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The Epic Games vs Apple antitrust trial started on Monday, and a bunch of internal documents that the companies probably didn’t want to be leaked online have been made public. It’s not just Epic and Apple’s private info being revealed, however. Confidential emails found amongst the court documents detail Walmart’s plans for their cloud gaming service, Project Storm, which they pitched to Epic back in 2019.
“I played Walmart’s demo on an Android phone (with an Xbox controller) and the experience felt like playing on a PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS,” reads an email sent by Epic Games co-founder Mark Rein. “They also moved it over to a laptop in real-time (video stream hopped from phone to laptop instantly) and I played it there too. Again, it was VASTLY superior to playing it on my daughter’s Surface Pro laptop (the most expensive version no less!) or the crappy business laptop they brought.”
It sounds similar to French start-up Blade’s Shadow service, which could jump between devices as you played (unfortunatley, they recently filed for bankruptcy).
In a presentation attached to the emails, Walmart details why they’re “uniquely positioned to win” and why their customers are asking for cloud services. It’s mostly marketing buzzwords to pitch the service, but it does reveal Walmart had plans to release Project Storm in beta in July 2019 (just a few months after USGamer first broke the news that Walmart were exploring cloud gaming).
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Walmart had also planned to run the service on Windows through game launchers like Steam, the Epic Games Store, Battle.net, Uplay, Origin and Bethesda’s launcher. It never made it that far though, and the rest of Project Storm’s lifecycle was all “to be decided”.
It’s not clear what’s happening with Project Storm now. According to The Verge, publishers and developers had signed up to make or host games for it, but the launch was put on hold due to the pandemic.
If you’d like to see the rest of the public Epic vs Apple trial documents, you can find them here. We’ve already learned from the court case that Epic Games spent nearly $12 million giving away free games in their first nine months, and Fortnite made over $9 billion in its first two years.
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