GameStop's steaming service is currently undergoing beta testing and slated for a 2012 launch. Now the company has detailed exactly how it plans to provide the streaming versions alongside its regular retail business.
"In terms of a service, the consumer has to have bought the game," senior GameStop VP Mike Mauler told GamesIndustry.biz. "So we're not looking at a service where you can just play games in the cloud, you would buy the game through our loyalty program and through a partnership with the publishers we would give them an opportunity to possibly - this is still something we're working out - to be able to play their game when they're not at home with their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3."
In short, GameStop would be providing streaming versions as supplements packed in with certain games. Square Enix tried a similar promotion with the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, partnering with OnLive. This led to a scuffle with GameStop, which eventually led to an apologetic letter from Square Enix.
Mauler calls it an "additional service" and a "win-win" for game companies and consumers alike. He argues it benefits developers particularly because "it doesn't require any work on the developer part to do something to the game like they do for OnLive or some of the other services."
It seems like the service will be a pack-in bonus for retail games to start with, but Mauler doesn't rule out the possibility of demos. "Clearly try-before-you-buy adds value for everybody - the consumer, the publishers, the retailer. Click a button and not have to download a demo but just begin playing the game."