Sony buys Gaikai for £242 million and gains a strong foundation for their own cloud based gaming proposition.
So if you have not read in the news already, Sony have indeed bought the north America based brand for them sleves. £242 million is a lot of money but only a fraction of what some of it's competitors like OnLive are valued at. Which is why a lot of analysts are claiming this to be an absolute bargain for Sony.
To be totally honest, I was unaware that this brand even existed until I read the news. I think a lot of us Android gamers were initially taken in by OnLive as they have constantly supported it for Android. We have an Xperia PLAY optimised app, a Tablet S app that supports the PS3 pad and of course with the new ICS rom on Xperia S, we have it still. But there is one area that I have to say is let down by OnLive and that is lack of choice for high end titles. Having done my research on Gaikai (pronounced Guy-kay), you will see they offer some beefy titles like: Fifa, Mass Effect 3, Rainbow Six, Dead Space and even the Sims3.
So what could Sony be planning?
It will be a long time before we see anything starting to appear on Sony hardware or even the Xperia products if they do. Frankly I beleive that this will be like their entertainment network offerings like Music and Video Unlimited. Perhaps branding it Playstation Unlimited is a bit unlikely but a cool pet name for the time being nonetheless. It will be available to download for non Sony devices like iPhones and Samsungs too and might even be a subscription based service. This theory would tie in with their strategy for Playstation Mobile, it's a revenue stream for them even if you dont have a Sony product. But hopefully there will be some opimisation for the PS Vita and Xperia PLAY devices, who knows by the time it comes to market, there might even be a PLAY 2. :D
A lot of other people are expecting this to tie in with the launch of the Playstation 4 product later in 2013. Which could be very likely but when do Sony ever release stuff on time. I'm not being harsh at all, I love sony, it's just they are so bad with delays and stuff that I wish to remain pessimistic for now. However that doesn't mean to say it will be limited to the PS4, as cloud based gaming can run on any device that has a processor supporting a H.264 decoder. Which even includes todays entry level phones, TV's and tablets. Like OnLive it will be playable almost everywhere.
The only potential issue which we need to keep our ears to the ground, is how will Playstation games be integrated into this? For those of you that don't know the gory tech talk behind game platforms, I shall explain very briefly. Playstation games are developed for Playstation hardware, it is a different language and set of hardware to what is used by PC's. PC's use intel based processors and NVidia graphics and this is the tech behind the GaiKai servers. Meaning that Playstation games designed on different hardware will have to be run on different servers or emulated somehow to work on the Gaikai servers for playing back. This could be very expensive for Sony as all of their new hardware like Vita, run on AMD processors. However they work this out, let's hope that a better selection of the back catalog is available than we current have with PS Store.
So the big question is now. Do we all jump ship from OnLive? It is rumored that Microsoft are looking to purchase OnLive for themselves. Perhaps not, perhaps the greatest thing about Android is that you can have the best of all worlds. Including decades of retro gaming with emulators. As we are not an official Sony Mobile website and are impartial, we can pick and chose to have whatever service we want here. Maybe we will add a Gaikai section next to Onlive. Who knows, but we have a long time to wait to find out these answers. Anything could happen between now and then but rest assured knowing that we'll bring you the important updates on this when anything emmerges.
Why not check out our review of OnLive and learn what Cloud based gaming is all about.