Gaikai: YouTube Gaming for the Masses?
July 7, 2009 § 1 Comment
Dave Perry confused me recently with his low-key demonstration of Gaikai. When the news broke on Kotaku, he was quoted as saying that “our positioning allows us to help Nintendo / Sony / Microsoft reach out and draw in new audiences, where OnLive will never get 1st Party titles.” Sure, OnLive probably won’t get the next Metal Gear Solid or Gears of War – they are, after all, directly competing with Sony and Microsoft – but why should Gaikai be any different?
In a recent Digital Foundry article on Eurogamer, Perry explained all. Perry’s not offering an alternative to the next PlayStation or Xbox console; he’s doing what YouTube and MySpace does with music: he’s introducing a way for people to sample the medium with the hope being that they will go on to purchase the full product. I’ve got to hand it to Perry, this is a fantastic idea – one which will potentially open up gaming to an even larger audience than ever before. All you need is a PC and a broadband internet connection, and certainly in this country, with the Government’s plans to open up high-speed access for all by 2012, almost everybody will have a chance to try out Gaikai in the near future.
But will the publishers go for? Well, yes, I think so. Certainly from a DRM point-of-view their content is protected because no files are being sent to the client’s computer. I think it’s a case of whether publishers will recognise the potential of Gaikai as a conduit to advertise their products – and I’ve very little doubt that they will.
Will the big three platform holders see this is a threat? Again, I don’t think so. What they should be seeing it as – and what I hope they see it as – is an opportunity. Perry recognises the limitations of his service and has brilliantly turned it into an advantage for him. He knows Gaikai can’t guarantee hi-def visuals at 60 FPS streaming over the internet. “For the full experience”, he’ll say, “the consumer will have to look towards buying the games on the appropriate console.” And in this way he’s not offering an alternative, competing product; he’s providing a valuable marketing tool.
Bravo, Perry. I think you’ve really cracked something here.