Even though its founder pledged to avoid online gaming because his son developed an online game addiction, Alibaba has now launched its own cloud gaming platform.
Cloud gaming at Alibaba aims to merge game interaction and data operation on cloud servers and transmit the real-time pictures back to the TV screens of users. With this new service, users will be able to play games via Internet TV and high-speed broadband without downloading games.
For the initial stage, Alibaba's cloud gaming platform reached a deal with EA's "Need for Speed", Konami's "World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014", 2K's "NBA2K14", and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's "Batman: Arkham City". In the future, the platform plans to introduce over 50 cloud games.
Meanwhile, content and game providers like Wasu, EA, Gameloft and Glu Mobile will become partners of Alibaba, aiming to develop film, TV, music, game and education sectors in the future. So far, Alibaba and Wasu have jointly offered 6,000 films, 150,000 hours of TV programs, and 1,000 episodes of variety shows on Alibaba's platform.
Statistics provided by Alibaba to local media revealed that Chinese families spend 3.8 hours on average on entertainment each day. Of that total, 12.7% of them watch TV, 40% play on their smartphones, and 60% of family members said they did not communicate at home. Liu Chunning, president for Alibaba's digital entertainment business unit, said that they want to change the situation and bring the family together again through these games.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, is known in the Chinese Internet community for discouraging his company from entering the online game sector in the past. The son of Ma and his wife Zhang Ying apparently was an online game addict a few years ago, and the affliction apparently impacted Ma's investment focus. There is no word from Alibaba why the company has shifted its focus to games now.