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Comcast Looks to Join Forces With EA to Stream Games, Sources Say

comcast-eaComcast may soon allow customers using its cloud-connected X1 cable box system to buy games from Electronic Arts through its televisions, according to five sources briefed on the plans.

Such a partnership would come as the cable company seeks to protect its turf against a new wave of challengers.

After two years of testing, Comcast and EA are close to reaching an agreement to stream video games, such as “FIFA” and “Madden,” into the living rooms of some of Comcast’s more than 22 million customers across the United States, said the sources who declined to speak publicly before a deal had been struck.

Comcast would make the games available on X1, a video-operating system with apps and an interface that is considered the most sophisticated in the cable industry, the sources said. It features Internet applications, viewing recommendations and voice control.

If the agreement goes through, it would mark the boldest step yet by a cable company to muscle into the territory of leading video-game console manufacturers such as Sony and Microsoft.

Comcast has been beefing its x1 system with new features to stop potential customer defections to rival video-streaming systems such as Apple TV and Amazon.com’s FireTV, which was launched just last month with a slew of games.

Apple TV allows users to stream games from its iOS phones and tablets to TV sets, and developers expect Apple to bring gaming directly to its streaming box. FireTV was released with more than 100 free and paid games from the likes of Disney and Electronic Arts.

Comcast and EA’s aim is to make buying games as easy as ordering a pay-per-view movie, sources said. This could create a new distribution model that circumvents console and video-streaming device makers.

EA and Comcast, which is awaiting regulatory approval for its $45 billion proposal to buy Time Warner Cable, declined to comment.

source: reuters.com

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