Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Revolutionary may be an understatement. Meet Gaikai.

This just popped up on Slashdot and frankly to say it is Revolutionary is an understatement. Gaikai is seeking to allow high quality games to run on the cloud and free you the gamer from where you play it. I was sceptical at first but after seeing the video I am thoroughly impressed.

Gaikai is claming you can play pretty much any game online, anyware. Could be a PC title or console title. Bandwidth is a necissary part of the equation but they try to keep it down in the 1 MB range. They showed World of Warcraft, EVE, Mario Cart, and some others but this is just crazy given the implications.

  • The distribution channel has shifted from by the game in the store, to downloading it online, to now buy your account and start playing. No install, no patching, it is there and ready for you.
  • Store fronts may be a little pissed.
  • Operating system is neutral. This is a major deal for Mac and Linux folks as this runs in their browser.
  • Huge win for the game providor as they don't have to code for specific hardware. As they manage the hardware themselves they can do the upgrade and patching themselves. No worries about the customer screwing it up.
  • Piracy is pretty much mute. No pay, no account, no access.
That all said I do have some questions:
  • What about saved game data? Or game allowed addon's? World of Warcraft, for example, has addons you can put on. Is there some upload mechanism to put them on your account?
  • Can you change screen size?
  • Is there anyway to have the game play while not connected to the network?
  • Would there be an extra fee for the service on top of the game price or is it all rolled into one?
  • What does the server foot print look like to host a game and it's users? In the case of games like WoW are you having 10, 20, 30 users connected to a client server that then in turn connect to the Game server?
  • Game retail stores are not going to like this setup as they are essenteally cut out of the service.
  • How much is Gaikai talking to the telecommunication industry to help spread broadband service to cover all of America?
Hopefully we will see good things from this advancement in gaming. So far it is looking good.