Comcast Plays Games With X1

Comcast finally launches the long-awaited beta trial of a video game service with EA that streams to the MSO's X1 IP video set-tops.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

July 15, 2015

3 Min Read
Comcast Plays Games With X1

About two years after it started exploring the idea, Comcast is finally stepping into the video-game big leagues with a new gaming service designed to boost the value of its X1 IP video platform.

In a company blog post Tuesday, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced that it's teaming up with Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS) to conduct a beta trial of its new games service. Known as Xfinity Games powered by EA, the new streaming service will initially offer up to 24 different titles to select video and broadband subscribers with X1 set-top or gateway boxes. Comcast customers can sign up for the trial at for no charge. (See Comcast Nears Gaming Launch With EA.)

Comcast, which had already been testing the service with its own and EA employees, did not say how many X1 customers will be able to participate in the beta trial. Nor did it say how long the trial would last, when or where it plans to launch the service commercially or how it will price the service. But it did say the trial will grow in size as it goes on.

"We'll continually add customers from the waiting list, as capacity grows," Sam Schwartz, chief business development for Comcast Cable, noted in his blog post. "We're looking for feedback as we test and tweak the experience and want people to play as much as they'd like so we can evaluate and improve the service."

Want to know more about the impact of web-based services on the pay-TV sector? Check out our dedicated OTT services content channel here on Light Reading.

Seeking to increase the value and stickiness of its cloud-based X1 IP video service for more customers, Comcast is streaming the HD games over the Internet to X1 boxes. Subscribers don't need to download any software or buy any extra equipment to play. Instead, they can use their smartphones or tablets as controllers for the games.

In another move to branch out, Comcast is focusing on offering titles aimed at families and casual users, not hardcore gamers. The initial set of games, for example, includes titles from EA's popular PGA and FIFA series of family-oriented sports games.

"We've always said the X1 Platform can deliver experiences beyond movies and shows," Schwartz wrote in his blog. "And we're not stopping here. We're excited about partnering with others to bring new experiences and services to the XI."

It's also notable that Comcast unveiled the Xfinity Games beta trial just one day after it announced the launches of its new multi-gigabit service, Gigabit Pro, and its new OTT video service, Stream. With many industry analysts and consumers wondering just what broadband subscribers will do with all that bandwidth in the home. With Stream and now Xfinity Games, Comcast seems to be supplying two prime answers. (See Comcast trots out Gigabit Pro… at a price and Comcast 'Stream' Joins OTT Flood.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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