The Google Stadia gaming platform might be getting competition very shortly, as a report surfaced earlier this week that indicated Walmart might be interested in pursuing a streaming service of its own. Walmart is reportedly in talks with publishers and developers to launch a video game streaming service, although the details are obscure for now.
Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world, but has recently found itself falling behind other competitors like Amazon when it comes to digital distribution and online retail spaces. With Amazon focusing on its streaming service for film and television and Netflix already existing in a similar space, Walmart's brief flirtation with the idea of video streaming were shelved quickly after the company began considering them. Now that there's a different market being created by the Google Stadia gaming platform, there may be renewed interest from the corporation as it attempts to stymie declining physical retail sales in tech spaces.
The report, which was broken by US Gamer, states that Walmart is already in discussions with various studios about launching its own game streaming service to rival the Google Stadia gaming platform. The report also notes that Walmart has had a presence at the Game Developers Conference this week, quietly meeting for discussions with industry representatives who might lend their expertise or partner with a service should it be launched by the retailer. According to those multiple anonymous sources, Walmart has been conducting similar meetings throughout 2019 leading up to GDC as well.
While it might seem strange for Walmart to attempt to enter the video game streaming space, there are at least a few reasons the retailer could be considering it. For one, the US Gamer report suggests that Walmart is likely worried about Amazon's sudden presence in the brick-and-mortar side of retail, which might drive Walmart to look for alternative supplementary markets as competition in its traditional domain begins to heat up. Walmart has already been making a concerted effort to be more accessible online with in-store pick-up integration, so it would make sense for the company to continue to push into that space. Walmart also needs to account for the dwindling sales of physical copies of video games that every physical location is experiencing, and a game streaming service might be the most logical answer.
An alternative to the Google Stadia gaming platform would likely create healthy competition in a new space, but there's also a chance it just doesn't happen. Walmart will likely be interested in waiting until E3 2019 before making any real moves, since the focus of that conference seems heavily skewed toward other companies' reactions to Google's announcement. Microsoft has already teased a big streaming-related announcement, and Google wants to start developing first-party games for Stadia. There's going to be a lot of competition already, and if Nintendo or Sony make an announcement around the same time, Walmart might be better suited to stay away. Time will tell, but it appears the game streaming market will be hotly contested as 2019 rolls on.
Source: US Gamer