I got an email invite to try out Xfinity Games powered by Origin. I never heard of it before that email. Turns out, Xfinity is trialing this cloud-based game service in conjunction with Electronic Arts, or more commonly known as EA, in the gaming community.
It requires a subscription to Xfinity X1 TV service, Xfinity internet connection with wifi, and an iPad 2 or newer. Your iPad running the Safari web browser is your game controller.
I registered and checked out the set up. Here’s a picture of the game selection screen:
As you can see, there are 8 games to choose from. You might also notice in the upper right corner the note: “You have 20 Credits”. The trial came with 60. Credits are used to purchase games or game sessions. I haven’t played with this enough to know exactly how that will work out. I do know you can purchase more credits with real money. I haven’t done that.
To get the games fired up, your TV needs to be turned on. With the Safari browser on your iPad, you navigate to origin.tv. The game selection screen pictured above will come up. You then select a game and your TV automatically switches to the gaming platform and shows your game is loading. Your iPad screen turns into a controller for the game.
It takes some practice to get used to the controller and how to use it for each game. They generally look the same for each game with customized tap areas for the needs of the game. Here’s a few photos of different control looks.
Here are a bunch of photos of my TV showing a few of the games:
The gameplay experience is pretty good overall even though this offering is still in the trial phase. There were a couple times when games took more than one try to load but all eventually worked, most on the first try.
There’s a learning curve to the controller associated with knowing where to touch on the screen without looking. Console gaming doesn’t have this problem since their controllers use buttons.
On possible problem with this game format is availability of games. Right now there are ten. How many will there be and what if I can’t get the ones I want? It could be a tough sell over console and PC gaming, platforms that gamers are used to. For now it’s a neat and free novelty.