We have written, on this website, quite extensively about cloud gaming and its potential to transform the space dominated by physical hardware. Many tech giants, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, have their own version of a cloud gaming platform. Interestingly, it turns out Walmart also has plans for something very similar. According to a report from The Verge, documents from the court trial between Epic Games and Apple reveal a very early concept of Walmart’s own Cloud Gaming Platform.
This news shouldn’t surprise anyone, given Walmart acquired a company called LiquidSky in 2018. So LiquidSky, back in 2014, was one of the first companies to test out the whole Cloud Gaming thing and provide something significantly better than what was available back then. They officially released in 2017, but sadly, by December 2018, LiquidSky was shut and later acquired. Cloud Gaming is immensely capital intensive, so monetization remains a challenge for these smaller companies. This is why the Walmart acquisition makes sense, given the platform was solid coming from such a small team.
Verge’s article also has this email transcript from Epic Games co-founder Mark Rein. In the email, Mark seems very excited about Walmart’s implementation, even going as far as saying, “The experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS“.
The court documents also had Walmart’s presentation of its upcoming Cloud platform. Interestingly it seems very similar to GeForce Now, where users can choose to play from their existing libraries on other platforms like Steam, Epic, and Origin. There’s mention of a buy and subscribe model too.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will see the platform launch this year, if at all. The Cloud Gaming space has become very competitive. Even veterans of the space struggle to monetize their platforms meaningfully; it won’t be surprising if Walmart decides to rethink such a venture.