Square Enix's cloud gaming company Shinra Technologies has launched the first North American technical beta test of its remote game-streaming platform in Kansas City today, weeks after releasing its devkit in English and months after it began beta testing in Japan.
This is intriguing because it's the first time that North American residents will have an opportunity to actually play games on the nebulous platform, including a pair of platform-specific demos (The Living World and Space Sweeper) that were developed explicitly to showcase Shinra's technical capabilities.
If you're a bit foggy on those capabilities, check out an earlier interview we did with Shinra's Colin Williamson about how game devs can use the platform. In brief, Shinra is designed to stream games running on remote servers directly to a player's device (1:1), but it's also built to run big multiplayer games (think massively multiplayer twin-stick shooters or open-world games) purely on the server side, streaming "windows" into the game out to players so they don't need to own powerful hardware to play.
However this inaugural North American beta test will be taking place under optimum conditions, as it appears to be limited to Kansas City residents who subscribe to Alphabet's Google Fiber gigabit broadband service; this is in line with plans Shinra chief Yoichi Wada laid out to Gamasutra at GDC earlier this year.
"We intend to launch our services first in Japan and the U.S., where the communication environment is very good and high-speed," Wada said. "We intend to expand to regions where there is good communications environments, so we are not currently thinking to just suddenly do global deployment; in five to six years, where there all be better high-speed communications available around the world, then we can think about global expansion."