Sony buys Gaikai for $380m!


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Flying_Pig
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While I recall some rumours from around E3 about an agreement between Sony and Gaikai, I don't think anyone really saw this coming.

Presents some interesting possibilities for both current and future hardware - are we going to see virtual backward compatibility via cloud on PS3/Vita, or is the PS4 going to be a cheap, low powered console, with all of the serious processing done centrally?

My thoughts is that the b/c option is the most likely, as it could also work across PCs and tablets, although we'd obviously be expected to pay for these games all over again.

As for PS4 - I don't think the broadband speeds/infrastructure is sufficient to deliver a 'next-gen' experience purely through cloud gaming.

Glad to see Sony trying something different and it could be really interesting.

EG Story here
#1 at 14:28:58 - 02/07/2012
peej
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Flying_Pig said:

As for PS4 - I don't think the broadband speeds/infrastructure is sufficient to deliver a 'next-gen' experience purely through cloud gaming.



That. Right there. Not in this country anyway. Hopefully as mad as Sony are, they're not that fucking mad!
#2 at 14:46:50 - 02/07/2012
Flying_Pig
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Agree - while I think cloud gaming may be a genuine rival to having the kit at home, we're probably 10+ years away.

Heck - even streaming TV/Films can be dodgy at times.

But then streaming games from the PS1/PS2 generations, where everything was relatively low-res anyway, should be within reach from a tech perspective. I'm just unsure whether people (me) would be willing to play 5-10 to play last-gen games on their new hardware.

Expanding to tablets/smartphones has to be the real aim...?
#3 at 15:15:54 - 02/07/2012
NewYork
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Cloud gaming (as an exclusive medium) will never happen as long as consoles are global products.
#4 at 15:21:40 - 02/07/2012
Whizzo
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It's nice to see Sony have $380M to piss away on something that they'll eventually realise is a pointless exercise.

Unless they discover tachyons to get around those pesky things called the laws of physics.
#5 at 15:28:15 - 02/07/2012
frod
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I find cloud gaming to be fucking horrible, and my setup could not be more optimal for it.
#6 at 15:35:07 - 02/07/2012
billdoor
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I regularly get 80-90% of the headline speed on my 50meg virgin connection and we still get buffering issues with iPlayer, which I think is a Virgin traffic shaping problem. I imagine this sort of gaming service would be even worse.
#7 at 15:43:31 - 02/07/2012
NewYork
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Could it be possible (or useful at all) to make a kind of hybrid game, where all essential processing is done locally (so the game plays exactly as a normal console game would) while optional non-essential processing could be handled remotely?

This would mean without a net connection you would still be able to play a standard version of the game locally, but if you add in cloud processing, you could get, say, an aesthetic boost to your game, or additional complexity.
#8 at 15:52:04 - 02/07/2012
peej
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I can fully understand the appeal of cloud gaming to companies like Sony but I've got to wonder at pissing $380 million away on something like this. As others have said, I bet David Perry was laughing all the way to the bank because surely Gaikai wasn't making that much money.

That's a hell of a chunk of dough though, surely even $380 Million would be a substantial chunk of cash to invest in the next piece of gaming hardware. Wouldn't cover the complete overall cost but fuck, it'd probably cover a few bits.
#9 at 15:53:37 - 02/07/2012
frod
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You can actually get up and running in World of Warcraft pretty quickly now (it took a few minutes on my connection), as it streams in the content as you need it and downloads in the background.

Likewise systems such as Steam pre-loading have vastly underutilised potential as well.

Given the improvements in smartphone GPU technology that don't seem to be letting up any time soon, I'd anticipate that you could stick a passively cooled GPU in any device you can think of that could do superior image quality to these live streaming things. I just don't foresee it as the inevitability that others seem to.

One hour of Onlive streaming is about 2GB of data.

peej said:I can fully understand the appeal of cloud gaming to companies like Sony but I've got to wonder at pissing $380 million away on something like this. As others have said, I bet David Perry was laughing all the way to the bank because surely Gaikai wasn't making that much money.

That's a hell of a chunk of dough though, surely even $380 Million would be a substantial chunk of cash to invest in the next piece of gaming hardware. Wouldn't cover the complete overall cost but fuck, it'd probably cover a few bits.


I'd imagine it was making quite a lot of money out of venture capital, I guess what Sony have paid for is a lot of technology in data centres and valuable knowledge and experience.
#10 at 15:55:05 - 02/07/2012
peej
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frod said:

One hour of Onlive streaming is about 2GB of data.


.


That's going to cause a lot of problems for folk with a harshly administered cap on their dls (yep, amazingly there are still folk out there who will put up with BT / TalkTalk and others imposing such shite). That aside from the bandwidth shaping could mean that any cloud gaming service is destined to be something that only a very few gamers will ever be able to indulge in as intended.

#11 at 16:05:28 - 02/07/2012
Flying_Pig
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#12 at 21:44:09 - 02/07/2012
ilmaestro
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#13 at 21:57:31 - 02/07/2012
ilmaestro
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I don't think Sony has bought this to stick in the PS4 environment on 12 months' notice, so I wouldn't worry about what the broadband landscape is like now at all in the context of how well this would work.
#14 at 21:59:03 - 02/07/2012
nekotcha
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I wouldn't underestimate how much of a compromise on quality people are prepared to make in return for not needing to buy dedicated hardware, games at 40 a pop and the inconvenience of waiting for demos and patches to download. Just as a lot of gamers thought the Wii stood no chance because it didn't offer the most cutting-edge graphics possible at the time, most of us here might find the idea of a glitchy, stuttering streaming game abhorrent, but I don't think the vast majority of people will have nearly so much of an issue with it.

That said, there's plenty of opportunity for Sony to mess it up with, for example, ridiculous pricing policies though.
#15 at 17:43:45 - 03/07/2012
peej
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Unless it's a netflix-like single sub per month for 'unlimited' play, it's going to be a dismal failure. I've not looked into the pricing but I can imagine this being one area Sony would stuff up on, given what they charge for full game downloads on PSN.
#16 at 17:48:44 - 03/07/2012
Dragul
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EU rules publishers cannot stop you reselling your downloaded games/software

This makes Sony buying Gaikai more interesting (for Sony at least).

I wonder how Valve, EA, Sony, Microsoft and others will react/comply with this rulling!
#17 at 18:29:27 - 03/07/2012
ilmaestro
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nekotcha said:but I don't think the vast majority of people will have nearly so much of an issue with it.

I think they will when they realize they keep on getting killed without knowing what happened in Call of Duty. :)
#18 at 18:48:11 - 03/07/2012
frod
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nekotcha said:I wouldn't underestimate how much of a compromise on quality people are prepared to make in return for not needing to buy dedicated hardware, games at 40 a pop


I doubt very much if either of these will come true.

Sony are a hardware company, and modern games absolutely require $60 * 3 million units to break even. Altering the distribution model will not make much difference there.
#19 at 23:27:23 - 03/07/2012
Flying_Pig
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It wasn't that long ago that distribution of TV/Films over the internet was not considered realistic, and while it's still a small part of the market, it's growing pretty quickly.

I think the cloud gaming thing will be used as a complementary service alongside the traditional console gaming model - i.e. something which forms part of the PS+ package, replacing the free full game downloads, or used primarily for streaming demos etc

Could it also be used to deliver PC-exclusive content to Playstation hardware, or visa-versa?

At least Sony's trying something different...
#20 at 10:50:19 - 04/07/2012
frod
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Films and TV do not suffer any penalty from being streamed, they can be buffered to smooth out connectivity blips and they are also be pre-encoded to provide a much better picture quality than a live stream. I don't think the comparison is a valid one.

The demos idea has been suggested before but what use is a demo that is laggy and of poorer image quality than the disc version?

The beauty of having a streaming infrastructure is complete device-independence, you just need a bit of hardware to decode the video, which is very simple these days. Theoretically it should be the end of the hardware exclusives and expensive upgrade cycles.

But you just know that if it takes off we'll have the Microsoft Livebox, the PS Gaikaistation and the Nintendo Supermarionation machine.
#21 at 11:53:08 - 04/07/2012
Flying_Pig
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frod said:Nintendo Supermarionation machine.


I'd buy one of those!! :D
#22 at 15:31:59 - 04/07/2012
nekotcha
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frod said:
nekotcha said:I wouldn't underestimate how much of a compromise on quality people are prepared to make in return for not needing to buy dedicated hardware, games at 40 a pop


I doubt very much if either of these will come true.

Sony are a hardware company, and modern games absolutely require $60 * 3 million units to break even. Altering the distribution model will not make much difference there.


Sony may be a hardware company but they, like many other hardware companies, would like to make the transition to being a service provider (at least in part), because it's lower risk and (if you'll excuse the business-speak) diversifies their revenues streams.

I would be very surprised if they weren't also looking at the free to play model and wondering if that could be made to work with a cloud distribution system. I think that's still very much unproven for 'proper' console titles - and I don't necessarily think that just because a few games have made a lot of money from it on iOS that it necessarily applies to PS4 games or whatever - but they'll definitely be looking into it.
#23 at 21:47:40 - 04/07/2012
Dragul
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But Sony is already a service/content provider (Films, games and music at least).


nekotcha said:
I would be very surprised if they weren't also looking at the free to play model and wondering if that could be made to work with a cloud distribution system. I think that's still very much unproven for 'proper' console titles - and I don't necessarily think that just because a few games have made a lot of money from it on iOS that it necessarily applies to PS4 games or whatever - but they'll definitely be looking into it.


They already started testing the waters with Free Realms and DC Online on the F2P MMO. Soon PlanetSide 2 will also be F2P.

How will Gaikai and F2P work? Wouldn't it increase the costs on F2P server side?
#24 at 22:44:18 - 04/07/2012
nekotcha
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Dragul said:
They already started testing the waters with Free Realms and DC Online on the F2P MMO. Soon PlanetSide 2 will also be F2P.

How will Gaikai and F2P work? Wouldn't it increase the costs on F2P server side?


Why would it increase costs? Just because of the increased number of players? Given that the idea behind F2P is that the more people play your game, the more people will spend money on it, that's likely to be a risk they would tolerate.
#25 at 10:19:42 - 05/07/2012
Dragul
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nekotcha said:
Dragul said:
They already started testing the waters with Free Realms and DC Online on the F2P MMO. Soon PlanetSide 2 will also be F2P.

How will Gaikai and F2P work? Wouldn't it increase the costs on F2P server side?


Why would it increase costs? Just because of the increased number of players? Given that the idea behind F2P is that the more people play your game, the more people will spend money on it, that's likely to be a risk they would tolerate.


I was looking that all the power of processing and bandwide on the server side would have to increase (bigger power consumption, bigger heat production, more need for cooling, I don't know...)

Anyway, I just hope that something good for us come out of this... I getting tired of being on the side that gets it up the arse (I'm looking at you Diablo 3, Ubisoft PC and a few others)...
#26 at 12:14:37 - 05/07/2012
ilmaestro
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I thought the idea of F2P was make mechanically repetitive and intellectually unengaging game > sell character skins to people who spend all day on Facebook?
#27 at 13:21:46 - 05/07/2012
Binky
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Just tried Gaikai for myself.
That's some clever shit right there.
#28 at 17:50:11 - 05/07/2012
peej
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I had a go last night because they have a pretty extensive Dead Island demo on there. It's like gaming while drunk!

Played on a Mac with the normal PC style control interface and though the lag's not actually as bad as previous times I've tried it, it still feels like you're a fraction of a second 'out' in your timing whenever you're doing anything. For some games this won't really matter. For a lot of action games it could be the difference between you dying and surviving so it could get frustrating real quickly.

Had real trouble optimising the stuff to get rid of tearing and the like too.

I definitely wouldn't bother with high-end games on this if this is the way gaming's going.
#29 at 09:31:58 - 06/07/2012
Binky
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For demos of games, or for adventure style games though, this is actually genius. ESPECIALLY for people that can't afford top tier gaming platforms!
#30 at 10:18:28 - 06/07/2012

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