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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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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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