Cloud gaming has taken a significant step into the present thanks to a new initiative from Japanese publisher Square Enix.
Its new portal, Core Online, allows gamers to play some its titles for free in proper HD through their web browser. It has launched with playable versions of Hitman: Blood Money, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Mini Ninjas.
It’s compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. The tech behind it is provided by Danish studio Hapti.co.
Standard features such as game saves and achievements are offered and are saved in the cloud. Furthermore, players can launch a game from any level they choose.
The service is being monetised via video advertising, which can be skipped is users purchase individual levels or entire games.
Tomb Raider: Underworld and Gyromancer will arrive on the service shortly.
"Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry," Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada stated. "Through our Core Online technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser."
Offering its back-catalogue titles in this manner is interesting, but the real test of the model will be if Square Enix chooses to offer its new console and PC releases via Core Online at the same time as they launch on consoles and PC.
It would be a brave move to offer games that on the one hand are available for £30-£40 on other platform for free via browser. It would also test the true value that consumers put on convenience, as well as their confidence in emerging cloud technologies.