Samsung Enters Gaming Industry with New Gaikai-Based Streaming Service

Samsung announced its intention to enter the video game business at E3 this Tuesday with a new service called Samsung Cloud Gaming.

In order to help them enter the gaming business, Samsung will be teaming up with game-streaming service Gaikai in order to create a cloud-gaming technology that will stream games directly to a user’s television. By utilizing Gaikai’s streaming service, Samsung won’t have to sell consumers a new console. Instead, users will only need to hook up a USB-compatible game controller to a web-enabled Samsung Smart TV.

The official Gaikai press release gave the specifics on the new Samsung-Gaikai gaming joint venture:

Samsung will utilize Gaikai’s open cloud platform to launch game titles directly from the Samsung Smart Hub environment featured in high-end 2012 Smart TVs, beginning with the Samsung 7000 series and up 2012 LED Smart TVs. A diverse selection of AAA content appealing to both families and gamers alike will be available to instantly play using game controllers in combination with the Samsung Smart TV.

David Perry, chief executive of Gaikai, said the following about Samsung’s bid into the video game industry.

Samsung will become a first party and we will power their game network. They will be the fourth major company. They are going after gaming.

Perry went on to further comment that Samsung has made deals with thirty-seven different game publishers to provide titles to the new Samsung service.

Samsung intends to send beta invites for the new service this month to owners of Samsung’s Smart TVs. A live hands-on video demo of Samsung Cloud Gaming can be seen here on Engadget.

Samsung is a Seoul-based electronics and heavy industry giant that reported $38.5 billion USD in revenue last quarter. The company is primarily known to consumers for their mobile phones and televisions.


Analysis: We have good news and bad news with this. The good news is that you can now get AAA games in a console-like environment without actually having to buy a console. The bad news is that you need to buy a Samsung Smart TV that’s of the 7000 series or higher, which is not cheap. In fact, the cheapest qualifying Smart TV is going for $2200 USD on Sears.com. That’s a high price tag.

So this new gaming venture obviously isn’t for everyone. If you’re worried about price, then it’s obviously much cheaper to go out and buy a console and grab all the titles you want for it. Unless you’re also in the market for a new television, you’re just not going to save money here.

However, Samsung is a savvy company with a stunningly impressive corporate portfolio, and Gaikai is a very good quality service that really does do some impressive stuff, so it’s very difficult to discount them when they say they want to have a go at the gaming industry. The idea behind the cloud gaming service is remarkably exciting, and if anybody has the knowhow and technological capability to make it a reality, it’s these guys. Of course, there’s always the concern that such high-load streaming could induce lag in multiplayer games, but we’re talking about a world-class electronics titan and one of the most impressive streaming services out there, so I wouldn’t worry too much. If you’re that frightened that Samsung doesn’t know what they’re doing, then you might want to try not flying—they make airplane parts, too.

The real question here is, will this new service allow Samsung to enter the console industry as the fourth major player and compete directly with the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo? I think the answer is mixed. On one hand, I do think that this could very well be a quality service that allows you to play AAA games without having to buy a console. On the other hand, the service is locked behind the prohibitively expensive high-end Samsung Smart TV line. If Samsung makes more affordable televisions that support the Gaikai-fueled streaming service in the future, then maybe this could be huge. Until then, this will certainly make a splash, but it won’t be enough to drown anybody.

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Connor Horn

About Connor Horn

Connor is a laid-back long-haired California hipster who listens to music "you'll never find on the radio" and who voted for Ron Paul to "make a difference." His favorite kind of games are MOBAs and rogue-likes, and he is a huge fan of PC gaming and the future of digital distribution.