Gaikai is Sony’s Winning Ticket
Gaikai recently commented on Sony’s acquisition of their company—and in sum, they’re quite pleased. Although their lips are sealed as to their future goals, it appears that they will be working closely with Sony while continuing to improve their cloud-gaming service. Their attitude about the Sony acquisition and bright hopes for the future means the company will not be deviating from its present course—on the opposite end of the spectrum, their close collaboration says that Sony intends to make cloud-gaming a focus of their company. The Gaikai is Sony’s winning ticket, so to speak—it will give them the edge against other consoles as the next generation rolls around.
Acquiring the Gaikai and using it shows that Sony is well aware of the limits of consoles. Cross-platform games are not usually a good way to sell new consoles, while heavy DRM is looked down upon by the industry and its consumers. Gaikai circumvents this by providing a service where you do not have to purchase games for each system you own, along with generating continuous revenue for developers and companies alike. The recent realization that the Gaikai might be compatible with other systems—and not just the PS3 and PS Vita—shows that Sony is exploring its options in the world outside of consoles.
The Gaikai is an easy way to stop focusing on their consoles and instead focus on game publishing—two things that the Nintendo and Microsoft systems still haven’t addressed (although admittedly, with Windows 8 looming near, that might change for Microsoft). By making the Gaikai compatible with multiple devices and operating systems, Sony tells consumers that using their service doesn’t require a $300-400 entry fee. Gaikai will be able to stream games to multiple devices, and Sony will be able to collect revenue continuously, instead of hoping that their new, crappier design will boost sales.
While Sony won’t be dropping their console service any time soon, I expect that whatever they do release will be more of an ‘ideal cloud-gaming console’ rather than a ground-breaking device that shatters records and will stay in family homes for years. If you just want to use the Gaikai service, the console’s purchase would be optional, and you could use devices you already own instead. While cloud-gaming services and Gaikai are definitely at the start of their development as a major player in the games industry, it’s not impossible for Sony to take advantage of what it can offer now.
Developing a positive relationship with the Gaikai company and continuing to work with them on lucrative future products shows that Sony is exploring its options for the next generation more than any other company. Rather than offering just another console, they are examining the different services that console could run to provide a unique experience for gamers and other target audiences. Gaikai is not a substitute for a new console, but it will likely be compatible with any product they release in the future, and therefore consumers have a lot to gain by continued use of the service. The same cannot be said for Nintendo and Microsoft as they constantly change their controls, policies, presentation, and graphics capabilities with each generation.