51w ago - Update: It's now confirmed that Sony has acquired Gaikai for $380 million with the official press release below.
Press Release: Sony Computer Entertainment to Acquire Gaikai Inc., a Leading Interactive Cloud Gaming Company
SCE to Build a Cloud Service Bringing Gaikai's Cloud Based-Streaming Technologies into Its Network Business
TOKYO, July 2, 2012 PRNewswire - Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement on June 30, 2012 (Japan Time) to acquire Gaikai Inc., the world's leading interactive cloud-based gaming company, for approximately USD 380 million.
Through the acquisition, SCE will establish a new cloud service, ensuring that it continues to provide users with truly innovative and immersive interactive entertainment experiences.
"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," said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
"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."
"SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide," said David Perry, CEO of Gaikai Inc.
"We're honored 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."
Established in 2008 and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, Gaikai has developed the highest quality, fastest interactive cloud-streaming platform in the world that enables the streaming of quality games to a wide variety of devices via the Internet.
With this acquisition, SCE will establish a cloud service and expand its network business by taking full advantage of Gaikai's revolutionary technology and infrastructure including data centers servicing dozens of countries and key partners around the world.
The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
SCE will continue to aggressively expand a new world of entertainment through the introduction of innovative technologies and the delivery of amazing experiences.
Following up on our previous article, today a new rumor from GamesIndustry.biz (linked above) speculates that Sony may be bringing backwards compatibility of PS2 and PSOne titles to modern-day PlayStation (PS3, PS Vita, etc) devices with the supposed Gaikai cloud gaming deal set to be unveiled at E3 2012.
To quote: "Sony's rumoured cloud gaming deal with Gaikai is to allow current-generation hardware to play PlayStation 2 and PSOne games via a streaming solution, GamesIndustry International understands.
According to sources, the service will offer first-party games and be open to third-party publishers to sell back catalogue to players. The partnership is likely to be announced at E3 next week as part of Sony's conference on Monday.
Gaikai already has an extensive portfolio of video game partners that have been on board with CEO David Perry's vision since the service first went live, including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Capcom, but all titles so far have been for the PC format.
The appetite for PlayStation 2 games has been proven with collected HD releases of titles including Silent Hill, God of War, Devil May Cry and Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
The streaming games company has also signed up retailers like GAME and Best Buy, services such as YouTube, TV manufacturer LG and social network Facebook, and is expected to announce further partnerships next week.
It's not yet clear which Sony devices beyond the PlayStation 3 would get a Gaikai-supported game streaming service, but it could extend to Sony branded TVs and tablets.
A backwards compatibility offering at this stage in the PS3's lifecycle would also allow Sony to test streaming games before it goes fully next-gen with the release of the PlayStation 4."
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Sure you can buy the disk, but that doesn't matter. In order to actually play the game, you have to be connected to the internet at all times. Even in single player mode. I travel a lot, and used to play lots of games on the road, trains, air planes, hotels. With games like this I wouldn't even have the option of playing them, or would have to pay additional for an internet location in some places just to play the game I supposedly purchased.
It's disgusting really and I for one refuse to support companies that are going to produce games this way. As I said before, there are already more games available than I can play in my lifetime. I don't need whatever the hyped game of the month is and will vote with my wallet. There is no reason they could have allowed you to play the game while offline and then re-sync your account the next time you can get connected.
That's another reason these things stink. You can only play the game you supposedly purchased if the company decides to leave their servers up, which they are under no obligation to do.
There are going to be lots of unplayable games in the future, and I think that is pretty sad. Just like when Yahoo or Wal-mart or one of those companies (can't remember, think there has been a few) decided to get out of the MP3 business and shut down their DRM servers, all customers who purchased music through them couldn't play their music anymore. It's a load of B.S.
I've had a free subscription to OnLive and I live near Chicago where they own some servers. It means I experienced less latency than some other states but there was still split second lag between when you pressed a button and when things on screen happened. It's not bad but it makes FPS's annoying to play.
I actually played some UT3 using their service and it was laughable at best. The king of twitch based shooters being played with movement lag? Gross.
On the flip side, I also played through some hours of Batman Arkham Asylum which was completely playable. The movement lag is not less noticeable it's just more bearable.
At the time, OnLive wouldn't let me play with wireless. It would refuse me access unless I plugged in through ethernet. I've heard they allow wireless now but your results will vary with that. The picture quality is good but a little muddy. But, obviously, better than if you have a bad computer.
So, you pay for a subscription to OnLive and then you have to buy or rent games as well. It's the main reason I didn't keep up my subscription. There's free games and cheap packs of games as well as renting so it's not a complete money sink. It might not actually require a subscription anymore though looking at their site right now. I got a year for free and once that was up I cancelled my account. You all might be able to try out OnLive right now for yourselves.
One of the guys suggests Steam as the Cloud Service as opposed to OnLive or GaiKai, which is interesting. But like the other guy in that video, I immediately thought of OnLive (which I am a member of).
Cloud Gaming is a good thing and a bad thing IMO...
It's good because:
It removes the necessity of expensive hardware.
It removes the platform exclusivity issue (I see it as an issue anyway) and potentially allows everyone to play the same software regardless of the system!
Allows the potential for better (read: Cheaper) priced software.
It's bad because:
Countries with a poor internet infrastructure will suffer.
There will always be latency.
The legal grey area surrounding "ownership" of the software still needs to be refined. Since all software is licensed according to platform/system/region specifics, a similar license will need to be agreed when paying for the software.
As for actually using OnLive as a service I have found it to be a great alternative to console specific gaming. I personally buy games on OnLive that I wouldn't buy for console (RTS and Adventure style games). The pricing for the UK store seems fair, 3 day and 5 day renting commonly around £4-£5 with the full ownership price around £10-30 or a £7/month all you can play subscription.
As for ownership, there is a statement on their website that they will support games for a minimum of 3 years but for longer if it is a more popular game: