Cloud gaming service Gaikai has signed on with Walmart.com to offer trials of Electronic Arts PC games, which can then be purchased as physical copies through the retailer's web site.
The free Gaikai-powered trials automatically appear as "Play Now" links on Walmart's Game Center page
for users that have a strong enough Internet connection.
Clicking those links starts up a version of the game running on a remote Gaikai server, with player input transmitted over the internet and game video and audio streamed back to the player's PC through the web browser.
Walmart will pay Gaikai based on the number of minutes users spend streaming the demos, according to a report from VentureBeat
. While EA titles such as Dead Space 2
and Mass Effect 2
are the only ones currently available, similar deals are reportedly in the works with 20 other publishers.
"Over the next 12 months, when people see a video game on TV and want to try it out, they can be sure the fastest way will be on Walmart’s website,” Gaikai co-founder David Perry told VentureBeat. "It’s an exciting time and you’ll see more sites around the world doing these stealth launches with us."
Earlier this month, Gaikai launched a web-based affiliate network with embedded cloud-powered game demos offered through gaming editorial site The Escapist
. The company also recently appointed industry veterans Phil Harrison and Robin Kaminsky
to its advisory board.
Earlier this month, Perry told Gamasutra he hopes to have the Gaikai service up and running on TVs in 2012
after having first launched on PCs in March