American retail giant Walmart was working on its own cloud game service: Critical Hit

Cloud gaming may be the big project that Google was trying to land in an area rivaled by Microsoft and Amazon, but it’s also an idea that was the dream of another unexpected company: US retailer Walmart.

This is because details of Walmart’s planned Project Storm surfaced during the ongoing trial between Epic and Apple about the latter’s exorbitant iStore fees, as detailed by The edge:

I played Walmart’s demo on an Android phone (with an Xbox controller) and the experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS. They’re going to sell the clip for an insanely low amount, they said something like $ 2.

The planned idea for Walmart’s cloud streaming service included the company running the service on Windows, with supported third-party game launchers such as Steam, Uplay, Origin, Epic Games Store, Battle.net, and Bethesda Launcher. Exactly which cloud service providers it would use in the background was at least detailed in the information shared with Epic at the time.

Walmart seemed pretty close to its plans to design the service and try to make it viable in a way that was much cheaper than Google’s Stadia and probably had a better chance of securing gamers. Why the service didn’t go ahead or even if Walmart still plans to launch the service in the future isn’t clear. Given that Walmart has no experience in the cloud and gaming, it is likely that it would have had to rely on many partners to make it a success, and it was in talks with Epic in an effort to leverage its infrastructure and expertise.

Having a major retailer like Walmart in the cloud gaming space could be a good change of pace for both the business and the industry at large, although it can also be a big gamble. That may be why nothing has come of the idea since it was first submitted.

Last updated: May 5, 2021