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Gaming Forecast: Sunny With A Chance of Cloud-Based Software

Video game companies look to enter the streaming media market.

by
Jon Bishop

Bio

July 9, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Ryan Lawler of Techcrunch.com reports that Sony has purchased Gaikai, a cloud-based company, for $380 million, which he says is a move that could potentially change the face of the industry:

Sony’s purchase of GaiKai could be a harbinger of things to come. For those unfamiliar, GaiKai provides a cloud-based service for accessing more than 40 popular video games online, without the need for any sort of fancy hardware. Early reports pointed to the possibility of extending PlayStation games to other platforms where games could be made available — including mobile devices, tablets, and kiosks — creating a sort of “PlayStation Anywhere” type of service. But I think the impact that the acquisition could have on Sony’s next game console could be even more dramatic.

There are problems with this software. For instance: “the infrastructure just might not be there yet to support it.”

Let’s face it, a lot of gamers — even those who subscribe to Xbox Live — are still stuck on DSL connections, which might not support the type of HD-quality graphics game providers would like to build.

There are also issues with cost and size and scope. That said, a move to cloud-based software would make sense for the industry. Streaming movies — and other media — onto a computer continues to soar in popularity. It would be absurd for video game companies to not consider something similar. Consumers, then, should expect to see test-runs of cloud-based systems within the coming years. Nothing will be immediate. As Lawler notes, “Microsoft and Sony already probably have their plans mostly hashed out for the next generation of hardware.”

Don’t be surprised, though, if the successors to the Playstation, XBox, and Wii resemble something like Netflix.

Stores like Gamestop should prepare for the change or else they will face extinction:

If the current issues surround cloud gaming are resolved – and with Sony now fully on board they surely will be – it could change the face of gaming forever. Our recent poll suggested people still want to be able to buy games at retail and own them on disc, but just as has happened with iTunes and Spotify for music, and Hulu and Netflix for television, it only needs services that work well for people to come round to the idea behind them.

Big things are coming…

Jon Bishop likes to write.

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