Verizon Is Testing a Game Streaming Service, Report Says

January 22, 2019, 5:55 PM UTC

Add Verizon to the growing number of companies that want to create a streaming video game service.

The telecom giant is testing Verizon Gaming on select nVidia Shield set-top boxes, reports The Verge, and plans to bring the service to Android smartphones as well.

The test appears to be in the very early stages (game saves, for instance, are not enabled) and a wider rollout is still far in the distance, should the company decide to expand the program at all. (Verizon did not immediately reply to Fortune‘s request for comment about the program.) The initial run of the test is said to be ending at the end of the month.

Verizon joins a growing number of companies that are looking at cloud streaming of video games, which brings a Netflix-like model to the industry. Google and Amazon are both working on streaming solutions, which would compete with an existing model run by Sony and a forthcoming one from Microsoft.

Many industry insiders, including the CEO of Electronic Arts, are lauding the technology as the future of the industry.

The concept of game streaming is pretty simple. Games live on a cloud server and players access them from pretty much any device with a screen. Within seconds of selecting a title, they’re in the game—and they can stop playing on one device and pick up the game on another in exactly the same place they hit pause.

The basic technology has existed for a while, but it was unrefined and didn’t always offer a premium play experience. (A slight lag in streaming can result in a quick death in many games.) Broadband speeds have been unreliable too. But advances (and ongoing refinement) in the tech and the upcoming spread of 5G cellular technology have advocates convinced that issue is nearly resolved.

It’s the 5G element that could be what’s attractive to Verizon. The company is making a big push for the faster cellular technology and a game streaming service could be a big draw for the carrier.

Verizon doesn’t have many ties to the video game industry, though. And it could be looking to partner with someone. Screenshots of Verizon Gaming’s titles include PlayStation 4 exclusives including God of War and Detroit: Become Human. Those titles, though, could be mere placeholders, as EA’s Anthem is also shown and that game won’t be out for another month.

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