Square Enix announced their first step into the cloud gaming market today, with the launch of a new browser-based portal called Core Online.
The service allows for free HD game streaming of certain Square Enix titles through the user’s web browser. The portal is live today, and has launched with playable versions of Hitman: Blood Money, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and Mini Ninjas. In addition to those titles, Square has announced that Tomb Raider: Underworld and Gyromancer will also be coming to Core Online “soon”.
All the titles on the service are free-to-play, with the option to skip the video advertising by purchasing individual levels or the entire game.
Danish-based Hapti.co is providing the streaming tech behind Core Online, which is currently it is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
“Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry,” said Yoichi Wada, Square Enix’s CEO. “Through our Core Online technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser.”
I’ve never been a huge supporter of cloud gaming services, but I like the approach that Square Enix is taking with this. If nothing else, it is a nice way to monetize their back catalog of games.
Full press release below:
TOKYO (Aug. 29, 2012) – SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. today announced a new technology service for high definition games in the browser called COREONLINE. Developed by Hapti.co studio, a wholly owned Square Enix Group subsidiary, COREONLINE allows users to easily play popular, console quality games on the web.
“Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry,” said Yoichi Wada, chief executive officer of Square Enix Holdings. “Through our COREONLINE technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser.”
Games on COREONLINE are made available via a combination of Google and Square Enix’s proprietary technology, which allows for support of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. COREONLINE is easy to use, allowing players to click on a level and start playing instantly, and giving them the ability to start from any part of the game they wish.
Aspects of the user experience such as saves and achievements are managed in the cloud, and can be accessed from the browser. In the future, COREONLINE services may be a feature of Square Enix’s global online services.
Also launched today is a new business model for COREONLINE, enabling free content supported by video advertising, similar to television advertising. Users can elect to skip advertisements by purchasing levels and entire games.
Titles available at launch include HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY, from the famed HITMAN franchise, and MINI NINJAS. LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT, the award-winning title announced in collaboration with Google at their Google IO event in June 2012, will launch at COREONLINE in October. Also under development for COREONLINE is TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD, from the famed TOMB RAIDER series, and GYROMANCER, the first title available on the service from Square Enix Japan. Further titles from Square Enix’s worldwide lineup of content are intended to be made available within the next year.
For more information on COREONLINE please visit http://www.coreonline.com