Sunday, 21 October 2012

French Telecom Company Orange Launched the Orange TV Cloud Gaming Service Powered by G-cluster Technology

Orange, the French multinational telecommunications corporation that represents the flagship brand of the France Telecom group, launched the Orange TV cloud gaming service for their Orange TV IPTV customers in France on October 11th. In the near future they also plan to launch their cloud gaming service on PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

The Orange TV cloud gaming service is powered by cloud gaming technology provided by G-cluster, which has recently made news with their G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console that will launch in Japan in the Spring of 2013. G-cluster is already well-established in France as they have launched a cloud caming service for customers of the French carrier SFR, they have in the past also partnered with France-based games publisher Ubisoft and more recently with DisneyG-cluster also has plans for an expansion to OnLive's home turf the US.

This innovative cloud gaming solution provides many benefits for the end user: simplicity of access and use, attractive prices, and a diversified and wide catalogue of games. As with video on demand, the end user can access games directly and quickly without the need to download content or purchase any new physical devices. To play, users just have to use the remote controller or a gamepad, with the option to use the wireless gamepad from Orange or any other USB gamepad. The end user can play alone, with other players in the same room or remotely with other Orange TV customers who have subscribed to the Orange TV cloud gaming service.

The Orange wireless controller looks like a cheaper version of the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller which in itself closely resembles the Xbox 360 controller, except for the placement of the left analog stick, which is positioned similarly to that of the PS3 controller. And since Orange is, well... orange, the color palette of Orange's gamepad also follows the black and orange color palette of OnLive's gamepad, albeit again looking cheaper. The Orange wireless controller is a 2.4 GHz wireless device, comes with an USB dongle, has more than 40 hours of battery life, also supports the PC and even the PlayStation 3. The Orange wireless controller is priced at €28, but Orange is running a -50% promotion where you can get it for €14.

The Orange TV cloud gaming service has launched with a catalogue of about 100 games. They are going with an OnLive PlayPack like business plan, though they are also open to offering games a la carte. End users are able to enjoy a diversified catalogue of games thanks to unlimited and no-commitment monthly subscription packs, or they have 2-day or 1-week rental offers. A free 10 minutes try-before-you-buy offer is available for all the games in the catalogue. Here's what the Orange TV cloud gaming service currently offers:
  • Discovery Pass - €5/month (€2.5/month without commitment for the first 2 months -50% promotion) for unlimited access to 50 top casual games.
  • Premium Pass - €10/month (€5/month without commitment for the first 2 months -50% promotion) for access to premium console games on top of the entire catalogue of casual games.
  • Rentals - 2-day or weekly rentals of games at affordable prices with a promotion for a 1-day free rental of Rabbids Go Home.
Comparing the whole games library of the Orange TV cloud gaming service with OnLive's games catalog, and in particular comparing the Orange TV cloud gaming service premium pass with the OnLive PlayPack, is like comparing apples and oranges, with OnLive of course being Apple in this comparison. Of course one has to remember that OnLive launched with only 17 games more than 2 years ago and is now at around 350 games, and the Orange TV cloud gaming service is already starting with around 100 games and has the backing of a multinational giant with Orange.

The Orange TV cloud gaming service is providing a fun and entertaining experience to all the household members. Together with G-cluster they have partnered with high-end games publishers like Ubisoft, Disney Interactive Studios and Frozenbyte, and casual games publishers like Playrix, MumboJumbo and Alawar. Customers can play games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 and Beyond Good & Evil from Ubisoft, Toy Story 3 from Disney Interactive Studios, and Trine 2 from Frozenbyte. Since Ubisoft is partnered with OnLive, games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 are already a part of the OnLive cloud gaming service.

Erik Piehl, president of G-cluster Global said, "G-cluster is very happy to provide its white-label cloud gaming service to Orange, the largest IPTV provider in Europe. This further expands G-cluster's lead as the largest scale TV cloud gaming provider."

Jean-Francois Rodriguez, VP of Games and social media at Orange added, “Orange and G-Cluster have built a strong partnership to offer a new gaming experience by leveraging on the Orange high speed broadband network and G-Cluster cloud gaming technology. After Video on Demand, streaming music, Orange customers will now enjoy a games on demand service.”

G-cluster provides a white-label cloud-based video gaming service using its patented G-cluster technology - the first of its kind to be operational on a large scale. The technology allows interactive content requiring low latency, such as high-end video games and full-length DVD films, to be distributed to a wide range of devices. G-cluster has partnerships with more than 30 game studios and more than 90 games are commercially live today on its platform.

Since G-cluster has partnered with NVIDIA, the data centers running the games in the cloud for the Orange TV cloud gaming service will most likely in the near future be powered by NVIDIA's Geforce GRID cloud gaming technology that includes the GeForce GRID GPUs and the GPU virtualization hypervisor, as NVIDIA's cloud gaming products have just a month ago started sampling to cloud gaming partners. Other hardware that is in use in G-cluster's data centers has yet to be revealed.

The launch of the Orange cloud gaming service reinforces G-cluster's position as the leading cloud gaming platform in Continental Europe.

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