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Sony Getting Into Cloud Gaming With Gaikai Purchase

The long-rumored acquisition of the service signals Sony's push toward cloud-based gaming.

Five bucks says at least 40% of you assumed this is what I meant when I said
Five bucks says at least 40% of you assumed this is what I meant when I said "cloud gaming."

Sony's been rumored to be interested in getting its own cloud streaming service for a while now, and as recently as this past E3, many had assumed that service would involve Gaikai, the cloud-streaming company that recently put itself on the market to the tune of $500 million. Well, they didn't get $500 million, but they did get $380 million, and they got it from Sony.

Sony announced the purchase this morning as a first step toward establishing "a new cloud service" for the company's various PlayStation properties. Whether or not that means the current roster of platforms (PlayStation 3, Vita) or is specifically targeted for as-yet-unannounced future tech is currently unclear. All we know is that at some point, this Gaikai business will filter into gaming on PlayStation-branded platforms in some capacity. According to SCE's Andrew House, that will include "content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices."

So, yeah, this obviously doesn't have any immediate impact for any PlayStation 3 or Vita owners right this second, but in the foreseeable future, cloud-based gaming will be coming to whatever PlayStation thing you have. Out of personal curiosity, how many of you out there even use cloud gaming services right now, anyway?

Alex Navarro on Google+

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alex

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Edited By alex  Staff  Online
Five bucks says at least 40% of you assumed this is what I meant when I said
Five bucks says at least 40% of you assumed this is what I meant when I said "cloud gaming."

Sony's been rumored to be interested in getting its own cloud streaming service for a while now, and as recently as this past E3, many had assumed that service would involve Gaikai, the cloud-streaming company that recently put itself on the market to the tune of $500 million. Well, they didn't get $500 million, but they did get $380 million, and they got it from Sony.

Sony announced the purchase this morning as a first step toward establishing "a new cloud service" for the company's various PlayStation properties. Whether or not that means the current roster of platforms (PlayStation 3, Vita) or is specifically targeted for as-yet-unannounced future tech is currently unclear. All we know is that at some point, this Gaikai business will filter into gaming on PlayStation-branded platforms in some capacity. According to SCE's Andrew House, that will include "content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices."

So, yeah, this obviously doesn't have any immediate impact for any PlayStation 3 or Vita owners right this second, but in the foreseeable future, cloud-based gaming will be coming to whatever PlayStation thing you have. Out of personal curiosity, how many of you out there even use cloud gaming services right now, anyway?

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Slugworth5

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Edited By Slugworth5

oh snaps did it again

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DriveupLife

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Edited By DriveupLife

Big Jeffrey's cloud gaming service.

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SuperTyson

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Edited By SuperTyson

@DriveupLife said:

Big Jeffrey's cloud gaming service.

Fantastic. Can't wait for the ride-smashing tech to be implemented.

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cheeckoo

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Edited By cheeckoo

they probably should have buy vivendi out of activision, but it's at least more usefull than instagram or yammer

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raikoh05

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Edited By raikoh05

onlive is kind of neat for demos, but really impractical unless your internet connection is amazing.

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SomeJerk

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Edited By SomeJerk

That'll help with their bad choice of content download networking in the US, for demos. And they could kinda let the PS4 run alongside the PS3 like this. Let people (with the capable connections) play PS4 on their PS3, and should a user of that decide to get a PS4 - here's your free PS4 download-title? Hmm.

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Hailinel

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Edited By Hailinel

I hate the concept of cloud gaming. Let me keep my games. Don't hold them hostage on servers that I can't count on.

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Sin4profit

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Edited By Sin4profit
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ThePhantomStranger

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I wonder if a company like sony will have the resources to push cloud gaming to a point where they're playable...

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sawtooth

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Edited By sawtooth

intriguing

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Sackmanjones

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Edited By Sackmanjones

Hey....uh.... Anyone know where I can get some fineeee cloud gaming?

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alibson

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Edited By alibson

Gaming TVs

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Kaps

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Edited By Kaps

I don't really see the advantage outside of PC gaming. A good PC that can run everything nicely will run you, on average, about $1000-$1500. That's definitely a steep bill and a cloud service allows a bigger market for publishers to get their PC content out and played.

But for a console?

To me it only makes sense if they are planning to have an exclusively cloud based service. The company can save money on expensive individual units and invest in big modular server centers. They also get a whole lot more control over who is playing, and how they're paying. Only problem is even the biggest players in the market suck at this kind of thing. If an internet connection is required, the service is inevitably going to have issues here and there, and there is no option for local play.

Having a hybrid doesn't make much sense either though, because to have a local unconnected play options, you need hardware capable of running it, which negates the savings. Who wants/needs to stream a game when they can just download it or get it from brick and mortar stores?

I suppose you could launch both a physical console to the masses and maybe have a cheap online box with a subscription model to those that can't afford the prime unit? I don't know.

Business.

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justinsimonin

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Edited By justinsimonin

I think this is huge news! There is a ton of potentially really cool things Sony could do with this lets just hope they really push this tech and it ends up not just being streaming ps1 games to your phone or whatever

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Lava

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Edited By Lava

This'll be interesting. If Sony gets into some sort of cloud gaming service it could be a BIG selling point for Sony's next platform.

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deactivated-57beb9d651361

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I absolutely of the mind that virtually every media delivery service will be cloud based in the foreseeable future.

If all the distribution companies played nice, it would be killer.

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BrandonPckrfn

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Edited By BrandonPckrfn

Eh, when they fix the internet it America, this could be awesome. But right now I am limited to 250 gigs down, and already have to stop my wife and kids from doing anything but the bare essentials online around the last 10 days of the month. My only service provider is Comcast, so fucked! Same problem with everyone saying we should go digital download only.

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MikkaQ

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Edited By MikkaQ

My problem with cloud gaming is that as soon as you have a connection good enough for it, you might as well download the game to your own hardware cause it's only gonna take a couple hours at most.

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jimjimman

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Edited By jimjimman

Well, this could at least solve the backwards compatibility issue for the PS4....if your connection is fast enough.

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Nill

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Edited By Nill

Latency being such a significant and fundamental problem with services like Gaikai and OnLive, hopefully Sony sticks with it as solely a means for instant access demos. (which in of themselves would hugely improve the current digital distribution experience)

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MonkeyKing1969

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Edited By MonkeyKing1969

You have to remember that Gaikai has deals in place to distribute PC games. I'm not sure if these deals are timed or not but as it stand as of today Sony can put a light weight web-browser on PS3 that will any game on that service. That means PS3 owners could play Allan Wake...tell me you don't think that would piss Microsoft off?

Sony bought Gaikai they didn't just partner with them. So, I'm guessing Sony will do two things: make sure all "connected devices" have a browser that can link to Gaikai and keep signing contracts with developers and other publishers without a service to distribute their PC games. In one 'sizable' purchase Sony has access to anything with a good browser, and my guess is you PSN ID is now you Gaikai ID if you choose to subscribe. Wasn't there an INFOGRAPHIC last week showing 110 million PSN accounts? Well, Sony will be working to converts as many of those as possible as easily as possible into Gaikai customers.

Sony need only keep making deals with PC developers and keep steering people to their services – grow the catalog and grow the customer list. To help them they can leverage deals for PS3, Vita, PS4 and Gaikai rights for games as bundles without a doubt. Sony doesn’t want to be LOCKED on to PlayStation platforms, nor do they ONLY want to reach PlayStation customers. Sony wants everyone they can get…they want the living room, the bus, they train, and the lazy Sunday at the coffee shop. They want customers consuming their content and paying them no matter what device they are holding or sitting in front of at night.

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Edited By darkstorn

It could be something revolutionary like 'Spotify' for gaming. It could also be a massive waste of money. Sony needs a hit an only time will tell.

I would, however, love to see Sony's entire back catalog available for streaming, and perhaps a subscription service to all of Sony's past action, racing, and strategy games for example, with each genre priced individually.

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crusader8463

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Edited By crusader8463

More like Bu-gaikai! Get it?

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Edited By WJist

If it fits into the current system of firmware and patching currently on Sony consoles, I'll say no thank you. But...a streaming game service could be cool for rentals or as a bonus for Playstation Plus. Remain skeptical.

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Phished0ne

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Edited By Phished0ne

@Sin4profit said:

They also buy a brand new Seth Killian...i wonder if Adam Boyes has anything to do with that deal.

I was just about to mention this, today seems to be a Sony day.

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cikame

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Edited By cikame

Assuming by "Cloud Gaming" they mean something like OnLive then no, unless they plan to implement cable internet to everyone in the uk who doesn't have it, and get rid of download restrictions.
It's too early.

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teh_destroyer

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Edited By teh_destroyer

Alex, I owe you $5.

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Quarters

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Edited By Quarters

The idea is interesting for rentals or stuff like that, but my internet connection is no where near good enough to do this sort of thing reliably. This is also why I hate when people say we should just forgo physical copies altogether.

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Edited By GoodKn1ght

My Internet is fast but not fastest enough to stream a 1080p memory intensive game. When it does I'll be interested in cloud based games but mainly for renting, I think if I bought it I would want some form of it locally, be it digital or physical.

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Edited By Sooty

@MikkaQ said:

My problem with cloud gaming is that as soon as you have a connection good enough for it, you might as well download the game to your own hardware cause it's only gonna take a couple hours at most.

I can download a 15GB game in like 18 minutes and my connection is actually slow (60MB) compared to those Swedish fuckers.

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Silverbrand

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Edited By Silverbrand

HA! If you go to the Gaikai page, there's a PR-style description of the company and the top editor is the user 'Gaikai'.

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abendlaender

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Edited By abendlaender

This has to be the most restrained headline that Alex ever put up.

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killacam

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Edited By killacam

if this is part of PS+, then cool.

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Edited By akzo

Is onlive available? I've read hundreds of stories about it but didn't know if it had moved that much beyond the theory and a few news releases.

I can get about 2.5 mbs but it varies depending on what devices are active (as well as the time of day). My friends with FIOS can get about 6 mbs, not sure about the variability but I assume it's there. Seems like the telecom companies are quickly maxing out what they are able to provide, and that can't be good news for a service like this.

What type of speed you will need to have to run this type of system, and how they can address the peaks and valleys that all users have.

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Winternet

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Edited By Winternet

Great, now I can spend even more time on the clouds.

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" We bought Gaikai because gamers have kept asking for Cloud on their PS3 since E3 2005. Only just realised they meant a FFVII HD remake" 
-Kaz twitter parody

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Cyrisaurus

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Edited By Cyrisaurus

Alex you owe me five bucks because I'm sure anyone who thinks of that kind of image in their head when they think "cloud gaming" isn't smart enough to even read.

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deanoxd

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Edited By deanoxd

I really think, if done right this could answer the question of backwards compatibility on the PS4, you link all your owned games to the service, and maybe a subscription of the entire line up. I think this would save them money on the hardware side of the PS4.

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Edited By xbob42

If by "cloud gaming," you mean "playing games via the cloud," then I currently have no interest in that as my devices are all more than powerful enough to handle such things. Perhaps in the future.

However, if you mean "saving settings and save files over the cloud," then put that in absolutely everything I own. A local save + a cloud save = I don't have to worry about a hard drive dying.

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Anund

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Edited By Anund

@crusader8463 said:

More like Bu-gaikai! Get it?

No

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Zaapp1

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Edited By Zaapp1

I thought OnLive was a cool concept and was glad that they dropped the monthly fee for it. Unfortunately for them I decided to build my own gaming rig to play anything, rather than their (at the time) limited selection, but I can see it being a great way to go for people who don't drop $3k on a PC. Assuming Gaikai is similar, this could bring better graphics to PS users regardless of the hardware they've got.

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Edited By Kosayn

Right now, my understanding is that you can't offer a 'full multiplayer' or MMO experience on a 4G mobile device, because the signal basically isn't fast enough to push all that information. At best you can offer an asynchronous experience in a major game, like for example Dark Souls, or a complete experience in a simple game.

I could see Cloud gaming improving on that. As long as they can get the video stream and the controls 1:1 - itself a major task, and probably requiring some visual filtering software on the device - then the network interaction for everything else on the back end could just happen on the servers with no lag. How much 'everything else' there is is debatable, but we could start seeing physics not be unique to each player in Multiplayer games, for example. I don't think many people realize that a lot of the stuff that happens with 3D models isn't identical for each player in most games currently, and as a result, there's no gameplay dimension to a lot of the 'physics stuff' in multiplayer games. I mean Age of Conan is about the only MMO that's even really attempted player collision, because even precise placement of players is something every MMO currently struggles with, never mind physics. So there is room for cloud gaming to help conventional games improve, too, if some designer really thinks outside the box about what they can put on the server side.

That's not a thing that Gaikai or Onlive can really do, but it is a thing Sony could do with an in-house game when they have the technology. Unfortunately they are not known for making deep multiplayer or MMO experiences. We'll see.

For conventional gaming, I'm really not interested in streaming at all. I used to download stuff on a 14.4 modem from BBSes - I'm ok with waiting a while before I can play something. I think this is early, early proof of concept technology, long before it will really contribute to gaming. It's like the Power Glove as compared to a Wiimote, or the Virtual Boy as compared to a 3DS.

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MikkaQ

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Edited By MikkaQ

@Sooty said:

@MikkaQ said:

My problem with cloud gaming is that as soon as you have a connection good enough for it, you might as well download the game to your own hardware cause it's only gonna take a couple hours at most.

I can download a 15GB game in like 18 minutes and my connection is actually slow (60MB) compared to those Swedish fuckers.

Yeah it's no wonder the Swedes are so big on piracy, they've been able to download whole movies in seconds for years now. Internet in Canada sucks. I had a great provider of cable, no cap, and insane speeds for a few months, but then school let up and I moved out, now it's a shitty 60GB monthly cap and slowish cable.

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Peanut

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Edited By Peanut

I don't use cloud streaming anything, because I'm sure my internet usage would spike through the fucking ceiling. Being in Canada (Ontario to be specific) the prices and caps on bandwidth here are an astronomical nuisance that guarantees I'm streaming little in the run of a month. I was paying $40-$50 overage on a month when I first got Netflix, because it defaults to HD and my fiance would just come home and watch a bunch of TV shows or a movie and suck up the gigs.

Until the ridiculous strangle hold on bandwidth is lessened to a significant degree, there's no way I'd ever do the streaming games thing. Downloadable only fits into this category too. I buy and play way too many games in the run of a month to afford downloading these huge games regularly. I feel like that's something these "DIGITAL ONLY FUTURE RAAAWR!" people don't really get. It's simply nowhere near cost effective or feasible for people in my situation, which I'm going to go ahead and assume is most Canadians.

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ShatterShock

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Edited By ShatterShock

I've tried out plenty of OnLive and Gaikai, and while it's sorta cool being able to play current games on crappy hardware and being able to peer in on other people's games as they play them, the lag of the gameplay and the muddiness of the images really kills any desire I'd have to abandon native hardware. The threat of being throttled by my ISP and the complete loss of my rights as a consumer (no more selling, trading or modding) doesn't help either.

That said, this Sony/Gaikai deal could be really awesome if they go all in and make it so that you could play your downloaded PSN games over the cloud with your PS3, PSVIta, PC, Phone and Tablet. Uncharted on my computer? Yes please.

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Stimpack

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Edited By Stimpack

I don't use cloud gaming, because currently it's still trying to get off the ground imo. This Sony move was the right way to go, er, hopefully. Sony is kind of notorious for branching out and making new and innovative products only to completely drop support a couple of months later. Cloud gaming couldn't have taken off without backing. Gaikai already stated that their games would be able to stream through smart TVs (which would fare better than PCs, I believe) but the released titles would be dependant on the the television manufacturer. This severely cripples what they could do, and Sony could certainly remedy that.

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mrpandaman

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Edited By mrpandaman

@Stimpack said:

I don't use cloud gaming, because currently it's still trying to get off the ground imo. This Sony move was the right way to go, er, hopefully. Sony is kind of notorious for branching out and making new and innovative products only to completely drop support a couple of months later. Cloud gaming couldn't have taken off without backing. Gaikai already stated that their games would be able to stream through smart TVs (which would fare better than PCs, I believe) but the released titles would be dependant on the the television manufacturer. This severely cripples what they could do, and Sony could certainly remedy that.

Hopefully since Kaz Hirai has taken over, he can reverse Sony's misfortune over the past few years.