One of the cool things about attending trade shows overseas is exposure to companies, products and services that we wouldn’t normally see in Australia. At Qualcomm’s stand (which is one of the larger ones at the show), they’re showing off a number of products and services that use their technology, including Rovio – makers of Angry Birds – who use some of Qualcomm’s server infrastructure to power their online game streaming service, <Hatch.
Hatch has been around since late last year, and is a subscription gaming service with over a hundred popular apps loaded up for you to play anytime, anywhere. It offers social interaction and realtime vs play and is currently in beta in 16 European countries.
The games are essentially Android APKs, with some Hatch SDKs included so they can interact with other users and show leaderboards etc from the service.
While it’s billed as “Netflix for games”, Rovio is keen to point out that it functions a little differently. Instead of just playing a game on a remote server and streaming the video output, Hatch actually renders and handles your input locally on your device. Rovio representatives are pretty proud of this fact, and it means your stream doesn’t suddenly go low-res if your bandwidth drops.
Hatch’s demo on Qualcomm’s stand was a vs mode of Angry Birds, running off the their servers in France. Besides a few initial connectivity issues (common for tradeshows) we had a quick fluid and fun experience.
Unfortunately, if we were to sign up for Hatch in Australia, we’ll get absolutely killed by server latency. There’s a desire on Rovio’s part to expand Hatch to multiple territories – including ours – but they probably need to focus on getting out of beta first.
I went up against the booth staff, with a Big Red plushie at stake … and lost. But got the plushie anyway!
Thanks, Hatch! Hope to see you come to Australia soon!