PopCap Games, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA) and creator of the popular casual game “Plants vs Zombies,” has partnered with the game streaming service Antix Labs to allow for cross-platform play of its games.
The UK company recently updated its service to allow for connection to televisions, bringing the potential to host a number of PopCap’s cartoony and family-friendly titles into users’ living rooms in addition to other cloud-based mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
“With consumers already being able to share photos, music and videos with their friends and family, they also expect to be able play games on any of their connected devices, including TVs, set top boxes, tablets, smartphones, feature phones, and PCs,” the company said in a statement. “Antix provides a solution for sharing games across all of these classes of device, in the home and on the move. Using the Antix game distribution format, consumers can share games virally, challenge and play off-network as well as on-network.”
The new service will launch in the fourth quarter of 2012 with “Plants vs Zombies” leading the charge into new cloud-based gaming services for EA and PopCap.
Antix Labs CEO Francis Charig told the tech website ME that the new service "merges home and mobile devices and brings a sense of immediacy to consumers who can share and play with their friends when in close proximity.”
Evan Spytma, regional director of Australia and SE Asia for PopCap, added that "seamless gaming is a rapidly evolving consumer expectation that PopCap aspires to surpass. Leveraging the Antix Game Player enables us to construct a seamless cross-platform and immediate proximity gaming experience for millions of consumers globally."
The new deal comes after several months of bad news for EA and its casual game developer subsidiary, however. After first acquiring the company in 2011, EA put its new developer through several rounds of layoffs this past August and September, ultimately closing its Dublin studio inauspiciously and raising concerns about the studios future viability.
Other major game publishers such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) have also set their sights on the cloud to capture the mobile gaming market, however. That company announced in September that it was partnering with the cloud-streaming company Agawi to launch a new gaming service for Windows 8. With historic and acclaimed game developers Electronic Arts and Microsoft behind it, cloud gaming is fast becoming the next arms race for game industry giants to lock horns over.
Shares in Electronic arts fell during trading Thursday, closing at $12.21.