Speaking at The Esports Conference in Sydney in July, a Telstra spokesperson indicated the company is actively investigating the cloud gaming space.
As originally reported by Kotaku Australia, the revelation came during the event's international keynote 'Esports in the Future – New Business Models and Technology Innovation.'
During this discussion, Anna Lockwood, Head of Market Development for Telstra Broadcast Services, mentioned that had been working with Microsoft and Ubisoft on trials in the cloud gaming space.
The existence of a trial third partner was also mentioned but left unidentified.
In addition to limiting the ability of Australia consumer to access high-bandwidth services like 4K video streaming and preventing Australian esports player to compete online internationally, the latency of Australian internet connections has long been a barrier to the local availability of game streaming services like Playstation Now and GeForce Now.
Overseas, these platforms have been available for a number of years. Essentially, the idea is that rather than invest in your own PC or console for gaming, users pay a monthly subscription fee for access to gaming experiences powered by hardware located in the cloud.
This allows hardware intensive experiences to be easily run on low-spec PCs that aren't designed for gaming. In the case of Sony's Playstation Now, it also enables seamless backwards compatibility to software previously restricted to older generations of hardware. Playstation Now supports game streaming of PS2, PS3 and PS4-era content
Unfortunately, the need for ultra low-latency network connections has resulted in many of these services not being brought to Australian customers. Within that context, the revelation that Telstra is actively investigating cloud gaming poses some interesting questions.
In response to queries from Kotaku Australia about the project, Telstra issued the following statement.
"Cloud gaming is gaining increasing attention, such as at last month’s E3 conference, and relates to the industry trend around “edge computing” where infrastructure is located closer to customers and achieves lower network latencies."
"At Telstra Labs, we have been investigating what this industry trend means for Telstra, and are excited about the possibilities it may present for our customers. We look forward to providing more details in due course."
A Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku that "we have nothing to share at this time".
PC World has reached out to Ubisoft Australia for comment.
By Fergus Halliday, PC World Australia