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Cloud gaming finally coming to South Korea (exclusive)

Playcast Media Systems has struck a deal with cable TV operator CJ Hellovision to launch a cloud gaming service in South Korea.

The deal shows that cloud gaming continues to advance around the world, and it represents the first real cloud service in South Korea, which is an online gaming mecca. Under the deal, the companies plan to stream console-quality triple-A games to existing set-top boxes in homes for a fee. It’s as simple as “zapping a TV channel into a home.”

Like rivals OnLive and Gaikai, Playcast streams games without the need for a game console or PC. It runs the games on servers in its web-connected data centers and then streams 720p video to a set-top box. You play the game using a game controller hooked up to the set-top box. The box then sends the commands from the controllers back to the servers.

Playcast was founded in 2007 and it has raised $12.5 million from MK Capital, JVP, Xenia Venture Capital, and C.Mer Industries. Playcast has 40 employees. Pricing and the exact number of titles available hasn’t been disclosed. But Playcast Media chief executive Guy de Beer said it will cost less than $10 per month to subscribe to Playcast. Rivals include OnLive and Gaikai as well as G-cluster, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank. Sony recently acquired Gaikai for $380 million.

Israel-based Playcast has also recently cut deals with operators in France, and it could be in more than 10 million homes soon. CJ Hellovision has 3.51 million subscribers and is a subsidiary of CJ Corp. Playcast’s goal is to set itself apart by offering console games, as game consoles are just a fraction of the market South Korea, which is home to 20,000 Internet cafes with PCs.

CJ Hellovision said, “We are very proud to offer the cloud gaming service with such high-quality games to our subscribers. With our strength across both cable and over the top services, and Koreans insatiable appetite for video games, we are looking forward to make a historical shift in the marketplace.”

De Beer said, “Korea is a gaming nation – one of the largest consumers of video games in the world. Yet as in most of Asia, consoles are practically nonexistent.” De Beer add, “Our service leaps beyond legacy consoles, and straight into cloud gaming. The best gaming content becomes available to millions of Koreans within a click on the TV remote control.”

[Image credit: Playcast/CJ Hellovision]


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