Cloud gaming looks a lot less like “pie in the sky” this month, as Sony bought on-demand gaming service Gaikai for an impressive $380 million. What’s even more impressive than that figure, however, is the technology behind Gaikai and the game-changing possibilities cloud gaming could bring to future consoles like PS4 and Xbox 720.
Currently, Gaikai’s cloud gaming service can stream full, console-quality games through browsers: FireFox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer -- they’re all compatible. This accessibility is convenient, but it isn’t what has us most excited about the venture. No, the revolutionary part comes into play when you realize that cloud gaming could eliminate both the weight and the wait. Goodbye bulky hard drives needed to fill up GBs worth of game data. Goodbye the time spent idling in front of a progress bar while the entire game downloads.
Gaikai (pronounced “guy-kai”) is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “Open Ocean.” Like the name suggests, there’s plenty of untested waters to explore when eliminating a user’s need for high-end hardware without sacrificing quality gameplay and graphics. Let’s take a look at both the bright and sunny and the stormy future of cloud gaming.
Pros: Gaming On Cloud 9
As Easy As YouTube
Gaikai says that it makes “playing a game as easy as watching a video on YouTube.” True enough, I was able to instantly play Bulletstorm -- on my MacBook Pro Late 2008 model. This hardware isn’t prime for gaming, especially not the action-intense gaming brought to you by the teams at Epic Games and People Can Fly. On top of that, Bulletstorm isn’t even on Steam for Mac. Yet with an Xbox 360 controller plugged into my outdated, non-gaming OS, I was able to start shooting my way through this really fun FPS game within thirty-seconds.