Interview

Peter Relan on why Agawi's streaming game service is more than just a stopgap for Windows 8 developers

Peter Relan on why Agawi's streaming game service is more than just a stopgap for Windows 8 developers
Online game streaming was one of the big talking points of 2012.

But since the summer, when Sony snapped up Gaikai for $380 million and OnLive imploded, there's been little breaking news.

That's not to say there aren't companies still working away in the sector, however.

One such is Agawi.

Jobs loophole

Previously called iSwifter, the cloud-based service launched on iPad in September 2010, enabling players to run Flash-based content on a device on which Apple CEO Steve Jobs had famously banned Flash content.

Back then, the company had more of a consumer-focus, and the approach worked in terms of proving that the technology worked and that there was user demand for it.

The free iSwifter app has been downloaded 3 million times, with around 20 percent of users happy to drop $4.99 to continue the service when the 7-day trial period ends.

Tweaking the model

And according to executive chairman Peter Relan, the now renamed, refocused company has learned from others' mistakes.

"The problem with OnLive was it required massive capital costs to run its own data servers and it tried to be a consumer brand," he says.

In contrast, Agawi is firmly a business-to-business operation, which uses off-the-shelf data centers such as those provided by Amazon.



"We're a b2b company. We're promoting our platform to developers, publishers, operators and cable companies," Relan says.

Open the window

And in that context, Windows 8 looks like a great opportunity for expansion.

"Windows 8 is more than just another platform for us," Relan explains. Indeed, the company has signed an official deal with Microsoft.

Pointing out that there are 275,000 iPad apps, Relan says the 10,000 apps available for Windows 8 means that Agawi provides a no-brainer option for developers who want to get their games up and running on a platform that's currently lacking content.

"We can bring a large number of games to the platform through our streaming technology," he says.

This won't just be a short-term strategy during Windows 8's launch window either .

"I don't think everyone will have their own cross-platform strategy. Look at Minecraft and Steam," Relan points out, explaining that some developers want to have direct communication with their users.

"I don't think we will just be a stopgap solution because there is polarisation in the market."

Going Google

So with iOS and Windows covered, where does Android sit in Agawi's roadmap?

"At present, Android is a phone play, not a tablet play," Relans ponders.

That doesn't mean he rules out Agawi supporting Android, only that enough of the right devices need to be available. For example, he's optimistic about smart TVs.

"I do believe in Android in terms of smart TVs and set top boxes," he confirms. "It's an interesting space in terms of the post-PC era and that's where we want to be."

Developers can find out more about the services Agawi offers via its website

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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