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Almost Game Time for Comcast’s X1: Report

It’s been a long time since Comcast and Electronic Arts began testing a service that brings “console-quality” games to X1, the MSO’s IP-capable video platform.

The trial, originally called Xfinity Games Powered by Origin, first appeared back in the second half of 2013, enabling a select group of Comcast invitees to play games on X1 using remote controls and mobile apps to control the action. 

According to DSL Reports, the service is nearing the launch phase. Citing an unnamed source familiar with the plan, DSL reports said Comcast and EA will offer a rotating package of about 50 games for about $10 per month, adding that it will be offered as a beta to about 100,000 subs by late July, and perhaps follow with a broad commercial launch by late August.  

Comcast isn’t commenting on the report.

It’s not clear why it’s taken this long for the service to launch or if this EA offering will be delivered over-the-top or as a managed IP service, but Comcast would certainly have a much larger X1 addressable to market for it now than it did back in 2013.  

Based on the MSO’s earlier estimation that it is deploying about 20,000 X1 boxes per day, Comcast should have about 10 million deployed by now (last fall, the MSO announced it had shipped 5 million X1 boxes).

As we mentioned in 2013, Comcast’s work with EA might remind some of The Sega Channel, the long-defunct subscription service that used cable connections and a specialized adapter to download game titles to  the 16-bit Sega Genesis console. The Sega Channel, originally backed by Time Warner Cable and Tele-Communications Inc. (now part of Comcast), was shut down in 1998. 

It also takes me back to circa 2001, when U.K.-based Pace trotted out a prototype set-top box (with a 40 GB hard drive) that integrated Sega's Dreamcast console. It was ahead of its time, not to mention clunky-looking...but it ran Crazy Taxi without issue when I had a chance to give it a test drive.