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Walmart explored offering cloud-based gaming service

Not content with retail sales supremacy, Walmart had ambitions to launch a cloud-based gaming service, according to Apple vs. Epic Games court documents.

While all eyes are on the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, some interesting tidbits of information have come to light thanks to internal company documents being made publicly available as part of the legal process. One such nugget of interest is that retail giant Walmart was developing its own cloud-based gaming service and had a working prototype application sometime in 2019.

In an email thread dated around April 2019, Epic Games’ Mark Rein shared enthusiasm for an early version of Walmart’s gaming service with other Epic staffers. “I played Walmart’s demo on an Android phone (with an Xbox controller) and the experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS. They’re going to sell the clip for a crazy low amount, they were saying something like $2.” 

A court exhibit from Apple vs. Epic Games shows a rough mockup of Walmart's cloud gaming user interface.
A court exhibit from Apple vs. Epic Games shows a rough mockup of Walmart’s cloud gaming user interface.

That email thread also had some images attached that depicted mockups of Walmart’s gaming service interface. At one point, a public beta was scheduled to run in July of 2019 but did not come to pass. The back end of the service would havepresumably run on LiquidSky technology. LiquidSky was acquired by Walmart back in 2018 after originally pitching its own cloud gaming service at CES 2017.

Ultimately, Epic Games partnered with NVIDIA to launch Fortnite on the GeForce Now platform, and many of the companies who were rumored to be working with Walmart ultimately made deals with Google Stadia and other similar platforms. The GeForce Now service is currently the only way to access Fortnite via an iOS device while Apple and Epic Games duke it out in court.

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin’ tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don’t @ him.

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