Japan's first cloud-based game console to cost US$5 per month

Broadmedia will launch the country's first cloud-based gaming service, ahead of new consoles from Sony and Microsoft

A Japanese streaming content provider will launch the country's first cloud-based gaming console, a small modem-like device that plugs into a TV and offers subscription access to titles from US$5 per month.

Broadmedia, a Tokyo-based company that offers streaming movie and TV channels as well as hosting services, said its "G-cluster" service will go live June 20. The service will launch with dozens of games that are streamed to the console over a wireless Internet connection.

Sony has announced that the upcoming PlayStation 4 will support streaming games, and has also said that it plans to stream PlayStation titles to third-party devices in the future. While services like "G-cluster" are unlikely to challenge companies like Sony anytime soon, they offer a cheap alternative to the existing console and game business, similar to what services like Hulu provide for streaming video content.

Gamers can use their existing third-party controllers, purchase one from the company, or download a controller app on their smartphone or Android device to play. Registration using a credit card for payment is required, but it can also be done using a smartphone or tablet.

All processing and hosting of the games will occur on Broadmedia's servers, which will stream the resulting audio and video to its consoles. Game data such as levels and characters will also be saved online.

Titles at launch will consist of mainly puzzle and adventure games, supplemented with some branded titles such as Lego Harry Potter. A ¥500 (US$5) monthly subscription will provide access to a set of the titles, with others requiring a one time fee of up to ¥2,940 for a year of access.

The G-cluster console, which connects to TVs using an HDMI plug, will be sold for ¥9,980 (US$100) or ¥13,800 with a controller.

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