2019 is the year of the streaming game…or at least the start of it. NVIDIA has been doing its thing with GeForce Now for a while, Google started testing Project Stream last year, and now Verizon wants in on the action.
As reported by The Verge late last week, Verizon has been “quietly testing” its own game streaming service. Interestingly enough, the company is using the NVIDIA SHIELD—arguably one of the best streaming boxes you can buy—for its internal testing. The report also suggests that the service will come to all Android devices eventually.
The service, which is uninterestingly called Verizon Gaming during the test phase, is quietly being seeded to testers, who get a SHIELD, Xbox controller, and access to the alpha. They also get a $150 Amazon gift card for testing. That’s pretty neat—playing games on good hardware is something most gamers would do for free.
What’s most intriguing about the service, however, is the current title selection. The Verge notes that games like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 are already listed on the service; the former is a PlayStation exclusive title, while the latter isn’t yet available on PC. It seems quite possible that Verizon aims to position this as a multi-platform service, which would make this the first of its kind.
That said, it’s also worth noting that these titles aren’t yet playable and could simply be placeholders for the time being. In an internal email obtained by The Verge, the team working on Gaming said the “trial is primarily focused on performance” and that they’re “working on the engine and its parts.” It’s, of course, unclear what that really means for catalog, but if the company could find a way to work with various platforms it could be a literal game changer.
The big question on a lot of users’ minds is why—as in, why would Verizon want a cloud gaming service. The answer is a simple one: 5G. This will be the next big thing for all carriers this year (but still probably not that useful until 2020), and what better what to show off the speed and low latency of this next generation network than something that would normally require only the best internet connections?
It’s unclear how much Verizon will charge for the service, if it will be available on non-Verizon devices (likely), or how users can sign up to participate in the beta.