessible through mobile devices, laptop and desktop computers, and through consoles. An early mockup of the service’s UI shows a grid of artwork for the games, along with quick links to search and filter titles by genre. Walmart’s service allegedly supports cloud streaming and the ability to download and play games locally.
At this point it’s unclear if/when Walmart’s service will launch. The company apparently hoped to begin publicly testing Project Storm in 2019, with a launch to follow in 2020. However, the pandemic threw a wrench into those plans, and it’s unclear where things currently stand.
The cloud gaming market is becoming increasingly crowded, much in the same way video streaming has become incredibly competitive. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony are among the biggest companies to offer cloud game streaming services, and it sounds like Walmart could be a new entrant in the market. The documents revealed by the Epic Games v. Apple trial don’t indicate when/if something will launch. But they give us a good idea of what to expect should something happen.