Sony Wins Cloud Gaming Boost From Gaikai
On July 2, Sony Computer Entertainment (of PlayStation fame) made a delicious tech-forward coup sure to find its virtual entertainment rivals Samsung and LG salivating with envy: the acquisition of Gaikai, the foremost cloud gaming company worldwide.
Gaikai literally translates as “an open ocean” in Japanese. That definition conjures images of vast expanses inviting curious exploration — the same vibrant point of view that spearheaded the cloud computing movement, and that is spurring rapid concomitant change in the video game community via the cloud as well.
Sony Computer Entertainment, or SCE, financed this potentially groundbreaking deal with $380 million, every penny of which is predicated on the hope that SCE can successfully absorb Gaikai's immersive cloud gaming service into its wide-ranging fold.
SCE brass praised Gaikai's “technological strength and engineering talent” in an official press release, vital supplies to serve as for fuel for the conglomerate's aim to stand alone as the preeminent resource for serious gamers. Those starving for a bounty of rich-graphic content that can be accessed on a dime from an internet-capable device.
Yet this deal is far from one-sided in its benefits. Gaikai CEO David Perry ecstatically declared his thrill at being now intimately associated with the gargantuan PlayStation brand, as well as with the opportunity to “dramatically improve the reach of existing content” as the clout of cloud gaming accrues wholesale.
Gaikai was established by Perry in 2008 and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California — interestingly located in the state's Orange County, not the better known Silicon Valley. The company considers itself a technology in and of itself, one that liberates game lovers to instantly play some of the industry's most coveted titles on any device wired for the cloud. Downloading or installation is unneeded. Gaikai also grants video game publishers opportunities to produce and distribute their own material through its own open cloud platform.
Diehard gamers shouldn't jettison their physical consoles just yet, despite this auspicious news. As the recent U.S. East Coast power crisis demonstrated, the consistent reliability of cloud computing remains vulnerable to weather-borne power outages. Fifa Soccer '12 and Rayman Origins, two of Gaikai's most popular offerings, may dip in the pleasure they offer when down on the cloud. And if SCE were to release a blockbuster game title exclusively on the cloud, anticipate vocal Bedlam from the gaming community’s most passionate and persnickety members, should access to that title falter.
Whether SCE's cloud ambitions result in just another Hulu or something more dominant and substantial remains to be seen. Nevertheless, SCE's subsumption of Gaikai stands as a breathtaking vote of confidence in cloud gaming's long-term viability and promise. Indeed, such a major acquisition performed by a flagship corporate could exert serious ramifications for cloud computing as a whole throughout the entertainment industry.
By Jeff Norman