Spawn Labs Streams Console Games over Internet, Lets You Play Them on PC

With the concept of playing video games remotely over an internet connection becoming more and more popular with upcoming services like Gaikai and OnLive, startup Spawn Labs expects to bring such functionality to your home consoles by November. nope The company recently unveiled the Spawn HD-720 (above), a $200 device it says can be hooked up to your Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 3, PS2, or GameCube consoles and allows them to be played remotely, such as from a laptop, over an internet connection.

The consoles themselves must be connected to the device through composite/component video and composite audio cables, along with an ethernet cable and a specialized "gamepad adapter" cable to allow input from a remote controller.

A "gamepad adapter" is required for each player. The HD-720 comes packed with one such adapter for PS3 or Xbox 360, with additional console-specific adapters at $30. A "beta feature" in the streaming software enables users to play with "just about any gamepad" thanks to the ability to map custom controls.

The video is streamed through the proprietary "Spawn Player" software, with bandwidth and hardware determining quality. Standard definition video requires "a minimum bandwidth of 500kbps per remote player" and "any reasonably modern processor."

Meanwhile, high definition 720p video requires "a minimum bandwidth of 2Mbps per remote player," with "3-5Mbps per remote player" recommended. As for the displaying hardware, the company recommends a system with a dual core processor.

"We plan to ship with an average end-to-end latency of approximately 100ms across a local area network, yielding a terrific and natural-feeling game play experience," says the company. "Playing across the Internet will typically add another 25-75ms of latency."

Along with singleplayer games, Spawn Labs notes that the hardware, which it expects to ship in November, even supports the ability to support multiple streaming players:

Multi-Player Support
With the Spawn HD-720, one or more gamers can play locally on the console and TV at home, while one or more gamers can simultaneously play remotely in the same game session from their computer over the network. Or multiple gamers can play remotely in the same game session with no local player at home with the console. Remote gamers use the Spawn Player software on their remote computer to access the console and play the game. The Spawn Player is a free download available on the Spawn Labs website. Spawn HD-720 owners may need to purchase Spawn Gamepad Adapters, depending on the number of simultaneous remote players they want to support from their console. The number of possible remote gamers is also constrained by the uplink bandwidth of your home network. You can get more information on this in our FAQ.

Remote Play vs. Watch
In addition to remote play, the Spawn HD-720 enables remote spectators, who can view your game play in real-time using the Spawn Player. When in Watch mode, the remote users cannot use a gamepad to play the game.