Gaikai ready to roll out to Facebook

Following YouTube deal, Perry demos World of Warcraft as core games get set for social network

David Perry's cloud gaming service Gaikai is ready to roll out to social networking site Facebook, offering demos of hardcore PC games accessed with just a few clicks.

Speaking at Cloud Gaming Europe today, Perry revealed the deal is already done with Facebook, and follows similar deals that have seen high-end games from the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Capcom on YouTube, Best Buy and the biggest retailer in the US, Walmart.

"Our next big launch is on Facebook and we've been working with them for some time," confirmed Perry. The company had been showing games running within Facebook at E3 last year behind closed doors.

Perry demoed Blizzard's World of Warcraft on the social network, stating: "Facebook already owns the category of casual gaming, we're going to help them own core games. A click and boom, you're playing World of Warcraft."

Facebook already owns the category of casual gaming, we're going to help them own core games

David Perry, Gaikai

One of the biggest barriers to owning consumers online is friction, said Perry, who highlighted that to play a demo on Valve's Steam service the user needs to click on the screen more than 40 times, filling in forms, answering questions about internet speed, signing terms of service and other hurdles.

"Bring the game to the gamer, don't move people, move games," he added. "Zynga has figured out that you put the customer first, very aggressively. You click once and you get to play for free, you share it with your friends and then you pay Zynga if you love it. It's as pro-consumer as you can get and that is why their valuation has skyrocketed.

"Some of the traditional publishers who have ignored all of this are falling off a cliff. Look at their stock prices, it's not good," he warned.

The home consoles are up against stiffer competition says Perry, and their desire to become entertainment devices may be their own downfall as they fail to distinguish themselves from TV manufacturers who have realised they can serve games to customers through cloud gaming deals.

"Consoles are in an interesting place right now. If you look at Sony it has a saying that 'It Only Does Everything'. I think that one statement says that consoles are going to go away. This next cycle you're going to see them turn into media devices, media boxes, I don't even think they're going to be called consoles. They won't want to be associated with that word because it just means games."

Games companies make "billions" off games played on TVs, said Perry. "Why should they get to have all the fun?"

"Steve Jobs showed that the trick is not to make money off the hardware but to monetise the devices. Everyone that pays for stuff on their iPhone makes more and more money for Apple. Why should I buy a $1000 TV and then a $500 box when all I need is a TV? By revealing what their goals are they're basically setting the end game for consoles as we know it," he added.

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Latest comments (17)

John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago
Why in the world would I want to play WOW via the cloud.
The latency hit will make the game laggy and not very enjoyable.

If you add inn 200ms of lag in a game like wow it has a noticable effect in the quality of the game play.
For other types of games this could work well, but I still dont think facebook is the place to do this.

As well as privicy and security issues with places like facebook you have the sheer volume of spam for the F2P games in facebook that means for some people all you see on their walls or from them is spam.
At least you can 'block all from' to help get around that but if I block you today I wont ever see anything else so you use me as a potential customer.. That is also not a good way to run a business.

Another question, why does everyone feel the need to copy Jobs?
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve10 years ago
When he states that more than 40 clicks are required to play a demo on Steam, I assume that involves the entire process of signing up to the service, because it certainly doesn't take me that many.

I wonder how many clicks it takes to sign up to Facebook, fill in all of their forms and agreements, and then start playing one of their games?
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David Hodgson Studying Computer Science, University of Kent10 years ago
For many people, their internet connections will be too slow or have too much latency between the servers to play games which require fast responses. Running a game on your own hardware will always have its advantages. And if the "biggest barrier" to playing games is 40 clicks to sign up to Steam, you aren't going to get anyone playing remotely hardcore games.

The gaming market is always getting bigger, services like Gaikai might have a chance in some areas, but for now I will stick to running games on my own hardware.
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Show all comments (17)
Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments10 years ago
Why does each new form of gaming have to "replace" another? Social won't replace core. Mobile won't replace handheld. Streamed won't replace console.

The top 3 SKUs by units sold in the UK last week were motion controlled. That's one way consoles are distinguishing themselves from streamed right there.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 10 years ago
@Neil Young: you forget that motion control is coming to TV's, in the form of Kinect and as an inevitable development of next years glasses free 3D. The distinguishing features of consoles are rapidly migrating to convergent devices.

It won't be long till the difference between a console and a TV might only be the lack of a screen. At which point mobiles will probably completely kill them.

There is a certain seductive appeal to having all your games available on any screen you want, but Steam mostly have that already nailed without the motion sickness both OnLive and Gaikai give me. Or the poor graphics quality, from underpowered server hardware and compression.

Sadly the wider gaming public seem to have lower expectations and a higher tolerance to lag so it's easy to believe this will take off long before the tech is really ready.
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Jose Martin Entrepreneur & Financing - Media / Tech / Interactive Entertainment 10 years ago
Sorry for the off-topic comment, just a pet peeve of mine - anyone else notice three glaring spelling mistakes and a couple of missing commas - that was just on my first read-through. I hate it when popular websites are filled with sloppy editing. Really, how difficult is it to proofread a short news article?
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Thomas Eidson Senior System Designer, Heatwave Interactive, Inc.10 years ago
@Jose: Those mistakes are in quotes. However, the article seems to have had no turn-around with the person being quoted for corrections.

@Thomas: What he (person being quoted) is getting at is that Facebook already has a higher penetration to the market than Steam does. Those folks already signed up for Facebook will not have to go through the sign up process for Steam. With a cloud system, you do not need to download and install multiple gigabyte games. As far as latency, the systems are very recent. The cloud approach will improve along with everything else (internet speeds, hardware improvements, software improvements, etc).
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments10 years ago
@Paul: not sure what you mean about kinect / 3d?
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago
Thomas, the problem with latency is not with the server hardware.
Right now we have servers with enough power to handle this but for most home users latency is a huge factor that most people dont really understand.

I seen it with WOW, some nights the game was unplayable due to network congestion and traffic shaping being applied by the ISP so if they do that for a game that is not very network intensive what will they do with the traffic from cloud gaming?

Unless we are sitting on the doorstep of the datacenters latency with a cloud gaming service is going to be a problem that can only be mitigated so far.
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Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News10 years ago
I have to give them credit, Gaikai might have been beaten to market by OnLive but they are more than making up for it with their ability to market it effectively to different platform holders.
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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd10 years ago
Convenience will always win out. Perry is right.
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Nick Burcombe CEO & Co Founder, Playrise Digital Ltd.10 years ago
This isn't going to be a popular post judging by some of the comments above.....but....

I gotta say, I think these guys are truly pioneering the next phase in mass market gaming and I have to applaud them.

Internet latency is of course an issue at the moment, but the wider picture ten years from now will be very different. A bit like the TV industry, wouldn't we [the industry] rather have a billion people subscribed for $20 a month playing what ever they want, instead of this ridiculous hardware war where the differences between the consoles is negligible and actually comes down to the services they provide beyond the "switch on"?

Think about those daft comparison videos between PS3 and XBox games that are virtually indistinguishable....who gives a rats ass. Punters don't see what we see, I suspect that in the future they'd rather just switch on their TV (the screen to all their amusement), get connected and play whatever is popular with their friends. Farmville, WOW, Words with friends, COD, F1, whatever makes them happy.

The industry should, in the long term, be providing "channels" of content, much like TV and the hardware in the users home should be irrelevant. Back-end hardware upgrades and software updates can keep things fresh for as long as they have an audience.

I'm not in the cloud gaming side of things (at the moment), but I really see potential for a much larger gaming market when people didn't even know they just bought access to a whole world of gaming and it didn't cost them an extra 250 upfront. We can offer them a much wider variety of software on the way. I know cloud gaming isn't everyone's cup of tea at the moment, I'll grant you that, but gaming is a mainstream entertainment now and there's huge untapped potential out there.

I reckon peripheral manufacturers should have a field day - who makes the best joypad? wheel? motion sensor? Voice recognition?

One day, I'd like the TV to just recognise me, log me into my services, find me my friends and get me into a game without the rigmarole me having to decide 6 months earlier which hardware platform to opt for....

Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I think the potential for a much larger audience may well come out of these types of innovations. Well done Gaikai and Onlive for paving the way. Look at the moves LG and Samsung announced at CES....I bet they see this too and all they want is people to buy their TV and console involved. This should also be ringing alarm bells inside Sky too.....
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
Latency is more of a problem on the customer's end than on Gaikai. I tried the service on a range of lines and depending on your type of connection it is more or less enjoyable. On a German cable connection, you will get 20ms latency at the most, while some DSL providers will offer you 80ms at best. There is nothing Gaikai can do about it, that is just the technology of the ISPs.

Then you have to add the display lag of your monitor and the input lag of your controllers, both of which are often above 20ms as well. And the frame rate on Gakai's end also influences lag a bit. Have I mentioned encoding/decoding yet?

In the end, you have nothing a core gamer wouldn't notice, but on the right low ping Internet connection, with good equipment which does not suck, i.e. 1ms controllers and a 120Hz monitor for lowest display lag possible, you would be surprise how well it works.
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Nick Burcombe CEO & Co Founder, Playrise Digital Ltd.10 years ago
As I say - perhaps this is not the perfect replacement for hardcore twitch game yet, but there's a much bigger target to hit here and it's a good idea from a consumers point of view.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Burcombe on 18th January 2012 2:58pm

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I like the way this looks. Like Nick said, Gaikai and Onlive are paving the way for big opportunities and changes. Yes, it won't be immediate, but I do think were looking at the next big phase of the industry.

Also, perhaps it won't be the core-gamer's choice as to how they go about playing their games (WoW lag = get pwned), for now, but the bigger picture is the possibility of being able to penetrate into the hundreds-of-millions of users with core games, which isn't a reality right now.

Social games have been around for a while now, and by allowing people to play more complex games (or whatever you want to call it) on the fly, we may now see a greater flow-through of casual non-core gamers into the core market; an opening of the flood-gates if you will.

In the end, curiosity didn't kill the cat, it just made companies like Zynga millions and billions, where 40+ year old guys and gals began to play silly-lil things like YoVille and Mafia Wars, and it has come a long way from that. In core-gamer fashion, this raised their skill cap to level 30 irl, and maybe at level 30, they are ready to try something different and more complex, but it may be that they still feel reluctant to trying others things out. Well, Gaikai on Facebook helps create a seamless transition to satisfy curiosity.

So yeah, +1 Gaikai

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Michael Hoyos on 18th January 2012 3:17pm

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Kevin Patterson musician 10 years ago
Eventually the cloud may take over, but not anytime soon......
ISP data caps, bandwith and latency issues conspire to derail it being the defacto gaming solution for at least another generation of consoles or so. Sure, We will have more cloud in the next gen, but I can't see Onlive and Gaikai with it's low to midlevel PC graphics winning over gamers enough to drop Steam and their consoles.
and Andrew who posted above is correct, Motion control gaming like the Kinect would probably not work well due to the added latency.
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Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer 10 years ago
I'm cautiously optimistic about Gaikai and OnLive, but all other judgements aside, this statement:

"Steve Jobs showed that the trick is not to make money off the hardware but to monetise the devices"

gives me pause, because it's basically the *exact opposite* of "the trick" as Apple does it. Like Nintendo, Apple never, ever sells their hardware for a loss. Look at the breakdowns; iTunes and the App Store are tiny portions of their profit compared to hardware revenues. If Perry's misunderstood this so badly, it doesn't fill me with confidence that he has a handle on other areas.
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