Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Next Console War Will Be Fought in the Cloud - OnLive & Google vs Gaikai & Microsoft

During a panel at CES titled The State of the Games Industry: Consoles Are In Trouble, Nanea Reeves, chief product officer for Gaikai, said, "Not all of the current console makers will have one more generation. That will be the big news at E3." Does she know more than her words tell?

In the past Gaikai stated that they are working with multiple clients on delivering full PC games over the cloud. They also hinted that they are in negotiations with console manufacturers to integrate their service into the consoles, granted OnLive did the same, quid pro quo. Of course the speculation, that one of the console bigwigs is secretly beavering away on cloud gaming, is certainly in place.

Nintendo has already announced the Wii U for a 2012 release. One could call the local connection to its tablet adjacent cloud gaming, of course if the cloud is in your home. That leaves only Microsoft or Sony in the race. With Sony stating that the PS4 will likely be disc-based, which implies that Sony will play it safe and that the PS4 is coming, that leaves only Microsoft. In addition, Sony had bad and expensive experiences with the launch of the PS3, and is now even more careful not to commit another expensive blunder in their current difficult situation. Microsoft on the other side is conspicuously mum on their next console, though there are enough rumors flying around and they are known for their no comments policy.

Microsoft must see OnLive partnering with Google to deliver high-end PC and console games to Google TV devices as a declaration of war from Google. TVs that do not require consoles to play console games, are a serious threat. Microsoft will not go down without a fight and let Google kill their Xbox business that lays them golden eggs. The two online giants will battle it out on our Smart TVs.

Microsoft is heavily investing in online services and Xbox Live is a big success. Microsoft integrating a cloud gaming service into Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone 7, Smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and other devices is a safe bet. Microsoft has been betting on online for a long time, why stop with cloud gaming and not go the full monty?

So, what will the Microsoft cloud gaming service be called? Xbox Live, Xbox, MS Live or simply Live?

OnLive vs Live. Which one will be more live and live in the future?

SOURCES: IndustryGamers, CVG.

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