It was heavily rumoured before E3, but now it’s official: Sony has purchased Gaikai, a cloud gaming service that allows players to stream their games online.
In a press release, Andrew House, group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said that, “By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences. SCE 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.”
The deal is worth $380 million — less than the $500 million Gaikai was rumoured to be seeking. No word yet on specifically how Gaikai’s services will be incorporated into the PlayStation brand, but some are spectulating that the deal will allow streaming of first- and third-party PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 games. Intriguingly, after Gaikai’s deal with Samsung last month, this may mean that Sony will be allowing its games to be played on competitor’s devices (and potentially even Facebook, too).
It’s hard to tell how the move will ultimately impact gamers, but it could, potentially, mean the end of patches and waiting for downloads. Even more dramatically, considering statements by Gaikai’s CPO back in January about the next generation of consoles (or lack thereof), it may have a significant impact on when — if ever — Sony releases a successor to the PS3.