CoreOnline offers cloud gaming for free without having to leave your browser.
Square Enix has announced a new browser-based game streaming service called CoreOnline. Developed in conjunction with Google, the service offers HD streamed games in exchange for watching commercials, and is compatible with Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer through a proprietary plugin.
CoreOnline streams individual levels one at a time, allowing players to choose where in the game they begin. When booting up a game, users are greeted with a prompt asking them whether they want to watch a commercial or remove ads from the game. If they opt to remove the ads, they can either pay for a game in its entirety or buy individual levels. The alternative is to watch a short commercial out of a selection, each of which grants a certain amount of free game time. There's a choice of different ads at the moment, ranging between 24 seconds and just over a minute, with players earning 20 minutes of gaming for every minute of adverts watched. It's pretty similar to most TV channels, but with a better rate of content to advertising.
Currently, only two games are available on the service. Mini Ninjas is playable in both Mac and Windows, while Hitman: Blood Money can only be played in Windows. Square Enix plans to expand its selection in the coming months with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light in October, and Tomb Raider: Underworld and Gyromancer will follow sometime in the future. The company hopes to announce other games for the service within the next year.
Only time will tell whether the microtransaction model will be able to sustain CoreOnline. The recent demise and rebirth of similar service OnLive has shown cloud gaming to be a rather unstable area in the market.