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Walmart may develop its own game streaming service, because why not

March 21st, 2019 at 4:41 PM
Walmart game streaming

Days after Google unveiled its Stadia game streaming platform, and with other tech giants like Microsoft keen on streaming as the future of gaming, the biggest retailer in the world apparently wants to play, too.

Walmart is reportedly in talks with developers and publishers to launch a game streaming service of its own, according to a report from US Gamer. The caveat, of course, is that these are still just talks for now, and that it’s not clear how far along Walmart’s plans are — or if anything will even come of them.

However, it is worth noting that the retailer has been quietly talking to industry representatives about this at the Game Developers Conference this week. Moreover, lest anyone think this is a bizarre move on Walmart’s part, there is actually precedence for the retailer at least considering something like this.

As US Gamer notes, Walmart’s thinking here is no doubt informed by Amazon’s incursion into its bricks-and-mortar territory, leading Walmart to want to consider alternative market possibilities outside of its traditional domain of physical retail. That explains Walmart’s more robust online presence these days, as well as its in-store pick-up offering and app integrations.

Moreover, Walmart has a skunkworks outpost in Silicon Valley — Walmart Labs, which employs several thousand workers. And speaking of streaming, Walmart also briefly considered launching a Netflix-style service to stream videos, perhaps hoping to offset the decline in customers buying physical DVDs at the retailer’s stores. Those plans were shelved, but it’s not hard to see how the company gets from there to the point of also considering a game streaming service.

Still, from Walmart’s perspective it might be prudent to wait and see how things shake out over the rest of this year, with Microsoft planning to “go big” at E3 as we noted here, and Google planning first-party exclusive games for its service, among myriad related news. Sony and Nintendo are also making tons of their own moves, and consoles aren’t exactly going to disappear overnight, either.

All that said, competition is certainly heating up in this space, and Walmart will definitely have its work cut out for it should the retailer decide to move forward.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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