Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has officially launched Xfinity Games into beta.
Under a partnership with Electronic Arts, the cable company has begun streaming 20 video games to X1 subscribers, allowing them to play games such as Plants vs. Zombies and PGA Tour using Apple and Android smart phones and tablets as controllers.
For now, the games are free. They require no downloads or special hardware to play. Comcast is considering a range of monetization possibilities, including monthly subscription fees and a la carte pricing.
Comcast offered an explanation on how the service works.
With the offering, the MSO is looking to add value to its cloud-based X1 platform, which is perhaps the most expensive video service in the pay-TV echo system.
"We've always said the X1 platform can deliver experiences beyond movies and shows. And today, we're unveiling XFinity Games powered by EA, a new beta that showcases another dimension of the potential of X1," notes Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer, Comcast Cable, in a company blog post.
Schwartz added that Comcast is looking for casual gamers to offer feedback for the service.
"Games are streamed over the Internet to customers' X1 set-top boxes, so they are treated just like other Internet traffic, and would count under any Xfinity Internet data plans," he wrote.
While EA is the first gaming company to support the service, Comcast could well add others to the mix in the future.
To be clear though, Comcast isn't the only company looking at the intersection of TV and games. Amazon offers apps and games to its Fire TV stick users, while Google's Android TV also offers access to a selection of Android games. Though Comcast is the only cable provider to offer such a service.
While Comcast continues to work to add value to its X1 platform with the addition of games, the company is also dabbling in low cost, skinny OTT bundles that do not run on the platform. The MSO just this week announced a new video service, Stream, that delivers OTT access to major broadcast networks and HBO for $15 a month; the service runs on smartphones and computers.
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