Friday, 2 November 2012

Agawi Launched the GameZen Cloud Gaming App for Windows 8

Cloud gaming company Agawi released the GameZen App for Windows 8 to the Windows Store. The App brings cloud streamed games to devices running the just released Windows 8 operating system, including Windows RT devices. This follows Agawi's announcement of a collaboration with Microsoft and the launch of a Game Partner Program.

GameZen offers cloud-based streaming of action, strategy, mid-core, social, MMO and other genres of games to all Windows 8 devices, with over 1,000 games like War Commander, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Dragons of Atlantis, The Lost Island, OuternautsBattle PiratesWings of DestinyGalaxy Life, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Commander, Dragon City, Empires & Allies, Gangs of Boomtown and The Sims Social already available right at the software’s launch date. Because of Agawi’s capacity to make use of the cloud’s flexibility and third-party storage, the platform has the immense potential to continue adding games at a rapid rate and ultimately aims to stream hundreds of thousands of games to Windows 8 devices.

The GameZen App blends right in with the new Windows 8 Metro user interface designed and optimized for touch controls. No wonder that the App is built heavily around touch interactions with people able to play the games on Windows 8 PCs and tablets with native touch controls, and of course with the classic keyboard and mouse control scheme.

The technology underlying GameZen is Agawi's version 2.0 cloud gaming platform which is using Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing platform to stream games from the cloud. Agawi is being cautious. The company won’t yet target games that have massive hardware requirements and require ultra-low latency to be enjoyable, such as immersive 3D multiplayer shooters. But some of the best current action-adventure titles enjoyed best solo will definitely be among those they will announce by the end of Q4 of this year, as Agawi will partner with games publishers and developers.

“GameZen is a huge opportunity for both developers and gamers,” said Agawi co-founder and executive chairman Peter Relan.“We’re focusing on connecting Windows 8 users with their favorite games and helping them find new games they love, for a fun and accessible gaming experience. Developers also benefit from a huge new audience available to them and the Windows 8 devices that are extremely well-suited to gaming, like the Surface tablet.”

“We’ve been working for many months on this project,” Relan said to VentureBeat. “New platform launches are rare. They occur once every now and then. I say ‘new platform,’ and I don’t mean something like the iPad mini. I mean the iOS App Store. These new platforms don’t even arise annually — it’s every few years. I believe those who get there early reap all of the benefits of the early distribution and discovery.”

“The Windows Store right now is not as big — especially for the tablet — compared to the competitor’s stores. But by releasing GameZen, we’re instantly bringing thousands of games,” Relan added for VentureBeat.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for discovery. There are 700,000 apps on the iOS App Store, 275,000 just for iPads, but Windows tablets are coming out and they’re not nearly as populated as the App Stores,” Relan said for TechCrunch. “It’s really a B2B play, though the App is a B2C App. The point is to let developers bring their games to cloud gaming, which means they don’t have to port these games.”

“The financial arrangement is primarily that we will bear the costs of cloud-based streaming,” Relan added for TechCrunch. “And developers, we’re basically featuring and spotlighting so they get discovered, and we have a business model around that for making our money off of that side and covering the costs of streaming.” To help encourage developers to join, however, Agawi is currently offering promotion services at virtually no cost until the end of the year.

With Windows 8 expected to beat Windows 7 in terms of user numbers—which surpassed 670 million licenses sold—distributing games through GameZen offers developers a huge opportunity to access millions of new users. Long-tail developers especially will benefit, with no difficulty in porting games to Windows 8 via Agawi and hitting the market quickly for a huge discovery opportunity.

Speaking of Windows 8 user numbers, I wonder if OnLive will release their cloud gaming App to the Windows Store and get exposure to these forecasted user numbers. Of course that depends if Microsoft will grant the OnLive App as the two were already in the news because of OnLive Desktop Windows 7 licensing troubles and the subsequent move of OnLive Desktop to Windows Server 2008 R2. OnLive had a successful release of their App on Android, but there's still no sign of the OnLive App for Apple devices, and no information or timeframe from OnLive on when the service will be released for iOS.

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