Orange buys into cloud gaming with G-Cluster investment

The French telecoms giant Orange(s oran) has bought a minority stake in G-Cluster, a Japanese outfit that provides cloud gaming services for users of desktop PCs, TVs, tablets and mobile devices.

Orange is already a big G-Cluster customer – the company’s white-label services underpin the games offered through Orange TV in France. So is French carrier SFR, a big Orange rival that is also an investor in G-Cluster, alongside Japan’s NTT Communications, Intel(s intc) Capital and others.

According to Orange, the deal announced Thursday will help G-Cluster develop and allow Orange to introduce cloud gaming services outside France. Crucially, G-Cluster will also help Orange optimize cloud-gaming traffic on its networks. Orange has previously struck partnerships with the likes of Deezer (music) and Dailymotion (video), so gaming is a logical progression in its content efforts.

Cloud gaming is one of those things that only really makes sense as fixed-line and mobile connections get faster and more reliable – it moves the heavy lifting to the network provider’s back-end systems, making it feasible to play games on devices that are constrained in processing power and storage.

G-Cluster’s big rival here is OnLive, although that company has had something of a troubled history. Orange did not say how much it had invested in G-Cluster.