Discover cloud gaming with Gaikai
Gaikai is one of the world's leading cloud-based online gaming networks. It was founded in 2008 and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment since the middle of 2012. Sony purchased Gaikai for a reported price of approximately US$380 million in July of 2012. With over 200 available game titles and an estimated 50 million users per month, Gaikai is one of the Internet's largest and most popular providers of cloud-based gaming. Sony plans to aggressively ramp up Gaikai's capabilities in the coming months and years, as the technological capabilities of cloud-based computing technology continue to reach new heights.
An Overview of Gaikai's Service Capabilities
Gaikai's gaming service is based on a streaming model, allowing users to access games through external websites and a partnered network of microsites. Users do not have to download and install any game management clients or any form of specialized software, which is a rare feature in the world of digital game distribution. This characteristic is part of the reason the service enjoys such robust popularity with video game enthusiasts around the world.
Users can access Gaikai's game library through both advertising network and open platform models. The advertising network access point is the more widely used of the two modes. Here is how it works:
First, users interested in a particular game title can watch a game demo. When the game demo ends, users may choose one of three ways to purchase the game: through a traditional game retailer in the user's local area, through Gaikai's online store, or via a game downloading service that allows the user to save the game directly to his or her hard drive.
The open platform content access model permits users to stream games to their choice of Internet-connected devices, including smart TVs, smartphones, personal computers, and tablets. This model leverages video streaming technology, in which the actual game is on a powerful server hosting service that completes all the computing tasks required to run the game. When users enter game commands as they play, those commands are processed by their personal computer and relayed to the server. The server then enters them, records the results, and sends them back to the end user. The result is an illusory but completely seamless gameplay experience that allows users to play games, even if their own computers lack the processing power and speed to actually host them.
Additional Gaikai Service Features
Other important features of Gaikai's service include:
- An affiliate network which allows users to stream games on advertising portals, in exchange for a percentage of the ad revenue generated by those portals
- Integration with several other online gaming platforms, including Electronic Arts' Origin game distribution client, for the upload and download of YouTube videos, and a Facebook log in feature
- Compatibility with LED smart TVs, including AAA-rated premium game titles
Gaikai's Future After the Sony Acquisition
Following its acquisition by Sony Computer Entertainment, the gaming world was abuzz with news and rumors about Gaikai's future. Industry insiders and gamers were given a glimpse of the future in the autumn of 2012, when several of the top-selling and most popular PlayStation titles, including LittleBigPlanet, Infamous, and God of War became available through its online platform.
In early 2013, Sony announced that it had achieved reverse compatibility with its back catalog of PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 titles with the Gaikai cloud computing platform. This ensured that all the brand's older games would be available to customers purchasing the PlayStation 4, then a hotly anticipated upcoming product. Simultaneously, the company continued to develop and expand the capabilities of its cloud-based game streaming technology, moving towards second-generation functionality and an expanded library of available titles.