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Comcast, EA to Stream Games to Set Top Boxes
by Karl Bode 10:27AM Monday May 05 2014
Confirming hints from last summer, Reuters reports that Comcast and EA are working on a new joint effort to stream select, console-quality games to Comcast set top boxes. The report states that the service will arrive "soon" via Comcast's new X1 set top box after two years of joint testing of the product. Technical specifics or pricing for the new offering (including whether it impacts your usage cap) have not been disclosed, though given both Comcast and EA's struggles resonating with consumers, Sony and Microsoft executives probably won't be losing any sleep over this new effort.

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andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL

X1 doesn't use cable modem

It's hard to see if this could affect your usage cap as this sounds like it plays on the X1, which has it's own internal cable modem and is independent of regular Internet service.

I wonder if it will actually play on the X1, or if it's one of those 'remote desktop' style services.

ieolus
Support The Clecs

join:2001-06-19
Duluth, GA

7 recommendations

EA and Comcast

So the two WORST companies in their respective industries get together? Classic. This will go well.
--
"Speak for yourself "Chadmaster" - lesopp
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: EA and Comcast

Exactly my thought. EA has one of the worst reputations in the gaming industry.
mpellegrini

join:2009-02-22
Tacoma, WA
Hahaha! All your bases are belong to us!
why60loss

join:2012-09-20
Reviews:
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·Time Warner Cable
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·CenturyLink
·AT&T Wireless Br..
said by ieolus:

So the two WORST companies in their respective industries get together? Classic. This will go well.

I think valve is worse than EA. But I guess making half life 2 10 years ago gives them a free pass to have the worst, most buggy DRM on the market.

(Note: EA does suck and I don't like them at all due to C&C and sim city fails.)
--
For those who chose there own fears over liberty will only dig them self's deeper into the pit of darkness. For those who chose to blame tools over each other for wrong doing, it will only lead to madness. -Unknown

FreedomThink

@166.137.101.x

Future where you don't own anything

I just don't get why people would conform to using services that they have 0 control of the accessibility of the content. When you buy old school consoles and games in a disc format you can play the game when you insert the disc (choice of the consumer). In the new architecture that is being pushed onto consumers the content can be pulled or changed at anytime.

Lets take for example the original gta. I purchased the game before sept 11th and have the version where you can fly a plane into a building. They changed the game after sept 11th and if you buy a copy now the game has been modified to not allow you to fly a plane into a building.

I am sorry but I don't trust the content distributors to allow free flowing content that in the future won't be modified to align with this crazy politically correct world we are turning into. There are many games that they can't pull from society because of the old school method of delivering hard content.

Think about it

Mr Guy

@24.183.212.x

Re: Future where you don't own anything

said by FreedomThink :

I just don't get why people would conform to using services that they have 0 control of the accessibility of the content. When you buy old school consoles and games in a disc format you can play the game when you insert the disc (choice of the consumer). In the new architecture that is being pushed onto consumers the content can be pulled or changed at anytime.

Lets take for example the original gta. I purchased the game before sept 11th and have the version where you can fly a plane into a building. They changed the game after sept 11th and if you buy a copy now the game has been modified to not allow you to fly a plane into a building.

I am sorry but I don't trust the content distributors to allow free flowing content that in the future won't be modified to align with this crazy politically correct world we are turning into. There are many games that they can't pull from society because of the old school method of delivering hard content.

Think about it

disc format is going away. you don't own the content on Netflix doesn't stop 30 million people form subscribing. You can bet the PS5 or XBox Two( if they come to be ) will not use a disc.

ddg4005
Premium
join:2001-08-22
Bronx, NY

1 recommendation

Re: Future where you don't own anything

Discs aren't going away anytime soon. Blu-ray and DVD sales are up and that trend isn't going away.
--
A man must have a code -Bunk
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Future where you don't own anything

Are you sure? Man I haven't bought a disc in almost 5 years.

The blurring that may be going on now is "digital copies". The person buys the physical disc and attempts to watch the digital version out and about. When I say trying I mean all of the DRM crap that goes w/ it.

»bgr.com/2014/01/08/digital-movie···percent/

I personally like physical discs. You can always resell them or donate them to the library (my preference). In a digital world, it's all cash and a 0% residual value. Not a good cash outlay if the cost doesn't go down to compensate for the lack of residual value.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21
Disc format going away has nothing to do with digital content getting more DRM. There are many DRM-free games distributed through services like GOG or Humble Store.

The fact that video services are sick with DRM isn't related to disc to pure digital shift, but related to the sickness of the video industry. Gaming is getting better.

LancPAGuy

@174.59.37.x
I actually liked where Microsoft was going. I could buy a game, install it, and forget about it. Didn't have to get up and swap discs, would be available to anyone on my own console, and I could include my framily to access the game. And I could sell rights to it (though they had to be on my friend list for a set amount of time). I could log in to a friends console, and download the game to there and play it while away. It fit my lifestyle perfectly. But then everyone said how draconian it was, they couldn't sell the game on ebay or gamestop....Well, I looked at it like this, I spend 60$ for a game, play it for a month, go to gamestop and sell it back for what a $10 in store credit?!? And they then go sell it for 40$ None of that goes to the studio that produced the game. The only thing I didn't like about it was the always on internet connection. They could have taken a more liberal track on it, like check in once a month or something like that, but no, it was always on. Both consoles require the game to be installed on the hard drive. And honestly, I love that I can quickly switch games without swapping disks in the drive. If I'm waiting for a match, I can play another game, and when the match is ready, just switch to it.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
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Re: Future where you don't own anything

said by LancPAGuy :

Both consoles require the game to be installed on the hard drive. And honestly, I love that I can quickly switch games without swapping disks in the drive.

The fact that the game is supplied on a physical disc doesn't prevent the game from being run without the disc once it's been installed to the hard drive. If you can't run the game without putting the disc in the drive, even after it's been installed, that's the fault of the game company, not the medium it's delivered on.

With the way gaming is headed, not only do you not have a physical copy to keep for the future, companies will be able to kill your games if you do anything they don't like. A couple years ago, Valve said one of their subscribers was trying to sell his Steam account, which is apparently a big no-no, so they deactivated his account, which basically bricked all of the Steam-crippled games that were tied to that account. They eventually reversed their decision and turned his account back on, but it should freak people out that a company can just instantly kill all the games that you supposedly "bought".

What if at some point in the future, Microsoft decides that you need to pay a monthly fee to keep your games working? Or what if they decided to charge people a set fee each time they played a game, or the charge was based on how long they played it for?

If you could back the files up and re-install them at will with no restrictions, I'd be all in favor of digital distribution, but not when it comes with heavy DRM and a built-in killswitch.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Future where you don't own anything

That depends on whom you talk to. Others are headed in DRM free direction. The growth of crowdfunding usage in the gaming industry affects the situation, and more games are released DRM-free. I personally think that it's all heading towards DRM dying out in games.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
Also, the way they are doing this, they don't have to worry about what happens after their copyright runs out. People won't be able to use their product after a period of time because it's locked. Terrible idea that goes against Copyright.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
"I just don't get why people would conform to using services that they have 0 control of the accessibility of the content. "

Because most people:

A. Don't know any better.
B. Don't care.
C. Are just fine with it.
D. All the above.
--
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Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
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Re: Future where you don't own anything

said by battleop:

Because most people:

A. Don't know any better.
B. Don't care.
C. Are just fine with it.
D. All the above.

In other words, most people are dumb.

I'm sorry, but there's no other way to describe this.

Imagine how many movies, TV shows, songs, books, etc. would now be unavailable if they were all distributed in this manner. As soon as something was no longer popular, they'd drop it in favor of something new.

Just look at how many online-only games are no longer around. Aliens Online, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies...

In the future, you'll still be able to play games that are 30+ years old, but you probably won't be able to play anything that's 10 years old, because it will no longer be offered on the streaming service.

It's all part of the push to ensure that consumers don't actually own anything.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Future where you don't own anything

I think gaming is actually in good shape. The trend goes in the opposite direction (which is natural). I.e. DRM dying out.

Flwpwr

@162.150.134.x
Yes but this is going away no matter if you resist or not. it's only a mater of time. Microsoft was going to push out the xbox one in a similar way until Sony saw a chance to grab a huge chunk of their market by counter acting them, but eventually developers will tire of pirating and go to the security they are offered by shutting out your freedom. With cable's video subscribers on the way out, it is only a matter of time before it catches up to comcast too. Video games is a natural step in the entertainment industry. The only certain thing in a world of ever changingness, is it will not benefit you unless your the one in power making the changes.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Future where you don't own anything

Well they can kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and go this route, but I don't think they will completely as people will not go along with it en masse.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL
you don't own anything as it is. You don't own that computer game when you buy it either. You just have a license to use it.
--
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jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Future where you don't own anything

That's what they want you to accept,but whatever.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Future where you don't own anything

um. that's what the courts say. so yeah. I'll accept it. Why would I own something that I never created?
--
A sane approach to our federal budget: Ignore the tea party
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

1 edit

Re: Future where you don't own anything

Really, that's what the courts say, or that's what content companies are doing to rig their content so that people can not fairly use a product that they purchased? ...because when you buy a DVD and then you want to sell the DVD or play the DVD on your mother's DVD player. ...or do whatever you'd like with it, it's called fair use; and that's how it worked with VHS tape and with software until recently with all the DRM crap. So, that's what the courts say? I wonder what Congress says?

»w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php

2. How does Fair Use fit with Copyright Law?

Copyright law embodies a bargain: Congress gave copyright holders a set of six exclusive rights for a limited time period, and gave to the public all remaining rights in creative works. The goals of the bargain are to give copyright holders an economic incentive to create works that ultimately benefit society as a whole, and by doing so, to promote the progress of science and learning in society. Congress never intended Copyright law to give copyright holders complete control of their works. The bargain also ensures that created works move into "the public domain" and are available for unlimited use by the public when the time period finishes. In addition, as part of the public's side of this bargain, U.S. Copyright law recognizes the doctrine of "fair use" as a limitation on copyright holders' exclusive right of reproduction of their works during the initial protected time period.

The public's right to make fair use of copyrighted works is a long-established and integral part of US copyright law. Courts have used fair use as the means of balancing the competing principles underlying copyright law since 1841. Fair use also reconciles a tension that would otherwise exist between copyright law and the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has described fair use as "the guarantee of breathing space for new expression within the confines of Copyright law".

4. What's been recognized as fair use?

Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

In addition, in 1984 the Supreme Court held that time-shifting (for example, private, non-commercial home taping of television programs with a VCR to permit later viewing) is fair use. (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984, S.C.)

Although the legal basis is not completely settled, many lawyers believe that the following (and many other uses) are also fair uses:

Space-shifting or format-shifting - that is, taking content you own in one format and putting it into another format, for personal, non-commercial use. For instance, "ripping" an audio CD (that is, making an MP3-format version of an audio CD that you already own) is considered fair use by many lawyers, based on the 1984 Betamax decision and the 1999 Rio MP3 player decision (RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999.)
Making a personal back-up copy of content you own - for instance, burning a copy of an audio CD you own.

Now there was the 2009 ruling where district court concluded that RealNetworks violated the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA when the DVD copying software RealDVD bypasses the copy protection technologies of DVD. I also know about the 2007 California Superior Court case against Kaleidescape, a manufacturer of high-end media servers capable of copying copyrighted DVD content to the servers. These cases are about bypassing the DRM, but the 2007 case was "an important recent test of fair use precedent, since it circles the question of whether a consumer who has legally purchased a DVD can copy or backup that DVD to whatever end the consumer desires."

This is not a cut and dry issue!

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL
Reviews:
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Re: Future where you don't own anything

Content creators have a right to protect their property. DRM is the only solution. Don't like the DRM? Don't buy their product. I don't see the problem. If enough people don't like their product, they will stop using that DRM.

do you believe everything EFF tells you?
--
A sane approach to our federal budget: Ignore the tea party
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Future where you don't own anything

"One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of "fair use." The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law."

I don't believe everything anyone tells me. I always do research.

I know I cited the U.S. Copyright Office. Are you going to ask me if I believe everything the Copyright Office says, right? lulz...
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
Excellent points I've been worried about for a decade. Put on a fight and don't listen to those who will try to argue against your idea of ownership and fair use.

biotech

@66.249.113.x

Gaming technology in a set top box?

NEVER going to happen.

First off, Comcast and EA would make proprietary soft/hard ware to the "special" box that would make consumers confused on how to operate it (game controllers etc.). Imagine if both Comcast and EA were to abandon their approach of 'streaming' games. Wouldn't the 'special' box be considered as E-Waste?

Second, If they rebutted my first opinion, they would pick either a cheap/expensive GPU and charge consumers more for what they get(assume that leasing this 'special' box is $20 for services.). The quality of the graphics might not be the best!

Third, who the hell would do that(use the new service) if one already has a game console? It's a ripoff. I mean, the speed might be degraded and that 'streaming the games' can be used against you if Comcast rolls out data tiers throughout the country.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Gaming technology in a set top box?

Keep in mind the target audience. The latest incarnations of consoles are north of $400 or $500. That is no longer for the occasional gamer. MSFT has made it painful to keep an XB360 so I cancelled my service, and they can screw.

Now my kids are perfectly happy with apps on their istuff. Consoles are vanquished from my house. tablets are taking over for the casual gamer (read 90%). A 2014 istuff/android is a perfectly capable gaming platform for the masses, and it's portable.

Now for the casual user, are people going to drop $500 for 3 XB1 throughout the house for different TV's? No.

The Comcast platform allows them to go after the casual gamer, and with rendering farms all GPU processing is done in a farm.

EA is trying to stop from dying, because as console gaming moves to the cloud they need to keep up w/ the Jones.

The XB1/PS4 are probably the last consoles to exist. In the future you will have everything rendered in the cloud. Once that happens tablets will become even more useful and in need of less power.

As to controllers, the casual gamer probably doesn't care too much. they can make it sony or msft-like and everyone will be happy. Make them wireless and go in between Comcast consoles and you have a winner.

This will most assuredly not go against caps. They will treat it like VoD on their own channel. "Net neutrality" is already dead. Does Comcast phone count against caps? No but my Anveo VOIP would... Does Netflix count against caps? Yes, does VoD, NO

Lets not sling the bullshit. Neutrality is a theory, nothing more. It's going to erode away over time. Not saying that's right but if telcos are not treated as a utility, then it is inevitable.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Gaming technology in a set top box?

said by elefante72:

tablets are taking over for the casual gamer (read 90%). A 2014 istuff/android is a perfectly capable gaming platform for the masses, and it's portable.

I don't own a tablet and I've only used my friend's Android tablet a few times, but I didn't like it at all. He had some emulators on it and most of them don't let you configure the controls at all. You plug in a controller and either it works or it doesn't. If it doesn't work, there's not much you can do about it. He showed me a couple native Android games, which used the touch screen. Of course you can't be too precise when moving your finger over a 7" screen so it was hard to control them. Gaming on tablets just seems so primitive compared to a computer, or even a console.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
»www.zdnet.com/dropping-tablet-sa···0029044/

Tablet sales are down, and I don't play hard core games on my tablets, I play non-action games on them. I still use my PC and consoles for real gaming.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
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I totally agree, but if it sucks, customers won't subscribe. The free market can decide its fate.

Today's dirt-cheap GPUs ought to be able to handle Xbox 360-quality graphics (XB360 is, after all, 9 years old!). They probably put a reasonable GPU/CPU/Ram in the X1 just to render the UI in a performant manner.

Nameless

join:2014-02-25
Austin, TX
I already consider anything put together by Comcast and EA to be "E-waste". Or actually more like "EA-waste".
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
$20 a mo.

sounds like sega channel same price as cinemax without the sex.
mpellegrini

join:2009-02-22
Tacoma, WA

1 recommendation

This is another example of discriminatory treatment

It's all data moving through Comcrap's pipes. It should ALL be treated the same and all count towards the caps.

If EA gets a free pass from caps because they partner with Comcrap, that's exactly the same scenario as what is proposed in the new FCC rules. It's the Fast Lane for EA.

EVERYONE must be treated the same. No exceptions.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: This is another example of discriminatory treatment

said by mpellegrini:

It's all data moving through Comcrap's pipes. It should ALL be treated the same and all count towards the caps.

Just like all of the Comcast TV you watch and digital calls you place via Comcast's voice service? If it's separate from the channels used to provide your access to the Internet, then why should it all count the same?

LancPAGuy

@174.59.37.x

Re: This is another example of discriminatory treatment

For now, all internet services come down on the same QAM. I suspect it differentiates over the port it comes through on. If the FCC gets draconian on Net Neutrality or even go the common carrier route (which I doubt will happen), I suspect the cable companies will clear up specific channels for proprietary services to allow them to compete.

bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
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united state
kudos:2

Dun Dun Dun Dun Dadun Dun Dadun

Why did the Star Wars Imperial March just get stuck in my head?
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suggy2004

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Conshohocken, PA
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2013 Golden Poo Award winner Joins with 2014 golden poo award winner....

The biggest Poo in the world.

»consumerist.com/2013/04/09/ea-ma···n-a-row/

»consumerist.com/2014/04/08/congr···america/

mbernste
Boosted
Premium,MVM
join:2001-06-30
Piscataway, NJ

What is old is new again

This reminds of PlayCable. I remember when that was a big deal. The offering only lasted two years, despite its technical advancement.

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