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Gaikai's David Perry

On 100m users, the Gaikai controller, Amazon and cloud gaming's 'dinosaur' moment

CEO of Gaikai David Perry is one of the most passionate advocates of cloud gaming in the industry. In this interview at Cloud Gaming USA, he spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about Gaikai's business plans, peripherals, bandwidth and modding concerns, and the potential for creating games that couldn't have been done before.

GamesIndustry.biz One of the big concerns people have about cloud gaming that that a game could be retired out of the network and they won't have access to it anymore. What would you say to that?
David Perry

Well that's a great question. Digital means infinite shelf life. A great example of that is Kongregate's website. If you look in there they have like 260 pages of games, but you don't ever retire those games. They're always there if you want them. It's the same with cloud gaming. Cloud gaming just means in the data center there is usually a cache where the games are sitting and hard drive space isn't a problem. So I don't really see any need to retire games. If there's people wanting to play them at all we would leave them there. Today we have four terabyte hard drives. It's just not an issue anymore.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you have any figures to show how many people would access to Gaikai?
David Perry

We technically just passed I believe around 10 million. We are targeting 100 million as quickly as we can possibly get there. We need to get above the reach of any single game entity in the industry a quickly as we can. If you were to put a game on a single website that's not going to have anything like the reach that we'll be able to have.

We're doing it three different ways. We're doing it through retailer websites -- we have a bunch more announcements coming out on retailer partners. We're doing affiliate websites. And we're changing the way in which we're going to handle affiliates but I don't really want to make an announcement on how we're going to do it yet as I don't want to be copied. But we have ways to do even more viral spreading of Gaikai.

When we first started Gaikai I remember saying to the publishers "what we really want to build here is a solution where you can have a meeting and say 'damn, some game just slipped a quarter so we need to have more people play this other game over here. Let's have a million people play that right now.'"

I've been starting to look into how we can make a controller at a sensible price as it's quite a complex device.

The ability to pull a lever and have a million people play your game is something that's crazy to even think about today. That's a very difficult problem, yet with cloud gaming that will be really quite straight forward. A normal way of thinking will be, "I want another million and another million."

It turns out that the number one way to get people to buy is trying your product, and it's amazing that game trials are being made so difficult.

GamesIndustry.biz When do you hypothesise you'll reach your goal of 100 million?
David Perry

I'd say by the end of next year.

GamesIndustry.biz One of the big benefits to cloud gaming is you can do it on multiple platforms. Do you think there will be a homogenisation of game consoles with hardware like Kinect that can't demo on a tablet or on a regular TV? Do you think it will be a problem that hardware developers like Microsoft and Nintendo are going in these divergent directions?
David Perry

Kinect is a funny one because it's actually made by a company called PrimeSense. So it's not actually technology made by Microsoft, so there's nothing to stop any company from putting a PrimeSense camera on your device. That said, all controllers: joypads, guitars, anything that could end up with a USB connector can plug into an awful lot of devices. Not all tablets. Not the iPad. But if you can get to a USB, that's good. If you can get to bluetooth, that's good.

So Gaikai has been working on a way to do what we consider to be incredibly seamless controller support, so we've done demonstrations where if you plug in a USB it actually tells the server that the USB's been plugged in and you'll see it reflected in the game in the cloud switch to joypad mode. So it's about as frictionless as it can possibly be. Meaning we've found a way to make it so even though this game isn't in your computer, it knows that a USB just got plugged in and it unlocks that mode in the game.

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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