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For some reason, Walmart may be getting into game streaming

Will it be bargain-bin games only?

walmart shopping carts against yellow wall
Image: Unsplash

Not to be left out of anything, Walmart is looking at the game streaming market, according to an exclusive report from USGamer. According to the report, Walmart has been speaking to developers and publishers since early this year, with a presence at the recent Games Developers Conference.

This could just be early, research gathering, but I wouldn’t put money on that. Walmart already has a fairly successful video streaming service in VUDU, so adding a video game streaming service would make sense. It could also help inform its retail arm, with statistics on games played and demographics helping it stock physical copies of games in the relevant geographical areas.

Walmart already has the computing power to pull this off if so, with a data center in Caverna, Missouri that holds over 460 trillion bytes of data. They’ll need more data centers across the country if game streaming is to be viable though, as latency issues would make faster-paced games almost unplayable otherwise.

This could also be part of the rivalry with Amazon

With Amazon reportedly developing its own game streaming service, this could be Walmart’s answer to that. While game streaming in the past turned out to be a non-starter, with OnLive and GameFly both shuttering their doors prematurely, maybe things are different now.

For starters, the average internet speed in the US has increased substantially since then, with the US having an average download speed of 92.93 Mbps for fixed broadband in May of 2018, according to the SpeedTest Global Index. Currently, that download average is 115.14 Mbps, well above the speeds that other game streaming services set as a minimum.

It’s a crowded market, is there room for Walmart?

While PlayStation Now is still going, streaming less graphically intensive games from PlayStation’s back catalog, there’s a whole host of other new players on the scene. Vortex, Shadow, LiquidSky, Google’s Stadia, Amazon’s unannounced service, and Microsoft’s Project xCloud are all going to be competitors to Walmart if it decides to go forward with the game streaming service. With roll-your-own offerings from GeForce Now, Parsec, and Valve’s Steam Link app, the future for game streaming looks rosy, if a little crowded.

What do you think? Should Walmart even bother? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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