The Menlo Park-based company formerly known as iSwifter has announced version 2.0 of its cloud gaming platform to offer more content types and usage on clients beyond iPads. With today’s release of capabilities they describe as “any game, anywhere, instantly” comes a new name, the acronym Agawi.
Android tablets, Windows 8 tablets, smart TVs, Macs, and PCs will be able to stream games via cloud service. While the company’s first offering, the iSwifter Flash web browser app available in the iTunes store, is largely used by social and casual gamers, the new platform is aimed at publishers of mid-core and hardcore gaming titles. With the announcement Agawi is expanding its B2B offerings in the hopes of wooing creators of premier AAA games (which means it may not be long before games traditionally seen on GameStop shelves are available to gamers playing without consoles).
The company has developed both products with $500K in funding, much less than the $56.5MM that competitor OnLive raised and used to pay for data centers before closing and being sold recently. As opposed to companies that offer storage-based solutions, Agawi hopes that game publishers will pay licensing fees to use their technology and to reach new audiences through any third-party cloud service provider.
Co-founder and executive chairman Peter Relan says that cloud gaming will change gaming interactions in the same way that streaming has changed movie viewing, improving on the experience of going to a video store to rent a DVD. “The cloud gives you the ability to provide necessary capacity to users who want to have their content whenever and wherever they want it,” said Relan. He says the offerings will help publishers reach gamers who are currently underserved and who may prefer to play on tablet over PC.
With 30 people, Agawi has increased its engineering team and is triple the size it was when it launched the first version of the platform. The company was incubated through YouWeb, which helped launch mobile game network OpenFeint and social gaming company CrowdStar. It has received angel funding from Dave Roux, co-founder of Silver Lake, which helped sell Skype to Microsoft.
Agawi says that it isn’t emphasizing consumer-facing offerings with this release. The company stresses that it is looking more to interest publishers and developers than expand its overall user base of 3 million gamers. It will be announcing new partners for the updated version of the platform at the Cloud Gaming USA conference in San Francisco in early September.