Before E3 there were plenty of rumors going around that Sony would launch their own cloud gaming service. Those rumors didn’t come true at E3, but it seems like they might now — Sony announced today that they had purchased the streaming game company Gaikai for about 380 million dollars, and that they plan to use their new acquisition to launch a “new cloud service.”
Sony says the new service “will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices,” though they didn’t specify exactly what those devices are — logically, one would assume that they mean the PS3 (or possibly the PS4) and the Vita, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony try an OnLive like initiative and get cloud-based gaming on their phones and tablets as well. It’s currently unknown how Gaikai’s sale affects their partnerships with game publishers and other hardware manufacturers.
The same rumors that originally suggested that Sony was looking to get into Cloud gaming also said that Sony would use cloud-computing to reintroduce backwards compatibility to PS3’s, but so far the company hasn’t mentioned anything suggesting that might be true.
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone in the game industry who doesn’t believe that digital distribution and cloud computing are the future of the industry, and while most people believe that gaming’s stream based future is still a few years (or a decade) off, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more companies follow in Sony’s footsteps and invest heavily in cloud-based technologies in the next year or two.
I’m curious to know how this will work with Gaikai’s gaming tablet as well their relationship with Samsung and their TV-based cloud gaming integration.