Israeli start-up to stream games to Samsung Smart TVs

Playcast’s ‘game-changing’ technology lets players download top-selling video games without the need for a console

A Samsung Smart TV (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A Samsung Smart TV (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli cloud gaming platform firm Playcast has announced a deal in which its games will be available to buyers of Samsung Smart TVs, allowing customers to play games from such top makers as Electronic Arts, Namco Bandai, Disney, Sega, Square Enix, Konami and others without the use of a console.

“With Playcast, we can provide our customers with the convenience and instant gratification of playing popular video games directly from their Samsung Smart TV,” said Young Chan Kim, vice president of Samsung Electronics. “Playcast’s technology enables Samsung to get the best out of its screen, utilizing Playcast¹s powerful cloud presence worldwide.”

Caesarea-based Playcast takes commercial games – like Sega’s Sonic Generations, the latest offspring of Sonic the Hedgehog – that are usually played on a console, and streams them to other devices, like televisions. Players will be able to interact with games using a mouse or gamepad connected to the TV’s USB port. Over 70 games suitable for younger kids, older kids and adults will be available, according to Samsung.

The games will be available beginning in the second quarter of 2015, and will be compatible with select Samsung Smart TV models. It will be initially available to viewers in Brazil, Canada, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We’re excited that the Playcast Cloud Gaming Service will soon be integrated with Samsung Smart TVs,” said Michael O’Donnell, CEO of Playcast. “Now, any consumer who purchases a Samsung Smart TV will be able to access a sizable library of AAA video games without needing to own an expensive game console. That is literally a game changer.”

In 2009, Playcast introduced its streaming game solution for TV cable boxes, and in 2013 it premiered the service for streaming TV services – like the Samsung service.

Israel has become a world center of gaming technology, according to Oded Sharon, CEO of Corbomite Games and the Adventure Mob game development firms.

“Some of the biggest games are made by companies that got their start in Israel, and over the past few years the industry here has grown significantly,” he said.

There are hundreds of gaming development firms in Israel, many of them at the top of their niches – such as TabTale, which has had its titles downloaded over half a billion times in the past five years; KidOz, which provides content for kids’ tablets and was preloaded on 1.5 million devices last year; and Funtactix, publisher of top games with movie tie-ins, like those for The Hunger Games and Mission: Impossible.

Israeli start-ups have been credited with the concept of “social gaming” — the casino-style games played by hundreds of millions of people a day on social networking sites like Facebook.

Over the past several years, Las Vegas-based gambling giants Caesar’s Interactive Entertainment (CIE), the online gambling division of Caesar’s Entertainment, and Bally Technologies, the R&D arm of the world’s biggest casino equipment maker, have been snapping up the Israeli firms that created the top titles in on-line social gaming. Also acquired this year, by Imperus Technologies of Canada, was Israeli social game maker Diwip.

Between them, Playtika, DragonPlay and Diwip consistently hold on a regular basis at least half of the top slots on Facebook’s list of most popular on-line games. Although players don’t put any bets down, social gaming is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide. In the US alone in 2012, it generated $1.9 billion in revenues, with Israeli firms acting as the engine for keeping the industry going.

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