By now you’ve heard about how Sony is looking to team up with a leading cloud-based gaming provider, which likely means either Gaikai or OnLive. What exactly this deal pertains to we don’t know just yet. So what’s really going on here?
At this point in time everything we know is rumor and speculation, but let’s look at what these companies offer, and how Sony could apply these services to their console and portable gaming devices.
The two major players in the cloud space are Gaikai and OnLive, and both offer slightly different services. Sony actually has a history with OnLive, as the service was available on the Xperia smartphone. OnLive also entered the console market themselves with a micro-console that brought PC games to the big screen TV. They even have the service available on Android and iOS devices. Basically OnLive is everywhere already, but what does OnLive do exactly. Here’s the company’s official mission statement:
“OnLive delivers high-end video games from the cloud to your PC, Mac®, TV and even mobile devices at blindingly fast speeds, so you can play the games you want, the second you want them. No discs. No downloads. No fancy hardware. Just you, the Internet and the games you love.”
OnLive offers several ways players can enjoy their games, via free demos, 3-day or 5-day rentals, full purchase, or PlayPack Bundle, which is a $9.99 a month service and allows players to play over 200 games from indie titles, classic console games, to huge blockbusters.
Gaikai on the other hand is a little different. They offer a digital streaming platform that works on computers, browsers, and even has connectivity with YouTube and Facebook. Their mission statement is as follows:
“GAIKAI offers a fully managed cloud platform across a global network that is optimized to deliver high-end video games and applications within seconds to all leading web browsers, operating systems, and devices, even premium destinations and social networks like YouTube and Facebook.”
They also specialize in “try before you buy” gaming. They have strong partnerships with Electronic Arts, Sega, Capcom, 2K Games, THQ, Warner Bros., and Ubisoft. At one point were even trying to bring World of Warcraft to tablets. Gaikai may be newer in the cloud-based gaming arena compared to OnLive, but they’ve already made some real headway.
So now comes the question everyone is surely asking, which company would be better suited to Sony’s needs? Better yet, what are Sony’s needs? To answer that, I think it’d be a good idea to come to terms with what Sony could possibly expect from services such as these. Personally I don’t see PC games suddenly being streamed to your PS3 or Vita, regardless of which service Sony decides to go with. It might be an option, but I think legalities would get in the way of that one for some reason. No, I’m a believer that Sony is much more interested in using this technology for their own software. Imagine being able to stream Uncharted 3 instead of actually having to buy or download it, that’d make for one wild rental service, don’t you agree? Demos, rentals and full purchases could all be done via the cloud. Since they already offer digital downloads of PS3 games and older classics, this seems like a natural extension. If they could add PC games into the mix that would be a huge plus and increase the games PS3 can play by the thousands.
So which of these companies is better suited to meet that specific need? If Sony is only looking to provide gamers with a customizable version of the cloud-based platform, I’d think Gaikai would be the clear winner given how customizable it already is. OnLive is its own beast and would be the ideal option if the company is looking for a solution to bring PC games to the PS3 and Vita.
Today Gameblog revealed that…
“Gaikai has major announcements for E3, which have the potential to change the future of video games, the game consoles and the way in which we play.”
So what do you all think? Could this be exactly what Sony is going for, or do you think full PC games will be streamed to your PS3 and Vita before the end of the year? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this including cloud-based gaming as a whole.