According to Gamasutra, Exent has revealed its upcoming GameTanium service as a monthly subscription for the Vestel Smart Box will support mobile Android to television capabilities, allowing users to play their Android games on a television for the first time ever.
Users will be able to download as much content as they would like for their phone, television, computer, or tablet. The Android phone will work as a controller. In case the user receives a call while playing, there will be the ability to switch between phone, PC, tablet, or television and continue where the user left off.
Extent CEO Zvi Levgoren stated, “Vestel is a great partner and we look forward to working with them to bring the greatest Android mobile hits to the living room while assuring the best user entertainment experience.”
GameTanium will be demonstrated at the Vestel booth at the 2011 IBC conference held in Amsterdam from September 9 to 13.
Read the full press release here.
Analysis: Let me get this straight: Extent is offering an all-you-can-eat buffet of Android games that you can play virtually anywhere. To put it another way, it’s Netflix, but with gaming. It’s the Apple Store, except you’re not paying per game. That’s a neat idea, if only for novelty’s sake.
My main questions here are focused on how exactly it’s going to work. How many games will be available initially; and will they rotate in availability, like the system Netflix has, or will they be up there forever? Is the Android going to work well as a controller? I also wonder about cost and whether this might screw over indie developers. It may, it may not.
I also want to know what this is going to do for console gaming. I don’t know that I see old-school hardcore gamers clamoring for this, but the new set of core gamers will likely be drooling over the idea that they can play Angry Birds on their televisions. The mobile market continues to surprise us by their ability to grow and innovate, and the complaints are rising about console game companies who aren’t giving indie companies deserved spotlight and continue to pour money into creatively stagnant franchises. It will be interesting to see console companies’ responses, if they even acknowledge this idea.
I see this as something that will threaten not only console games but other mobile companies, who will likely fight for their own version of this, and probably with another box. For families that only use one type of phone, this won’t be an issue, but for those whose members have different types of smart phones, do they really expect people to buy two or three types of boxes for their televisions? Other mobile companies will have to be smart here and play their cards just right.
It’s too early to tell whether this will be revolutionary or just another gimmick, but I feel like Android may have beaten the Wii U to the punch here.