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GameStop is the world’s biggest game retailer, with more than 6,000 physical stores around the world. But the company is preparing for the age of digital distribution by testing its own online game streaming service.
After all, the company doesn’t want to be “Netflixed” the way that Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video were in movie rentals. To prevent being disrupted by online game distributors, it’s disrupting itself with its own streaming service, scheduled for a full rollout in 2012.
GameStop acquired streaming firm Spawn Labs earlier this year in an effort to jumpstart a cloud gaming business to compete with rivals such as OnLive, Valve’s Steam, and the recently announced Electronic Arts’ Origin game distribution technology.
GameStop President Tony Bartel told GameIndustry.biz that GameStop will be able to stream content to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles in addition to the PC, and possibly smart TVs as well. The closed beta will be opened to a national beta sometime before the end of the year. The members of GameStop’s loyalty program, PowerUp Rewards, will get access to the Spawn client.
The Spawn system won’t require game publishers to modify their games.