As we’ve all seen with the emergence of mobile these last few years, people just don’t want to lug around big, hulking pieces of machinery anymore. That goes for laptops, and game consoles. As kids get used to do what they want, wherever they want, cloud gaming will only become more popular, and the fight is already on to be the first one to dominate the space.
Cloud-gaming platform provider Agawi announced that it will be partnering with select developers for its Agawi Game Partner "AGP Gold" Program for Windows 8, the company announced Monday.
These games will be featured on the front page of Agawi’s Windows 8 app, when Windows 8 is launched on the 26th of this month. The games selected will be social mid-core and browser-based MMO.
In an interview with VatorNews, Agawi co-founder and executive chairman Peter Relan said that the benefits to the developer of having its game featured is that, by being given prominent space, it will help the game pick up distribution to the millions of tablets and PCs running Windows 8. It will also allow them to be seen outside the more crowded Android and iOS app stores.
Agawi will curate 30 games to begin with, and will pick three to be featured at first after seeing how they play and working with the developer. New games will be selected every couple of weeks, adding to the list.
Relan calls it, “a stamp of approval of the quality of the game” that it would be chosen above the others.
Agawi announced its partnership with Microsoft in early September, which enabled games to be available on Windows 8 devices, uilizing the Windows Azure platform for streaming from the cloud. It will be the first cloud-based game offering on the platform.
Relan explained the collaboration with Microsoft by saying that he wanted to establish a relationship with the platform early on, given that he believes it will be significant and there is great opportunity for first movers.
Menlo Park, California-based Agawi, whose name stands for “any game, anywhere, instantly,” was founded in November 2010 as iSwifer. By uploading games to the cloud, Agawi allows its customers to play its games anywhere, even if the games comes on a DVD that can’t normally be played on a tablet, or in another person’s house that doesn’t have the same console.
“Life is mobile, life is portable, but games are not,” Relan says. “Agawi removes the boundaries of time and space.”
The company has earned $15 million in revenue, without ever raising outside money. The company makes its money from licensing, a $5 price to buy its iSwifer app, which has been downloaded 3 million times.
The company currently offers social casual games, such as those on Zynga, as well as social mid-core. The company wants to branch out to P.C. mid-core games, such as Assassin’s Creed, and hardcore games, like Ghost Recon.
What sets Agawi apart from its competitors, such as Gaikai and Playcast, is that they are focused on the technology. Agawi, on the other hand, wants to be a leader in cloud gaming by working with the industry to cover all games and devices.
The other companies do not have the same clear vision as Agawi, Relan says.
Relan is also the creator YouWeb, an incubator website that focuses on founders, instead of teams and ideas. Relan takes each creator from cradle to exit. He is also the creator of Founder Quorum, a site that Relan uses to provide advice and mentorship to those he cannot work with one on one, by putting up weekly blog posts, giving advice to budding entrepreneurs, as well as answering their specific questions that they submit to him on the website.
Moves in the cloud gaming space
Agawi is not the only cloud gaming company that has recently been making moves in the increasingly popular space, as the market for gaming consoles decreases.
In July, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that it would be paying $380 million to acquire Gaikai, a cloud gaming platform service that currently delivers roughly 40 games, including the Sims and FIFA Soccer.
PlayStation creator, Sony, says that, as a result of the deal, it would be establishing its own cloud gaming service.
Gaikai has raised $45 million in venture funding since 2010, including a $30 Series C round of funding in July 2011, led by NEA, with help from Qualcomm, Benchmark Capital, Rustic Canyon, and Intel Capital.
In January 2011, Cloud gaming company Playcast Media Systems announced that it raised $10 million in Series B financing from MK Capital and JVP, with participation from existing shareholders Xenia Venture Capital and C.Mer Industries.
The future of gaming
While cloud gaming will become more popular, gaming console sales are sinking.
Earlier this month, NPD Group reported that sales of new video game hardware, software and accessories in the United States fell for the ninth straight month in August. Overall sales fell 20 percent from the year before to $515.6 million.
In addition, the hardware sector dropped 39 percent year over year to just $150.6 million, indicating a big loss in the number of consoles sold.
This may be because the last major game console to come out was the PS3 in 2006. Last month, Nintendo announced the release date for its newest console, Wii U, which will be released in the United States on November 18.
How well it does could be a real indicator of the future of the video game industry. If it sells well, it will prove that people were simply waiting for a new system to arrive. If it fails, it will be another indicator that people have moved on in how they view games.
See how Agawi works in the video below:
(Image source: http://agawi.io/)