Gaikai and Sony, A Match Made in Heaven
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Sony just purchased Gaikai, the online game streaming service for 380 million USD. Make no bones about it, this is a big deal. Now, don’t expect to be able to play all of your favorite PS3 games on the cloud tomorrow, because this is simply just an acquisition. However, the potential of this partnership seems almost limitless with people talking about how this could make the entire playstation legacy library eternally backwards compatible. Another very interesting twist to this, is that now Sony has a fantastic means to deliver their playstation mobile service to htc’s devices (thank you One x).
Probably the most important development to come out of this, however, is that, barring any major screwups, Sony has firmly secured their future in the video game industry. Following E3 I was quite honestly a little worried about where Sony’s place would be 5 years down the line. I mean, as much as I love Sony and its exclusives, I know that with the rapidly changing technology landscape, exclusives alone wouldn’t be able to carry it. That being said, I am ecstatic with this recent development and am now much more sure of Sony’s bright future.
Microsoft and Onlive?
Now for the big question, now that Sony has acquired itself a video game streaming service will Microsoft follow suit? Another interesting angle to this whole development is that, for once, Sony is bringing an innovative new experience to their platforms first. In the past, Microsoft has pretty consistently beat Sony to the punch when it came to delivering services like Netflix, HBOGo, and SmartGlass. On top of that, the fact that Gaikai is a gaming service shows consumers just how committed to the gamer Sony truly is. Now that the ball is in Microsoft’s court, will they purchase Onlive?
My answer? Doubtful, in spite of the leaked documents showing how seriously they considered buying them, I think that Microsoft missed the boat on that one. Especially since they already used up their allowance money on Yammer. However, don’t count out a partnership with Onlive. Microsoft has shown that their hardware is robust enough to handle a plethora of varied services on the Xbox 360, and the Gaikai acquisition has no doubt forced Microsoft to reconsider their position on cloud gaming.
(Update) A recent quote from a Microsoft representative seems to imply that they have something in the works. ”We’re committed to delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences across devices in a uniquely connected way through Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and other popular devices, and we’re looking forward to continuing to innovate in this space in the future.” It is entirely possible that they could be developing their own technology independent of Onlive or any other current cloud gaming service. Regardless, it looks like Microsoft isn’t going to take this sitting down.