Things can move fast in the games industry, and this past week that’s exactly what things have done. Just a few short days ago David Perry, CEO of cloud gaming service Gaikai, announced that his company was up for sale. He was even quoted as saying that his company was quite the sexy catch, and any company that didn’t want to snatch it up was quite mad. Well okay, he didn’t use those exact words, but the message was clear; he was confident that owning Gaikia was a hell of an attractive proposition for many a games company. Seems he was right – Sony’s bought the company for a reported $380m.
Sony Computer Entertainment group CEO Andrew House declared: “By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences. SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”
None of which, to be honest, tells us what Sony is planning to do with the service.
Perry used equally meaningless PR fluff when he said: “We’re honoured to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide”.
Make no mistake, one of The Big Three buying a cloud gaming service is big news; we just don’t know exactly how or why yet. While OnLive is known primarily for its subscription ‘PlayPack’ option and innovative social network, Gaikai is known primarily for demos. Instantly streaming (and therefore undemanding) demos of the latest games on blogs, and even Facebook. Anything could happen with a new owner, and it’s interesting that House was quick to stress the “variety of internet-connected devices” angle. Could we see SOE games streamed through gaming blogs? Vita games demoed via tablets and smartphones? PS3 games playable on a PC or Mac? A PS4 that is a service rather than a piece of hardware? Only time will tell.