Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Has Gaikai Partnered with Valve and is Bringing Cloud Games Demos and Full Games to Steam?

In my last article I wrote about the possible partnership of Activision Blizzard and Gaikai. Well, this possible partnership of Valve and Gaikai ranks an order of magnitude higher. Remember the speculation about Valve launching their Steam Box. Why on earth would Valve need a box to bring their games to gamers, if they can bring their Steam games to Facebook, YouTube and even sidestep any boxes by bringing their games directly to gamers' TVs, tablets and smartphones via Gaikai. With this simple step the problem of varying system specs that plagues PC gamers and would certainly plague the Steam Box, falls away. The two big caveats for games publishers that are piracy and used games sales also fall away. It's only a matter of time before large scale cloud gaming becomes viable.

Now to the proof of that speculation, can a speculation even have a proof, let's say to the crux of the speculation. Gaikai is running a private test of Valve's Portal 2 and maybe some other Valve games that haven't been discovered yet.

Here's the link to Valve's cult classic Portal 2 game that Gaikai is testing, it's password protected: http://www.gaikai.com/games/?play=portal2_g

If someone wants to guess the password. Maybe a good start would be to check if GLaDOS has left some clues in Portal 2, some cryptic and convoluted puzzle that leads to the password.

Add to this the fact that Gaikai has partnered with many top publishers like EA (yes, I know of the Steam EA spat), 2K Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros.Capcom, SEGA, many other smaller publishers and of course the possible partnership with Acitivision Blizzard and you get a perfect storm of events that can only lead to a strong hint that cloud gaming is about to invade Steam and vice versa. To write it in a more succinct wording in this subject matter, this opens up a wide open portal for Steam to step or jump into the gaming cloud.

Since Gaikai is a white-label service, which means any company that buys server resources from Gaikai can stick their name and logo on said white-label, it's understandable that Steam might not only offer cloud game demos like EA's Origin service already does, but start offering full cloud games on their store and other portals that the Gaikai cloud gaming network reaches like Facebook and YouTube.

The possible partnership of Gaikai and Valve could mean a tectonic shift in the games industry. If digital game stores and publishers can simply implement cloud games on their web stores and web pages, and sell their games on other large web portals that the Gaikai cloud gaming network reaches, the days of games retail stores, consoles and high-end gaming PCs could be numbered.

For OnLiveGaikai's strongest opponent in the cloud gaming arena this could also mean dark clouds on the horizon. Why would the large games publishers bring their games to closed cloud gaming platforms like OnLive, which hasn't even reached a large enough market penetration to date. On the other side, Gaikai has an open ocean full of opportunities in the gaming world. Of course purchasing expensive game server resources from Gaikai can't come cheap, so it might take time before digital game stores and publishers launch full cloud games and not only demos over the Gaikai cloud gaming network. Though Valve certainly has some money stashed away in some socks when one considers that Forbes declared Gabe Newell a billionaire.

Looks like some pretty interesting partnerships are ahead for Gaizilla to grow their power. In the past, OnLive and Valve have declared love for each other, but it looks like love is not enough in the harsh gaming industry. It would be a good idea for OnLive to already start beavering away on some spectacular in house game exclusives, when they aren't already. OnLive better be wrapping themselves in warm clothes as there might be some cool breeze headed their way, as spectacular tech alone can't be enough if your business model is to go head on against the big boys, while Gaizilla is providing the service for said big boys.

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