The deal sees BT become Europe’s first distribution partner for Google’s Stadia Cloud Gaming platform

Google’s Stadia platform is aiming to revolutionise gaming by allowing consumers to stream games directly to their screens, regardless of whether those screens are laptops, desktops, TVs, or mobile phones.

As part of a new strategic partnership with BT, the UK ISP will be offering a range of Superfast Fibre Stadia gaming plans, as well as an advertising across a range of mediums.

This is not the first time BT has taken interest in a streaming video game service. They previously supported a similar project, OnLive, almost a decade ago, which ultimately failed due to numerous factors including latency, lack of suitable broadband coverage and a limited games library.

Theoretically at least, none of these issues should be a problem for Google Stadia.

“We continually look to provide our customers with the most exciting products and experiences, and by partnering with Google on Stadia, we’re able to help them push the limits of gaming,” said Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division. “We’re also investing in the UK’s fastest 4G, 5G and fibre networks, so our superfast home broadband service is the perfect accompaniment for those wanting to make the most from this innovative streaming gaming platform.”

BT seems to be increasingly interested in the videogame industry, notably signing a deal to become the exclusive lead partner of major eSports team Excel Esports last week.

Whether or not a service like Google Stadia will gain traction remains to be seen, with some suggesting that customers will simply prefer to purchase their own games.

Nonetheless, there are also those within the gaming industry that are optimistic for this new gaming medium, with game developer Tequila Works CEO Raul Rubio comparing Google Stadia’s rocky start to the early teething process of Valve’s now ubiquitous video game digital distribution service, Steam.

"It’s going to get better," Rubio said. "In fact, one day when we look back, people will wonder why people were questioning streaming at all.”

In many ways, combining cloud gaming into mobile and broadband packages is the natural progression in the relationship between gaming and telecoms industry.

 “We are likely to see a rush of partnership announcements between telecoms providers, gaming and eSports companies in the near future," explained Lior Friedman, VP, Global Partnerships and Strategy at Amdocs Media. "To differentiate these services, we can expect them to bundle gaming into new and innovative models. For example, they could create premium connectivity packages for serious gamers that would guarantee ultra-high bandwidth and low-latency connectivity. Gaming services are also likely to be bundled up with 5G mobile and home broadband packages. This will enable high-end gaming experiences on phones, similar to those you would expect to enjoy on a TV screen.”


For all the latest developments and innovations in UK connectivity, visit Connected Britain 2020 


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