Will online distribution be the death of video game retailers like GameStop
I dismissed most of the buzz building earlier this week around OnLive, a startup that is specializing in a server-stored solution for delivering high-end gaming experiences through both computers and console-tethered televisions. However, when even this morning's Los Angeles Times is jumping on the bandwagon -- with an apocalyptic "No more stops at the video game store" headline, no less -- it's a tough story to ignore.
Digital delivery is already thriving, of course. Microsoft's
However, digital success -- for now -- has done little to rain on GameStop's parade. The retailer had blown through Wall Street's expectations for nearly two years before stumbling in its fiscal third quarter. It reports fiscal fourth-quarter results tomorrow.
Be on the lookout for a lively conference call. Analysts will likely be aiming all over. Amazon.com
Don't dismiss the threat of OnLive. It has already won over most of the leading video game publishers, like Electronic Arts
Oh, but it's not only GameStop that is likely sweating OnLive's arrival. The beauty of server-stored games is that you don't need a next-generation Xbox -- or any Xbox -- to play. Whether it's through a computer or OnLive's own MicroConsole, all a player needs is an online connection.
That is the allure of cloud computing. Companies that turn to Salesforce.com
So what's it going to be? Is OnLive going to disrupt several gaming niches in a single salvo, or will the industry wise up and kill it while it's still in the crib?
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves playing video games, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.