When it comes to streaming games to smartphones, tablets and televisions, OnLive and Gaikai may have some company someday soon. Taiwan-based Ubitus is looking to provide a white-label cloud gaming service to cellular carriers and internet service providers in the US. Like Gaikai, the company's using Nvidia's new GeForce Grid GPU to rapidly capture and stream compressed H.264 video frames over the internet, and even its existing technology already has a presence in Japan: the company says its service, re-branded G-Cloud, has 500,000 active users on NTT Docomo's LTE network.
We met up with Ubitus at Nvidia's 2012 GPU Technology Conference in San Jose this week, and while we weren't able to properly test the service under show conditions, the technology definitely works at a basic level: we streamed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood to a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, and Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on a Galaxy Nexus. Ubitus tells us that game pricing and the streaming video resolution will be determined by its prospective partners and available bandwidth, but laid out some general ideas: a game like Street Fighter IV could be cost effective at, say, a $1.99 monthly subscription, a company rep suggested.
The service can scale up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second with a 10Mbps connection, but you won't need nearly that much bandwidth to make it work: Ubitus is targeting 1-2Mbps for tablets, 500kbps to 1Mbps for smartphones, and perhaps 4Mbps for a television set at native resolution. The company says it has apps for Android and iOS, and is planning to roll out touchscreen buttons overlays for each game. Without any clear partners or a thorough test, it's hard to say if Ubitus is a worthy competitor quite yet, but we have to imagine carriers looking for a killer app for their new LTE network might be interested in Ubitus' pitch: an opportunity to profit directly from their gaming customers.