Orange looks to expand mobile gaming with G-cluster stake

The operator has taken a minority position in the Japanese company with an eye to gaming on smartphones and tablets

French network operator Orange has acquired a minority stake in the Japanese company G-cluster Global, as it looks to accelerate its mobile gaming push.

G-cluster already provides the software platform for Orange's hosted gaming service, currently available to about three million customers of Orange TV in France via fiber and copper broadband. The investment will help G-cluster with an international expansion, which in turn lets Orange introduce services in other countries, the operator said on Thursday.

Orange also plans to offer streamed games on PCs, smartphones and tablets, but there is no official time frame for when that will happen, according to a spokesman.

As traditional revenue streams like messaging and voice calls have come under pressure from competitive offerings, operators have started to look elsewhere for new ways to make money. Orange didn't announce any financial details of the G-cluster deal, but it is a strategically important one for the operator, which has previously invested in the Deezer music service and acquired online video site Dailymotion.

Orange isn't the only operator that thinks online gaming is an interesting area. In October last year, Japanese carrier SoftBank announced that it was investing over $1 billion in Finnish game developer Supercell. That money will also be used for an international expansion.

The move to cloud-based gaming was also on display at this week's International CES trade show in Las Vegas, where a number of companies including Dell announced plans to launch consoles for the Steam platform.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Tags business issuestelecommunicationgamessmartphonesonline servicesinvestmentsG-cluster Globalorangemobilemobile applicationsCarriersconsumer electronics

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