Late last night, Sony announced that it will acquire Gaikai, one of the two major cloud-gaming providers, for $380M USD. Sony will be using the new company to create a cloud gaming service which will ostensibly allow people to play high quality games instantly using their web connection and removing the need to buy a disc or download the game. It’s a huge deal and it begs the question – will someone be coming after OnLive, the other major competitor, in the near future?
We’ve covered Gaikai in the past, and as they’ve grown they’ve improved their technology and their offerings. They’ve always believed in making the game experience just like movies and music, and by enabling players to just click right through to a demo then buy the real game without leaving their seat, they have accomplished such a feat. The biggest question mark about cloud gaming services is whether players will accept the small amount of lag that can be possible with slower web connections. I’ve tried the services many time and personally did not have any problems with the lag, and had a lot of fun trying games like Dead Rising 2 over the service.
Cloud based games service also promise easy social gaming play. Players can eavesdrop on others’ games, send messages back and forth and show off their gaming profiles. Sony will likely integrate with their current user accounts, so we’ll see how that side of the experience evolves.
Read a little more about last week’s analysis of Gaikai, where we looked at why they could be looking for a buyer. Also, judging by Sony’s quote below, it looks like they’re going to be rushing to create a multiplatform cloud-based service using Gaikai’s existing technology – expect the Gaikai team to stay together and keep moving in their current direction.
“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,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “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.”
Read the whole press release here.