Gaikai: YouTube Gaming for the Masses?

July 7, 2009 § 1 Comment

What did I say?

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.

"UK Indie Retailers Downbeat On PSP Go" Edge Online Article

June 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

Remember when I advanced some skepticism towards the PSPgo’s digital distribution-only model and its price point? Well, heeeeeeeeello! This, from Don McCabe, joint marketing director of indie gaming store Chips:

At the moment [PSP hardware and software sales represent] about five to six per cent of our overall turnover. You’d never throw that sort of percentage away – they’re not flying machines but they’re nice and steady. [But] on hardware [alone] you make next to no money and in some instances we actually lose money on each piece of hardware we sell, so if you’re going to just sell a piece of hardware and then never see that customer again, from a retail point of view you might as well just shoot yourself in the head. [my emphasis]

Ouch. But he’s absolutely right: why stock hardware which actually takes away business from you instead of giving it?

Supposedly, North American retailers have been taking to the PSPgo much more enthusiastically, and that seems to be in a great deal down to the PlayStation Network cards which you can buy in stores and redeem online. At the moment these cards don’t exist in Europe, but there’s no reason I can see for Sony not releasing them here. I would say they have to if they ever want to stop the product tanking before it’s even released.

It’s About No Wheel At All

June 19, 2009 § 2 Comments

Multiplatform releases have drawn the ire of many PS3 owners this generation – and understandably so, too. Time and time again, we have seen PS3 versions of multiplatform releases look and play worse than their Xbox 360 counterparts. Usually it’s not by a huge margin, granted, but it is significant. It can only leave PS3 owners disappointed, wondering why they paid more for a console which, theoretically, is supposed to be more powerful than Microsoft’s offering.

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Sony's Hard Place and Digital Download NPD Figures

June 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

Sigh, just when Sony were making some smart moves with the PSPgo, I hear this. While they are putting in some nifty new features into the PSPgo, when combined they don’t overrule the fact that the PSP’s battery life is relatively poor. When they announced that this new model wouldn’t have a UMD drive, one of the key positives people imagined would come out would be an increased battery life. So, what are they now saying?

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E3 '09: Day One – Sony Keynote

June 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

Great conference from Sony, all-in-all. Despite Microsoft’s surprise unveiling of Natal – and, along with it, those incredible promises from Peter Molyneux – Sony put up a great fight. There were some, frankly, amazing looking games on display, sequels from franchises most gamers know and love, as well as Sony’s Johnny-come-lately entry into motion control.

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