Samsung has announced that it’s jumping into the cloud gaming arena with an offering for its Tizen smart TV platform. The news came during its Samsung Developer Conference keynote, and the company didn’t provide any more details about what games would be available, what other platforms it would be available on, if any, or when it will launch. Cloud gaming is an area that many of its big tech competitors are getting into, but it’s also an area Samsung has dabbled in before.
In the early 2010s, Samsung worked with a game streaming company called Gaikai to bring an early version of cloud gaming to its high-end TVs. The pitch was basically the same as it is these days — Samsung Cloud Gaming would let you play games with only a TV, internet connection, and controller. The system even launched in beta, but then Gaikai’s new owner decided to go in a different direction. That owner, by the way, was Sony, and the tech was eventually folded into the underwhelming PlayStation Now service.
In 2021, Samsung will face more competition than it would’ve in the early days from some big tech rivals — Google runs its Stadia service, Amazon is working on Luna, and more gaming-focused companies like Microsoft and Nvidia have their own offerings as well. Generally, though, the goal is to get game streaming services on as many platforms as possible, offering the same gaming experience on phones and TVs. On a Q&A on its website, Samsung says that its goal with its cloud gaming service is allowing “users to play the latest games on their Samsung Smart TV equipped with the Tizen platform.” To me, that reads as a pretty exclusive service, though that could change in the future.
Samsung also says that it’s working with partners on the service and that it’s using web tech to power it. Samsung didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information about the service, but we’ll update if we hear back.