About 22 million Comcast customers will be able to buy Electronic Arts (EA) games directly through its cable box in a deal to be agreed shortly, according to sources speaking to Reuters.
Though the deal is unconfirmed by both parties it is likely to add more fuel to the unrolling scandal of the FCC's apparent abandonment of the net neutrality policy, whereby internet providers such as Comcast were prohibited from charging companies a premium to prioritise delivery of their content.
The service will be rolled out on X1, a set-top cable box that comes equipped with apps for streaming films and TV shows on demand, among other programmes for accessing Facebook and Pandora, an internet radio service.
Initially the telecoms company will offer casual and family games, including EA's flagship range of sports simulators such as FIFA and Madden. The companies will assess the market for more mature action games in the future, according to Reuters' source.
Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have been allowing users to download games on their respective Wii, Xbox and Playstation systems, which also handle disks. The market for television gaming has not seen a major entrant since the launch of the Xbox in 2001.
Comcast is currently planning to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45bn, a move that has prompted concerns of an "anti-competitive leverage" from Netflix in a letter to its shareholders. In return, Comcast criticised Netflix for "try[ing] to make all Internet users pay for its costs of doing business".
The Financial Times also reported that Comcast and TWC were planning on selling cable assets worth $20bn in order to "allay Washington's concerns about the proposed merger".
Established in 1957, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, promotes wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information...