Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 1, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 1, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Sony enters the cloud with Gaikai acquisition
Sony enters the cloud with Gaikai acquisition
July 2, 2012 | By Mike Rose

July 2, 2012 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    49 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Sony Computer Entertainment put a significant foot forward into the cloud gaming space today, as it revealed that it has signed an agreement to acquire game streaming service Gaikai.

Gaikai, along with OnLive, is one of the biggest players in the burgeoning cloud gaming market. Various publishers and even Sony have previously predicted that game streaming will play a huge role in the industry's future, as it allows consumers to play titles almost immediately without installation.

Through this acquisition, Sony is planning to build its own new cloud gaming service using Gaikai's resources. The deal cost Sony approximately $380 million, subject to "certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions."

It was rumored earlier this month that Gaikai was looking for a buyer, although the reports indicated that the company was looking for well over $500 million. It was also rumored that Sony would reveal its acquisition of Gaikai at E3, but no such announcement was made at the event, and Gaikai declined to comment on those rumors to Gamasutra.

Andrew House, president and CEO of SCE, explained that the company will now look to deliver cloud gaming and other streaming content on "a variety of internet-connected devices."

He added that SCE is planning to "aggressively expand" its entertainment offerings through the introduction of this technology.


Related Jobs

Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[10.01.14]

UI Lead - Raven
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[10.01.14]

Senior Game Designer - Infinity Ward
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[10.01.14]

Senior AI Engineer - Infinity Ward
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[10.01.14]

Gameplay Animation Engineer - Infinity Ward










Comments


Phil Nolan
profile image
Very sad news for Sony and it's customers.

Doug Poston
profile image
Because Sony improving its game services is bad?

Doug Poston
profile image
@Lex: Not going to disagree with you there. ;) But should they just stop trying?

William Johnson
profile image
I'm a bit surprised. I didn't think Sony even had the money to go after a very new market, like cloud gaming. I guess Sony is going to be betting big on this. Though they did seem to get a pretty sweet deal on Gaikai. I really thought Gaikai was worth more then that.

Alex Nichiporchik
profile image
Soo...

PlayStation 3 gets a firmware upgrade

All of a sudden you can stream games for free with your PS+ account

At next E3 they announce that the next generation is now. Only on the current hardware. Because you don't need new hardware, you can stream new gen games.

Bam - Sony is back at the top of their game again.

Or they just butcher Gaikai into non-existence :(

Vincent Hyne
profile image
I wonder how long it will take Microsoft to buy OnLive, especially with the head guy there being essentially their agent.

Not long now I reckon.

Brandon Sheffield
profile image
microsoft has steadily been building its own cloud business - not as aggressively for streaming of games yet, but you can save games to the cloud, and they already do have scalable servers for game back ends at the very least. I've seen it in action, and my guess is they'll just keep pushing that rather than trying to buy, but I suppose they could try to take a leap.

Vincent Hyne
profile image
But even down to the name.

XboxLive

OnLive.

The guy that founded OnLive already sold pretty much everything that he created to Microsoft before, and there was also that chummy thing going on with the license for remote desktops or whatever or other.

Seems to me it's not even a matter of time, just a matter of price. With Sony moving on Gaikai, it's pretty certain Microsoft will want to compensate.

After all, the idea is to halt and stifle streaming technology as much as possible and shove it to the backburner while another round of planned consoles does a seven year stint.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
So does this mean no next gen systems? Is the Wii-U just under the wire before cloud gaming takes over? How can a prospective PS4 and Xbox 720 ever hope to sell on a power proposal if all the current systems can/will scale forever on cloud driven graphics?

Travis Griggs
profile image
Have you tried playing a steaming cloud game? Its pretty bad lag, unless our internet speeds become better in the US at least, cloud gaming is only good for turn-based games imo. I'll tale a dedicated system any day.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
I've tried it, and was surprised at how playable it really was. Honestly, the television is often the biggest source of lag in the system, as was rather neatly demonstrated in digital foundry's analysis of the Wii U, and with the right coding I've seen it neatly sacrifice resolution and compression quality in order to prioritize low latency delivery, and I expect these technological advances to continue.

I'm not saying the limitations aren't there, but it's fair to say that broadband access is pretty much universal now, so that level of infrastructure has at least become standard, as has HDTVs and wireless networking at home. I expect that, not immediately, but within the next cycle, low latency infrastructure will go from premium access to universal. Moreover, with a big investment like this, and the backing of a major vertically integrated partner like Sony, we really can expect to see local datacentres popping up all over the world, cutting the latency dramatically. If they're say planning this as the basis for the PS4, then considering a late 2014 release, there would be enough early adopter users with high grade connections to sustain initial install base growth and then install base would grow approximately in tandem with high grade infrastructure adoption.

Here's a suggestion harkening back to the early days of PS3: Folding at home was able to use the spare computing power of PS3s in standby, and was able to harness so much power that it grew to the largest computational platform on the planet. Some suggested that Sony could sell this compute time to governments/corporations and such, and in return, subsidize purchase price of the PS3 to the gamer if they agreed to leave their machines switched on? Could that potentially work here? The 90% of the time your machine is off can be used to help render the 10% of the time that fellow users' machines are on in a big controlled P2P network? The benefit of course being that users on your local exchange can keep the latency low at all times.

Look, I'll take a dedicated machine too. But not every day. The potential power, convenience, theoretical variety of game experiences that could be available and the technology's upward trajectory are too enticing to turn my nose up at, just as I'm constantly reminded by proponents of mobile gaming.

Nooh Ha
profile image
I wonder how they got to $380m. Am guessing there was a bidding war of sorts...

Mark Venturelli
profile image
Hmmm it's getting interesting!

Bruno Xavier
profile image
"We want 250m... So tell the press we want 500m and let the show beging..."
Winning!

Andy Lunique
profile image
This is really exciting, I've used Gaikai and spoken to some of the reps, the plans they have for this are crazy interesting. If done properly it will put Sony at a different angle of success within the industry.

Armando Marini
profile image
Without this purchase, Sony would quickly lose their hardware business. Investing in Gaikai precludes the investment in a completely new console. Smart move on their part.

Eric Geer
profile image
I'm not sure I want this at all. This is like alway on-line DRM. Except if your internet is down you can't even get to the menu screen. I don't mind this if it is a follow-on service. But if this is a sole service and no hard copy games/or dedicated games are available, I'm out.

Hakim Boukellif
profile image
Agreed. Although I don't think there's any risk of that happening any time soon, unless they intend to cover the entire developed world in datacenters and offer a high-speed internet connection with their service.

Jeremy Parsons
profile image
They might use it to make digital purchases more appealing (which would cut down on tade-ins). You wanna buy that 14 gig game they put up for sale the day it releases in stores, because staying on the couch is more comfortable than getting up? Well now you start playing immediately, and the game gets placed in your background downloads to download when you're not playing.

Duong Nguyen
profile image
This opens up several new genres of games as well.

One is a massive FPS ( 1000+ players ) is now possible since everyone will have the same hardware and essentially be running on the same "local network". I noticed this behavior playing FPS games Onlive and also added perk, cheatproof FPS.

Also if they open up the API, hybrid games are also possible such as a MMO where part of the rendering is done remotely and locally allowing for all players to play the game on "max" settings. Essentially a MMO which looks better than Skyrim for everyone on any device.

Jeremy Alessi
profile image
Great move, this helps everyone all the way around. Truly hardware agnostic experiences, protection from piracy, no lengthy downloads/waiting, hopefully cheap all you can play business model (a la Netflix) that encourages players to diversify.

Carlo Delallana
profile image
What happens when I hit my bandwidth cap?

Bob White
profile image
Don't ask silly questions like that! Just obliviously enjoy that 5-7 days of gaming/Netflixing you'll have at the beginning of every month and find something to do outside for the last three weeks. See! that wasn't so bad was it....oh wait, that sounds terrible.

Doug Poston
profile image
You find a service without a bandwidth cap.

I know that sounds like shit when you live in a place that doesn't have un-capped service, but the modern world is going to continue to use more bandwidth, not less.

Harlan Sumgui
profile image
Get involved in the political system of your country and lose the hipster cynicism. (not directed at you in particular, but just people in general who have given up on making things better using the tools at hand, even if those tools are inadequate).

For example, AUS is building an amazing infrastructure a la Korea. Internet is fast and cheap in many countries, including countries such as Bulgaria and Romania.

Duong Nguyen
profile image
Same thing which would happen if u streamed too many movies or TV shows. Consumers will vote with their wallet, if they want to be fleeced by cable companies who really just pay cents on the gigabyte anyways and mark up the price of transmission 100k times, let them.

Doug Poston
profile image
To be even more blunt, if you live in a place that doesn't have unlimited*, affordable bandwidth then you're going to be left behind. Not just for entertainment, but for business, education, social, and political involvement.

(* nothing is truly 'unlimited', but you shouldn't have to think twice about a data cap).

Ben Rice
profile image
I don't understand why there's so much discord here. If Sony only used Gaikai for streaming of their hour-long full game demos, that alone would make me try every single one of them (as opposed to a 12+GB download).
Sure, they could go restrictive DRM cloud purchases. But isn't this exactly what Steam is, minus the streaming?
Also hopefully they learned with the PSP GO, when hitting an emerging market in that you will need both technologies to succeed. In this case, that would mean providing disc and PSN based purchases, in addition to their cloud service (stream my PSN games to my Vita with cloud saves? I can only hope).

Harlan Sumgui
profile image
Exactly. I see so much upside here. Sure, hyper fast twitch games will not be possible; but in exchange, people will get the ability to play console quality games with really really cheap hardware, possibly only needing a so-called smart tv.

If the mobile gaming scene has proven anything, it is that putting games onto non-gaming specific platforms is a great way to expand the market.

Matt Ployhar
profile image
@Vincent: I'd be really surprised if Msft bought Onlive. As opposed to 'rolling their own'. Msft would be most interested in whomever has the best/defendable patents in this space.

I've heard some people having a good experience with either Gaikai or Onlive; and quite a few people with bad experiences. What we have to remember is that the US actually has somewhat crappy up/down bandwidths. If you can make a streaming solution work here... you might be able to make it work much better in other Geo's.

I'm with-holding judgment on 'Streaming'. Seems like we're still very much in a 1.0 phase for it. So... what does that look like in 10 years?

Duong Nguyen
profile image
10 years everything will be wireless 7G and the concept of a "cable" would be as antiquated as the concept of reading books on "paper". 100% network up time would be the norm. Even though the implantable / wearable / mobile devices will still be quite powerful most of the heavy lifting will be done at giant data centers.

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
@Duong Nguyen

I don't think cable is going anywhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwidth_allocation

Doug Poston
profile image
@Duong: As much as I would like to live in your future, I think it's going to take more than 10 years for everyone to get there.

"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." - Gibson

Merc Hoffner
profile image
@ Luis Guimaraes

I raise you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_angular_momentum_multiplexin
g
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking

Duong Nguyen
profile image
As others noted, technology marches on, spectrum allocation isn't an issue imo, there are many ways to increase bandwidth without more spectrum. As for the book analogy of course people will still read paper books but in 10 years there will be an entire generation grown up on tablets and wireless technology, paper books will become even more anachronistic.

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
@Merc Hoffner

Nice stuff, Thanks!

Ron Dippold
profile image
As far as I know, the Gaikai stuff renders PC games on a GeForce based compute grid.

Can they really render the PS3's bizarro architecture on that with sufficient speed? The GPU is Nvidia, but the Cell seems crazy hard unless they just stick some Cells on a board.

Or is this a signal that the PS4 will actually have a semi-normal PC like architecture (we've already had some hints)?

William Johnson
profile image
All they need to do is make the PS3 run a Java Runtime. I can't imagine that really being that difficult. Or they just make their own custom decoder for the PS3 in whatever language the PS3 runs.

Ron Dippold
profile image
@William: Sorry, I meant it the other way around. I don't think the PS3 should have any problem at all being a Gaikai client (they've already got a Javaless Google NaCl client).

But I don't see how the Gaikai backend could serve up any Cell-based games.

Doug Poston
profile image
@Ron: The rumor I heard was that they were going to use Gaikai to stream PS and PS2 games to PS3 and Vita hardware. I image they can emulate those older games on general purpose hardware.

If Sony plays their cards right, they can continue selling PS3s at lower and lower prices which can continue to play PS3 games locally, plus stream old and new games from Gaikai.

Or they can ditch the consumer PS3, come up with a cheap streaming solution (it could be included in their TVs), and run specialized cell hardware at their server centers to run PS3 games.

Or they can do some combination of the two (e.g. include Gaikai with all new Sony TVs but still sell the PS3 and/or PS4 for 'hardcore' players).

Merc Hoffner
profile image
There's no reason that for the purposes of running PS3 software they couldn't 'simply' build servers with integrated Cell processors to handle the CPU functions (a bit redundant I'll admit). Such integrated solution have already been built and pushed by IBM in supercomputers and as I understand it, Cell architecture was designed for tasks to be splittable between several Cells from the get-go. They still get massive per/die efficiency gains from pushing parts to full capacity 100% of the time instead of nearly full capacity 10% of the time, and would then run translated GPU code on more modern parts. Of course that's simply for compatibility purposes. For most games you'd simply run the PC code. By having a server hardware mix, one could run basically any software, developed on any architecture, at the developer's discretion.

Robb Lewis
profile image
I should hope Sony doesn't just treat this as a cheap way to deliver game demos, combining the multi-device reach of GaiKai and the content of Sony affords some very creative cross-platform engagement opportunities. Nice move Sony and congrats Dave Perry!.

Philip Michael Norris
profile image
That was quick

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Doug Poston
profile image
I don't think they're going to give up physical media overnight. They'll roll this out slowly, much like Netflix is moving away from physical DVDs to streaming.

It takes time to set something like this up. I still think there's a good chance that they'll ship a 'PS4' which will run local and cloud based games.

Marcus Miller
profile image
Moves like this will help put Sony back on top.

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
People still fail to consider the possibilities of hybrid graphics computing coming from streaming. If you make an engine that fully supports this concept, there's a lot more than just stream the game screen. It also varies a lot depending on the kind of gaming it is.

Gern Blanston
profile image
-Sony streams TV and movie content, creating an alternative to Netflix.
-Sony streams PS1, PS2 (and potentially other) games instantly to broadband users.
-Sony streams game demos, videos, extras, etc. instantly as well.
-Plus more creative streaming/cloud services that I (and we) have yet to think of.

I'm not sure I understand why any gamer is against this. This can only be good for the end consumer as well as bringing attention and reputation to the Playstation brand. This helps gaming, how can anyone be against more options and services? I'm taken aback by the negative comments on this page.

Bob White
profile image
The reason you see so much negativity/skepticism is simple. When great innovations like this come along Big corporations tend to twist and bend it into something that ends up hurting the consumer more than helping.

For example: The PS4 now has built in Gaikai streaming. Unfortunately this replaced your standard hard disc/card interface and you now have one choice for gaming. Stream or else.

If all companies follow suit kiss your once beloved industry goodbye. Not everyone likes this idea, BUT if enough dopes support it they will see that as a green light to start making massive changes in the delivery of games. Plain and simple. Mark my words this new acquisition of Sony's will quickly turn into just another way to milk the average mindless consumer out of their money/rights/freedom as an American consumer.


none
 
Comment: