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Full game streaming coming to Gaikai within months

Mon 23 Jan 2012 8:00am GMT / 3:00am EST / 12:00am PST
BusinessOnline

After Facebook, cloud gaming service will unlock full games across entire global network, confirms Perry

Gaikai's David Perry has told GamesIndustry.biz that streaming of full games - not just demos - via the cloud gaming service is ready to go live within months.

The immediate priority is to put cloud gaming on Facebook as revealed last week, but following that, users will be able to play entire games across a network of sites that includes YouTube, Best Buy and games publishers such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.

"If you give me your game today I can put your game in front of more than 100 million people, easily. Quite honestly if we put you on the homepage of YouTube right now on it's own, you're already hitting that number," said Perry in an interview published today.

With the launch of on the social network imminent, Perry added that full game streaming will go live in "about three months from when Facebook launches, about 90 days from that," adding "I'm not aware of any technical hurdles we have that would stop it."

I don't want to take your console from your cold dead hands. You're going to continue to play the way you play.

David Perry, Gaikai

The only real competitor with full game streaming is OnLive, which requires users to use either its Micro Console or one of the recently released apps for Android, but according to Perry that company also has an issue where it has to modify the code of any game it runs on the service - not a problem for Gaikai.

"There's a very big difference between the way we're doing it and the way OnLive is doing it. They have to modify the game, they have to get the source code to the game. Gaikai doesn't require modification of the game.

"To give you an example The Witcher II was given to us and them at the same time. We went live with Witcher II immediately and now four or five months later they still don't have that live, and that's because they have to touch the code. The whole structure of Gaikai is about not touching the code. When we show World of Warcraft it's the real thing, it's not like we had to go and tweak it to get it to work. That means that every game in history remains compatible with our solution."

With Gaikai up and running on such a huge global network, some in the games industry are pointing towards a possible acquisition of the company by one of the big format holders to incorporate cloud gaming into the next generation of home hardware. But Perry suggests that regardless of his own compay's future, all big businesses that have a reliance on triple-A product would be foolish to ignore the possibilities of cloud gaming.

"You do not want to be the console that can't do this. You do not want to be the retail website that doesn't have playable games on it. You don't want to be the gaming website that you can't buy a game from," he said.

"[Console manufacturers] have got to take it seriously because it's better for consumers. I would play a lot more games if I fired up my Xbox, clicked on a game and it started playing straight away. I don't want to take your console from your cold dead hands, that's not the case at all. You're going to continue to play the way you play, but just imagine that you could have an opinion on all games because you've been able to try all of them. Each evening, flick through four or five games that just came out."

The full interview with David Perry, where he also discusses reducing friction to players, the last generation of games consoles and optimising Gaikai for tablets, can be read here.

8 Comments

Harrison Smith
Studying Games and Graphics Programming

75 4 0.1
"We experienced an unexpected technical problem and were unable to start the GAIKAI game service. Please try again."

Better result over, you have crap internet sorry, but this is the big hurdle cloud faces. If I bought my game on a cloud service and I get above and unable to play, I would be an unhappy customer. Cloud appears to be a great for demos, since you aren't paying for it and no waiting for the demo to download is a massive +, but for full game purchases? At this time it would be better possibility to work along side the current Digital distribution model (steam, d2d, orgin etc) by allowing gamer who bought the game to straight away play and when done for the time being download the game (or download while playing?) and as an option for playing the game in the future for when you are on another computer etc. Because at the end of the day you want to play what you paid for and nothing is worst when you cant because of some crappy DRM, or your internet died.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Joćo Namorado
Project Manager

52 23 0.4
Hi Harrisson,

You are missing the point of cloud gaming, which is to let you play AAA games without the need for a high end PC nor constant hardware upgrades. There are pros and cons to this technical solution, as with others, but with cloud gaming you can still play your games in any PC.

Internet speed and stability is the main issue, hence the importance of partnering with ISPs: if the service is integrated and tweaked to a quality network the result is great and reliable.

Please note these are my personal comments on this matter and not necessarily those of my company.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Rodney Smith
Developer

81 40 0.5
Just tried it for the first time (Crysis 2) on my laptop (c2d 2.5) with 50 meg broadband. Its ok but a bit flaky. Nowhere near as good as ps3 running it native.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

John Bye
Senior Game Designer

480 451 0.9
PS+ offers full game trials where you can play a game for an hour for free. The problem is you have to download the entire game first, which is often 10Gb+ of data. If Sony did that with a Gaikai / OnLive style streaming system instead, I could see that being very useful to instantly give you a taste of a game without requiring long upfront downloads.

But you only have to look at events like the PSN hacking of last year or the shutting down of Facebook games which don't make enough money (but which some players may have invested hundreds of dollars and hours in), not to mention the risk of local internet faults and other issues temporarily making services unavailable to individual users, to see how useful it is to have a local copy of a game (whether digital or on disk) that you can play at any time without an internet connection.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Nick Parker
Consultant

285 156 0.5
The world which David Perry describes will come; it's just a question of when all the stars align such as bandwidth, UI and pricing. There will be new entrants and the console manufacturers, you can bet the farm on it, will come up with full games streaming in time for the next gen machines or soon after. It's easy to be critical now as we always are with a new fangled thang. Gaikai's aspirations are sound but the streaming industry is getting crowded with each solution shooting down its competitors.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Tin Katavic
Studying MSc-Games Technology

44 3 0.1
Considering the "evolution" of internet speeds (I remember being excited about having a 54.4kbps modem) its not impossible that what Gaikai promises will be delivered and that the quality of game and gameplay will be equal to having the console in the room. I would go and say its very likely (my uneducated guess).

I am curious about one thing. If this pans out and the Gaikai vision comes true ... what will that mean to the hardware makers? PC gamers are probably a big chunk of buyers of GPU, CPU and RAM.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Andrew Ihegbu
Studying Bsc Commercial Music

455 164 0.4
The massive problem I can see which Gakai currently faces in my country at least (UK) is low latency upstream bandwidth. I have 24MB BT Broadband and struggle to get 30kbps upstream even on the speed testing websites.And that's with around 800ms latency. Th is is (I presume) to make it impossible to run any kind of server from your home.

That in my eyes will kill Gaikai dead if the infrastructure can't or simply refuses to support it. I still dont see why I can use Gakai's internet service yet I still cannot LAN a game from a gaming PC to the HTPC downstairs yet. There still isn't any software for it, yet they want to push this on us.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Just look at the success of Runescape over more than 10 years to see what can be done in the cloud.
156 million registered accounts! This was made to work on far less bandwidth than we have today and on far less powerful computers.
To do this well involves lots of technical tricks, such as finessing camera position and draw distances, incredible real time compression algorithms and optimising the tasks performed by the client. These are very sharp learning curves for a lot of people who would extend their business models into the cloud. But it will happen, the sheer numbers of smart TVs will ensure that it does. And games consoles as we know them now will be seen as a historical blip.

Whether or not Gaikai will prosper out of the upcoming commercial and technical battles is anyones guess just now.

The cloud and mobile are the future of gaming. Each will soon have billions of platforms in the hands of consumers. Anyone in then industry not acting to take advantage of this will go the way of the dinosaurs.


Posted:2 years ago

#8

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