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Sony buys Gaikai: Why cloud gaming could save PlayStation by turning it into something very different

While the inability of modern (or indeed foreseeable-future) internet connections to deliver disc-quality HD gaming without lag would make a fully-Gaikai PS4 a total non-starter, streaming capability as an augmentation would make it a much healthier prospect as a platform. Don’t want to waste 20 minutes and a whole bunch of hard-drive space downloading a demo that you’ll only play once for about the time it takes it make a cup of tea? Stream that sucker instead.

Don’t have the cash to splash out on a PS4 model with a giant hard-drive? Get a cheaper one, stream your PSN games, and upgrade later. Want the console with the biggest launch line-up next generation? With Gaikai-enabled streaming, the PS4 can have every PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP and Vita game ready to go at the touch of a button.

And let's not forget, if Sony can wangle some dexterous licensing, it could have a raft of PC games ready to go on the PS3 within a year, creating a temporary buffer with which to delay the launch of the PS4 until it can comfortably afford it.

Also, consider Sony’s patchy track record with remote-play. The dream of using your PSP or Vita to continue your PS3 game on the move has been a particular Moby Dick of Sony’s for years, but has never really successfully got off the ground. Now consider that functionality run through a Sony-owned Gaikai network.

You could be playing a game on your PS4. You might be streaming it, or your might be running it locally. You pause. You select ‘Switch to streaming device’. Your PS4 stops running the game, your PSN account fires up your streamed version (with your current save position secured by the cloud, obviously) and starts streaming it directly from a meaty, dedicated Gaikai server to your PSP, Vita, laptop or phone. Without relying on a console to do a server’s job, the system could be smoother, faster, more responsive, and basically work the way Sony has always wanted it to. And with a hell of a lot more receiver devices expanding accessibility across the board. You could even theoretically buy into PS4 without even buying a PS4.

Yes, all the obvious (and warranted) doubts about streaming’s legitimacy as a gaming medium in itself might have you thinking that Sony has dropped a really expensive ball here. And that would be completely understandable. But there is serious potential for real benefit. Those benefits might not shape the PlayStation’s future in the same way that cloud-gaming’s loudest supporters might want to believe, but if played right they could make Gaikai well worth the price tag for Sony. 

And anything that's good for the health of PlayStation, either as a specific machine or as an overall gaming brand, is good for us all.

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44 comments

  • Sjoeki - July 2, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    I play most of my games on the ps3 so I'm not a fanboy or anything but it sounds like sony is taking another big risk right now. I don't think people have to have played diablo 3 to know all about the error 37 problem, and to be honest I do think that Blizzard should have an idea about how many people would want to play there latest game, with having WoW and all. Ufc games (and that's just an example)are pretty much not worth trying online cause of the lag but also bigger games still keep you waiting a lot to be able to play a game online and even then you get kicked for no reason. And now for even the singleplayer games you'd have to be online? Don't know about that, also doesn't it mean it would end up that you rent everything instead of owning it? I can see why game companies would want that and I buy all my games but I still would like it to be my games and be able to play it at a friend or whatever.
  • Tjwoods18 - July 2, 2012 1:39 p.m.

    Well if you put it in terms of risk then microsoft has been hitting the stride very hard. How many companies have they pulled up in so far for thei 360 brand?
  • X-Killspree-X - July 2, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    This would be so sweet if they utilized this for Remote Play. Finally be able to play my PS3 games on my vita would be a HUGE plus, and great selling point to get the sales up for the device.
  • ultimatepunchrod - July 2, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    I just got an Xperia play. It may not be a great gaming device, but it is a perfectly good phone. Don't say shit just to give your sentences parallelism.
  • spankyj25 - July 2, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    I sincerely hope that M$ buys OnLive, now. I'm a huge fan on OnLive. I game on it almost daily. I can play my OnLive games from any online PC, my android phone, and I also own two OnLive consoles. I can picture having the service built right into my Microsoft console with the added ability to play Xbox and Xbox 360 games on all of my devices, as well. Cloud gaming isn't perfect, but it's pretty amazing when you consider the pricing versus traditional consoles. Being able to play full version games with "time limitation" demos is what first drew me to OnLive, and I would love to be able to check out the first 30 minutes of Mass Effect 5 without having to download or install anything.
  • xx_CaPTiiN_SpAiiN_zz - July 2, 2012 4:13 p.m.

    yeah that would be good especially as onlive revolutionised the cloud gaming market. if we get them on our side then microsoft will grow even better.
  • Mooshon - July 2, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    Incredible news really. Didn't see this happening for a while yet and it feels a bit early to be honest. TV/film streaming services have technically bedded in but game streaming is still slightly ropey. Bit laggy, not HD, and susceptible to server or connectivity issues. Not sure if I'm ready for game 'channels' yet either.
  • xx_CaPTiiN_SpAiiN_zz - July 2, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    the situation of sony doing ANYTHING good with software is nonexistant if you remember that hacking problem they had a while ago. oh how we xbox players laughed and laughed that day. good luck sony and i hope you dont fuck it up because the retarded half of gamers still buy your crapy software XD
  • HorriBliss - July 2, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    Jesus, all you do is BITCH about Sony any chance you get. Why don't you wise up a bit, and stop being a fanboy bitch? Microsoft has had 3 hacking problems that I know of, the longest of which was 2 weeks if I'm not wrong back in 2008, but has been hacked more times than Sony. Difference was people were used to the shit quality of Microsoft's gaming hardware by that point that they paid little attention to its software failings. Don't go thinking I'm a fanboy now, because Sony did fuck up with that hacking scandal but at least they gave free games and shit to their customers - Microsoft gave diddly-squat. Remember too that Sony went from best-selling console of all time with the PS2, to failing with the PS3's launch while simultaneously facing competition in each of its technology departments. The same thing could happen to Microsoft what with competition from Apple and, maybe, just maybe, that could be the start of a massive shift in momentum.
  • xx_CaPTiiN_SpAiiN_zz - July 2, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    because microsoft havent had problems and at least they give a good service. the ps3 is just for cheapskates who havent got a proper job and cant afford it. you are wrong because microsoft make games computers consoles phones and lots more sony dont make much. microsoft can easily come up with new ideas.
  • Gex4212 - July 2, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    lots more than Sony ? Sony is an Electronics conglomerate. They range from Phones to PCs. Televesions to Entertainment systems. They even have their own battery line for godsakes. Any electronic gadget you can think of Sony has a line of products for it. I'm not a fanboy but I just want to state the facts =X I love my 360 but I think it running on fumes the past few years
  • HorriBliss - July 3, 2012 4:32 a.m.

    I just told you about the hacking problems that Microsoft had so how does that classify as: "microsoft havent had problems"? Are you thick, an idiot, or just choose to ignore facts that don't agree with your mindset? PS3 is for "cheapskates who havent got a proper job", oh God, I'm not going to even bother with that ridiculous statement - if you honestly believe that statemenet then there's no point in even continuing this discussion, or else you're just a blind follower (I can't tell) And Sony have been making phones BEFORE Microsoft you donut. They also have a more diverse product ranget than Microsoft too; in fact, you've just proven how much of an idiot you are, I don't need to continue.
  • xx_CaPTiiN_SpAiiN_zz - July 3, 2012 6:08 a.m.

    THERE WE GO. you ignore my point because it completely destroys yours and weve accepted that people only buy the ps3 for its cheap online and a couple of exclusive games. microsoft make more money AND have sold more xboxes and that shows you that it speaks for itself. also ill repeat myself about microsoft not having problems because whatever hacks where experienced were nothing significant obviously epsicially compared to the ps3. get your facts straight before challenging me. i win this little conversation.
  • HorriBliss - July 3, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    What was your point? That Microsoft have a better service? Show me some objective, third-party research and I'll believe you - oh, what's that? You don't have any, oh yeah, that's because that was your OPINION, hence why I ignored it. Focus on facts during discussions, and try not to let your emotions run wild. I had a reply with refutations that would negate your argument, but I've no reason to continue a discussion with someone as immature as you: "i win this little conversation". Learn to act your age, mate. Enjoy your day for now.
  • c-c-c-combo breaker - July 3, 2012 3:31 p.m.

    Oh, I love this. When people fall hook, line and sinker for a little troll. 'in fact, you've just proven how much of an idiot you are, I don't need to continue.' >continues I couldn't resist.
  • HorriBliss - July 4, 2012 1:41 a.m.

    Bleh, what can you do? :')
  • Redix01 - July 3, 2012 9:51 p.m.

    i have had a ps1 broke, 2 ps2 both broke. Then i thought it would be a good idea to change sides since all Sony's stuff seemed to break. So I bought an Xbox it didn't break so i bought a 360. I had 3 got, which is one reason why 360 sold more. I got rid of the 3rd one after it got hacked and they used my credit card to buy shit that i didn't buy. I now have a ps3 i do miss playing gears but thats about it and it hasn't gave me any problems. And i am pretty sure the wii out sold both. And there is a real possibility that 360 will not be able to be sold much longer in the USA. Due to a big lawsuit between Motorola (aka Google owns them) and Microsoft breaking the law and using copyrighted stuff. Already happened in one country no more imports they are all made in China.
  • Tjwoods18 - July 2, 2012 noon

    Dude, get a freaking life all ready. I laugh at people like you who have to spend $60 a year on somthing that is so retarted as playing a video game online. So what? Do you really wish to hear little kids bitch on call of duty every day of every hour? No thank you, I will stick with a service that is free and will always be free. And for your information, the only reason hacker went after sony is because of their pursuit of Gehot. They can very will penetrate your precious 360 if they wanted to do so.
  • xx_CaPTiiN_SpAiiN_zz - July 2, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    haha so you insult playing video games on a video game website? grow up and get a job instead of listening to rap music.
  • Tjwoods18 - July 3, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    Read my words! I insult paying an ONLINE fee in order to play video game. It is an unneccessary expense fee on microsofts point, just to sqeeze additional revenue out of its consumers. Rap music is gay, so why in the hell would I listen to that? Try to know somebody before you make idiotic statments about them.

Showing 1-20 of 44 comments

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