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Sony Buys GaiKai Streaming Service


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Sony just picked up D.Perry's GaiKai for 380m(pretty cheap when some say onlive might be worth triple that)...


This is a Megaton, huge, lets be real at some point cloud gaming is the futrue much like music and video streaming are today, it still needs a way to go but it's coming and by doing this sony is finally getting out in front of everyone else. easy stuff is things like ps1 streams to your vita or ps3, cooler stuff is ps4 games streaming to your tv or phone!.




Oh and sony also bought the better tech, Gaikai can run anything and works in a broswer, onlive requires a client and needs the source code to port the game to their service. Gabe from valve has also said he likes gaikai better, though rumors now have valve and microsoft as possibly putting in bids for onlive.

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The main concern i accept with video game streaming is that video streaming has the benefit of buffering, but game streaming requires a lot of back and forth in as close to realtime as possible. If they pull it off, it's gonna be great, but I fear anything of DMC3's Royal Guard nature.

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I've never heard of GaiKai before right now, but I don't exactly have my ear to the ground as far as the streaming game world goes. I really like the idea, especially for PC gaming as far as system specs go.


I can see how, if properly implemented, something like this could cut the cost of manufacturing a console to a fraction of what it is now. What if every console didn't have to have a ridiculous processor, or a couple etc etc. Just make a box that's good at streaming, and let some supercomputer in Wisconsin do the heavy lifting.

Of course, that alienates all of the people without badass internet. And all of those poor bastard countries that have bandwidth caps.


It's a big move, and probably a smart one.

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weird to see sony spending like this right now, but i forget they're still sitting on cash despite the enormous debt - they apparently just bought EMI for 2 billion recently too.


its a cool move to see, but like others, my connection needs to be better before this becomes something I can really feel. still, PS4's looking more interesting now...meantime, good article:


DF: The Sony-Gaikai Deal and What It Means for PlayStation and the Future PS4



Let's not get completely carried away by what today's news represents, because Sony's decision to acquire Gaikai does not mean the end of console gaming as we know it. PlayStation 4 is still going to be unveiled at next year's E3 and it will almost certainly be in our homes by the end of 2013. Whether we're talking console or cloud, the message is obvious enough though: Sony isn't putting all of its eggs in one basket.



While the overall level of the experience isn't there yet, even the first-gen cloud products offer some tantalising advantages which Sony would be keen to offers its customers:


Playback hardware: virtually any device with an h.264 decoder chip can run Gaikai, encompassing tablets, smartphones, and Smart TVs. Even current-gen consoles could run cloud games. We've seen World of Warcraft streaming on an Xbox 360 via Gaikai and it looked great.

No need for hardware upgrades: h.264 video compression is here to stay for many years to come, so you'll keep the same decoding devices and Sony will upgrade the Gaikai servers to accommodate the requirements of new games.

No more updates, no more patching: this will be music to the ears of PS3 owners in particular. Lengthy firmware upgrades, patches - all of this is a thing of the past.

Instant access: demos and games would not require lengthy downloads or installs.



So when will cloud gaming be ready for showtime as a complete console replacement? The quality of the experience comes down to two specific factors: image integrity and control response. The former is going to require significant increases in bandwidth, because the current 5mbps level needs to rise to 10-15mbps to really solve the artifacting issues that are present in the first-gen cloud systems as they stand right now.


Even in its current form, Gaikai at its best attains isolated moments of performance magic that defy belief: this video shows Bulletstorm on the streaming service matching the input latency of the local Xbox 360 version, with Gaikai running on a basic ADSL connection around 40 miles away from the server. This measurement isn't consistent, there's a 'jumpiness' to the experience you don't get on the 360, and of all the games we've tested only Bulletstorm seems to be this responsive, but the fact we are seeing anything like this at all is a phenomenal achievement.



All of Gaikai's image quality and latency optimisation efforts have been built around PC technology, which in the short term may cause issues for Sony, because cloud servers aim to provide tolerable controller response by running games at twice the frame-rate of a typical console title. Local latency on a 30FPS game (defined by the time taken between button press and the resulting action on-screen) is around 100ms at best, typically dropping to 50-66ms when run at 60FPS. Gaikai and OnLive aim to use that latency "saving" to offset the cost of encoding, transmitting and decoding video. The result is streaming gameplay with ballpark console response levels - in theory, at least.


There's nothing to stop Sony simply installing a big bunch of PlayStation 3s in each datacentre, but the result would be highly sub-optimal as there would be no 60FPS vs. 30FPS latency off-setting at all - all the 'cloud stuff' would simply be added to the existing lag. Sony's Remote Play isn't particularly effective for this exact reason, and that's running on a local connection.



Running PS3 titles in the cloud would be far trickier - for Sony's own games at least. Third-party publishers could simply deploy their existing PC versions of multi-platform titles on the Gaikai servers, but quite what the platform holder would do with its first-party titles - designed from the ground up for the PlayStation 3's unique hardware - is a difficult issue to address. Emulating the RSX GPU wouldn't be too challenging - at heart it is very similar to an NVIDIA GeForce 7950GT - but software emulation for the Cell Broadband Engine on current-gen PCs would be a huge technical achievement.



PlayStation 4 and the Cloud


The implications of this deal for next-generation PlayStation gaming are also challenging. Gaikai's datacentres are built around Intel CPUs and NVIDIA graphics cores, a situation that is not likely to change bearing in mind how closely the company is associated with these partners. PS4, on the other hand, is hotly rumoured to be using AMD parts for both CPU and GPU, perhaps even integrated into a single processor.


This leaves Sony with two different routes to bring PS4 games to the cloud: first, by creating its own datacentre-specific version of the hardware, or alternatively by generating two different versions of each game. The first approach may make more sense for Sony's first-party studios - they can continue to target the strengths of the fixed architecture and rely upon beefed-up datacentre PS4 hardware to provide the 60Hz upgrade they need to bridge the latency gap. The second approach may prove more favourable, however: third-party publishers already create PC versions of their games and adapting them to the Gaikai datacentre standard would be a reasonably low-effort procedure.


There'll always be a place for local gaming, even if it does become the preserve of PC only. Modern Warfare 3 running locally offers a 50ms response according to our testing and it's extremely hard to imagine that cloud can ever match that.
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I don't think we'll be seeing any full retail games, but I could see it potentially replacing the XBLA/PSN environment. At least as far as the smaller ones go. Maybe enough to warrant a new branding of smaller games that are compatible across multiple devices, since some of the downloadable games have strayed far and become absolutely massive recently.

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the DF article is a good one. There's a long way to go with game streaming, this isn't a move for the short term but rather the long term, and I"m talking like 5 to 15 years down the line when Playstation will be on everything from your watch to your tv. Sony is smart for getting in on the ground floor and thats a good price too, rumors are that onlive is valved at like 1.5 billion which is insane.


The tech also has a long way to go as well, remember this is the 1st gen stuff here but for instance they do have bulletstorm running just like it would on the 360 so it's off to a good start.

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now all we need is sony to be around in the gaming sector 15 years from now :trollface:


for real, i know it's the area with the biggest room for growth, but they haven't been able to capitalize on that very well for years now, and even they can't hemorrhage money forever. i'm excited to see this, but they need to make more short-term investments as well - studios for PS4 (theyve still got some greats but shed a few this gen), reminding people the vita exists, etc. i'd hate to see them get sega'd and lay the groundwork like this, only to have MS or someone else pick it up from the ashes and profit from it.

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