To date, Sony’s 380 million acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai has prompted plenty of questions, but provided precious little in the way of answers. What exactly does Sony plan to do with the technology? Will Gaikai be rolled out to PlayStation 3? What about Vita? Will Gaikai be a significant component of PlayStation 4?
Those all remain open questions, but today we got our first glimpse at the future of Gaikai. The service’s website has been updated and is now adorned with screens from some of Sony’s most heralded franchises, including Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet and God of War.
The Gaikai website redesign arrived without any fanfare, but it’s certainly generating a lot of attention. Whatever the future actually holds for the for the cloud gaming platform, the implication of the site’s current look is that Sony franchises – up to and including PlayStation 3 games – are going to be added to the service. Not just Sony published games, either. Konami’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Electronic Arts’ Mass Effect 3 (a demo for which has long been available on Gaikai) are displayed right alongside images of Sackboy, Nathan Drake, Kratos and the Helghast.
So, if PlayStation 3 games are joining the Gaikai lineup, will you need a PS3 to play them? That’s the 380 million dollar question. The strength of cloud gaming is that it allows access to streaming content from a wide variety of devices, like PCs, consoles and smartphones. By making its signature franchises available across all those platforms, Sony could vastly increase its customer base, and potentially generate substantial new revenue. That said, if consumers can play Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on iPhone 5, would they still buy a PlayStation?
Much more likely is that Sony will restrict such content to PlayStation branded devices. The company’s PlayStation Mobile initiative launched just last week (October 3rd, to be exact) and exits to serve content to PlayStation Vita and a range of PlayStation Certified mobile devices, most of which are manufactured by – you guessed it – Sony. Naturally, there would be challenges involved with making console games playable on smartphones or tablets – a touchscreen is a poor substitute for a Dual Shock 3. For Vita, though, it wouldn’t be an issue, and a library of streaming console games would be a pretty compelling feature.
The same could be said about PS3. Sony has been vigilant about creating remastered HD collections of its past hits (The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection and The Ratchet & Clank Collection, for instance), and has worked to bring a selection of PS2 games to the PlayStation Store (War of the Monsters being a personal favorite), but the vast majority of PlayStation 2 games simply aren’t playable on current PlayStation 3s. Gaikai could, theoretically, solve that problem.
Interestingly enough, the Gaikai website redesign arrives just as Sony has announced an ambitious redesign of the PlayStation Store. The new version of the store is set to debut in North America on October 23rd, just days before Microsoft releases Windows 8, Surface, (maybe) Xbox Music and (possibly) the Fall dashboard update for Xbox 360. It’s a long shot, but could Sony be planning to steal some of Microsoft’s thunder by adding Gaikai support to PlayStation 3 as part of the Store update? What do you think?
Whatever Sony and Gaikai have in store, the plan appears to be in motion. Keep your eyes on Game Rant for more on this story as it develops.
Ranters, what do you think: should Gaikai support be added to PlayStation 3 and Vita, or should Sony games be playable from any device capable of running Gaikai? Let us know in the comments below.
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