After rumors that Gaikai was looking for buyers surfaced last month, they were subsequently followed by more rumors that a deal may be in the works between Sony and Gaikai. They were downplayed by both parties earlier this month, but reports are coming in now saying that Sony Computer Entertainment has bought Gaikai for $380 million.
SCE president Andrew House spoke on the purchase by Sony:
“By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences… SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”
Gaikai CEO David Perry also added:
“SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide… We’re honoured to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”
Previously, Gaikai has been used to host numerous games from Electronic Arts and Ubisoft and has partnered with companies such as Samsung and WikiPad.
Analysis: Despite previous rumors that the new Sony console in the next generation would be a streaming device primarily, I don’t see this pickup definitely cementing that rumor as fact. Until Internet connections that can keep up with the high requirements needed for cloud-based gaming are seen in 90% of the world, it would be a bad business decision for Sony to create a console that depends on cloud gaming primarily. Heck, I live in Australia and about fifteen minutes away from a major city, and I still don’t have Internet that can meet the demands of cloud gaming on a consistent basis. This country is amazing sometimes.
Now I’m not necessarily ruling out the feature altogether; I just don’t see it being available at launch. Personally, I would expect it to be made available via those good ol’ firmware updates Sony loves to have somewhere down the line. If anything, this purchase by Sony is proof that the company is taking cloud gaming very seriously.
Although we aren’t there yet, Sony is investing for the future, and it could pay off in a major way if they go about it the right way and beat their competitors to the punch. But as of right now, Sony hasn’t clarified on what exactly Gaikai’s resources will be put towards, so most of what’s out there is just speculation at this point.
Complete backwards compatibility, “timed” demos, and trials are three of the more predominant rumors buzzing around. I would be inclined to believe the latter two are more feasible than the first, but I wouldn’t really be surprised either way. As long as the next Sony console doesn’t make cloud gaming mandatory, the future certainly looks promising. Can we stop declaring the industry is doomed and get just a little bit excited for once?