Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sony to Buy OnLive or Gaikai


Rumors about Sony and cloud gaming partnerships are abound these final days before E3. The rumor that started this was about a partnership of Sony and either OnLive or Gaikai that Sony would announce at their pre-E3 press conference on June 4. Then news came out that Gaikai has sent out invitations to a presentation at E3, where the potential future of video games, game consoles and how we play will be unveiled. This led some to believe that Gaikai is the cloud gaming company which Sony will partner with.

Ross McGrath, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) PlayStation Plus content manager, also tweeted last week: "By the way, if you don't have a PS+ subscription, now is the time to get one. For real. Just get 3 months if you aren't sure. Trust me." This tweet could imply that cloud gaming is coming for PlayStation Plus (PS+) subscribers.


Now MCV has upped the rumor mill quite a notch. They write that Sony is about to acquire one of the two largest cloud gaming providers, either OnLive or Gaikai. Their source says that the deal is close to being signed.

They further write that the acquisition has implications for all parts of Sony’s business, both in the consumer tech and console divisions. Though Sony is quite far underway with the work on the PS4, they are very keen on bringing PlayStation content to non-console owners – a move finally made possible by this cloud gaming deal. There could be benefits for console users, too, with gaming content likely to be available when on the move and without the need for a direct connection to the console.

They also write that the Sony cloud gaming deal should make the fact clear that the digital gaming revolution is not a distant dream, as it's happening now. This should have obvious and colossal implications for games retail.

There are strong signs that either of the two largest cloud gaming services could strike the deal with Sony. OnLive has been unusually quiet in the first half of the year, which could point to something big coming. OnLive CEO Steve Perlman also has the habit of selling his start-ups to large corporations, though he is more connected to Sony's strongest console rival, Microsoft. He sold WebTV to Microsoft for over half a billion dollars and became a Microsoft division president. Microsoft’s acquisition of WebTV also brought with it the teams that created Microsoft’s TV platforms, including the hardware for Microsoft's Xbox 360. He also worked at Apple as a principal scientist and helped develop the first QuickTime video codec.

OnLive has positioned their service as a closed off console like platform in the gaming cloud. The Netflix like all-you-can-eat OnLive PlayPack games bundle could be a great supplement and a large boost for the ailing PS+ subscription service. Playing high-end PC games would also be great for console gamers.



OnLive has also great support for Sony mobile devices, as they have enabled support for the Xperia PLAY slide out gamepad controls for the OnLive App for Android and later also enabled support for the PS3 controller on the Sony Tablet S for the OnLive App for Android.



OnLive games play great on the Sony Xperia PLAY, but playing high-end PC games on the gorgeous PS Vita OLED screen with the better controls of the PS Vita would be nothing short of breathtaking and would certainly boost PS Vita's reputation and sales numbers.



OnLive is currently also the only cloud gaming service that offers a full gaming platform and is able to cope with day one demand from blockbuster games like Batman: Arkham CityOnLive CEO Steve Perlman also holds some important patents in the field of cloud gaming.

One interesting tidbit is also that OnLiveFans found out that EA Origin’s official twitter account had just begun following the official twitter account of OnLive. Once they pointed this out and contacted EA about it for comment, the @Origin_EA twitter account quickly unfollowed @OnLive. Could this just be a mistake, or could it mean something more? Could it be related to the Sony rumor? Perhaps it is OnLive after all, that Sony plans on acquiring, thus meaning that EA Origin will be bringing their games to the service.

At the start of this article I wrote news came out that Gaikai has sent out invitations to a presentation at E3, where the potential future of video games, game consoles and how we play will be unveiled. This led some to believe that Gaikai is the cloud gaming company which Sony will partner with. Of course this invitation by Gaikai and the 'coincidental' leak of it could also be a diversion, and their announcements at E3 will be of a different nature, like a partnership with Microsoft.

During a panel at CES earlier this year 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? Will Gaikai partner with Sony?

Gaikai has positioned themselves as an open white-label cloud gaming service, which would speak against an acquisition by Sony, as it's important for Gaikai to be neutral to be viable as a cloud gaming hosting service for other companies. But plans can change fast and Gaikai certainly needs a large and powerful ally with a name like Sony, if they want to grow fast.

Gaikai currently only supports game demoing, but they have plans for full games. They have demos of many high-end PC games from EA that OnLive doesn't have, as EA has not brought any games to OnLive though they are partnered. They also have a demo of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, a blockbuster RPG game that is not on the PS3. Gaikai is also partnered with Facebook, YouTube, Walmart, Origin and many others. Sony could potentially benefit from these partnerships.



Getting streamed cloud games demos on the PS3 and PS Vita would certainly be great for gamers, as they could start gaming right away and wouldn't have to wait a long time until a game demo is downloaded. Gaikai cloud games demos could also be a great supplement and a large boost for the ailing PS+ subscription service and playing high-end PC games via Gaikai on the gorgeous PS Vita OLED screen with the better controls of the PS Vita would also be nothing short of breathtaking and would certainly boost PS Vita's reputation and sales numbers.

Gaikai also has plans in the mobile arena, as evidenced by their announcement that their cloud gaming network will be available on the world's first gaming tablet, the WikiPad. So their coming to the PS Vita would certainly fit in their mobile strategy.


This cloud gaming deal with Sony could come at a perfect time for Gaikai, as they have just recently partnered with NVIDIA and will upgrade their data centers with the new NVIDIA Geforce GRID cloud gaming technology. This deal could also be a strong sign for NVIDIA's cloud gaming efforts, as they have been cut out of next-gen consoles by AMD, and this deal with Sony could mean that at least on Sony's side there will be no next-gen console, hardware wise, but only a Sony cloud streaming box.

OnLiveFans has already got responses from the PR departments of the two cloud gaming rivals. OnLive gave their usual cut-and-dry, "No comment on this." Gaikai's response was more interesting, "There are always rumors about companies, and cloud companies, teaming up with console makers. Sorry we can't be of more help. If you hear of anything more, could you let us know?" This response could mean that Gaikai doesn't know anything about such a deal and it's indeed OnLive that will partner with Sony. But, of course it could also be a diversion tactic, a very simple one. But, many times it's better to keep it simple, so what will it be, truth or lie, or rumor?

Since both cloud gaming services run Windows in their data centers, if Sony were to acquire one of them and stream cloud games from their data centers, Sony PlayStation console hardware would for the first time in history run on a Microsoft operating system, though from a far-off data center, which is at least a little amusing. Of course Sony sells PCs and laptops with Windows, so I think they could get friends with it. Or would they switch to linux or develop their own data center operating system? Who would develop games for it? I think that much arrogance or stupidity even Sony doesn't possess in the wake of their financial troubles. Running Windows would certainly put smiles on the faces of game developers, who have experienced enough problems trying to fit their games onto the PS3 Cell architecture. With Microsoft fearing antitrust litigations, I don't think they would play funny games with Windows licensing for Sony's cloud gaming data centers.

Where does Microsoft fit into all this cloud gaming speculation. There has already been speculation that Microsoft will join forces with OnLive or with Gaikai. And what's with Nintendo? This year's E3 promises to be spectacular on big reveals, but depending on what really happens, it could just be depressing. Well, the wait will not be long.

Gaikai Introduced a Non-Linear Progressive Download Technology Named Gaikai Cloud Delivery


The full name of Gaikai's introduced non-linear progressive download technology is Non-Linear Progressive Crowd-Sourced Proximity-Accelerated File Delivery and Gaikai gave the feature the name Gaikai Cloud Delivery. This feature allows gamers to start playing downloaded games in a fraction of the time that it takes for services like Steam or Origin.

Gaikai will offer their non-linear progressive download technology to those digital delivery services that want to complement Gaikai's cloud gaming video streaming service with local downloads and want to offer the gamers the choice to start gaming in mere minutes, that way removing the friction of long waiting times for gamers. This tech is advantageous for customers in regions where internet speed is too slow for the high connectivity demands of video streaming games. Gaikai is business-facing, partnering with game publishers that can license the company's technology to deliver games and playable demos via web browsers. Publishers pay per install, per registration or per gigabyte delivered.

"The goal is to try to not let you leave your machine while a game demo or trial is downloading," said Gaikai CEO David Perry. "What really happens today is a lot of gamers start a download, then go to bed. That's the problem, that's where you see the drop-off. Because when they come back to their computer, they come back to do something else."


Gamasutra was able to test the new feature on behalf of Gaikai. They downloaded the Dragon Age II demo which is 2GB in size and would normally take 40 minutes to start playing on their internet connection. With the help of Gaikai's non-linear progressive download technology they were able to play the demo in 3 or 4 minutes.

The download happens fully in the web browser, with no downloader to install. During the download a window shows a timer and a progress bar, as well as a video box that can show trailers or developer interviews.


That the Gaikai Cloud Delivery downloader tech is non-linear is an important distinction, as Gaikai isn't the first company to try to speed up entry into a game by delivering it in pieces. InstantAction -- a now-defunct company that Gaikai teamed up with back in 2010 -- was one firm that developed progressive download technology, which delivered a game in predetermined chunks. The problem with that is that games today are often non-linear, so downloading level 1, then level 2, 3, etc. just won't accommodate many modern video game experiences. Not only that, but that method is more of a burden on game developers and publishers.

Perry explained that the loading statistics from games are gathered from Gaikai's customers. That data is used to determine what parts of a game need to be pre-loaded on a hard drive for maximum time efficiency. "It uses sort of a self-learning algorithm that basically finds the optimal path of data for you, based on your play style," Perry said. "You're already playing, and there's only a fraction of the game that's downloaded. It's just what you need for you to play, based on what you're doing," he said.

"Basically, what it's doing is that we start off with the concept that nobody plays games in a linear fashion anymore," Perry continued. "We set a whole team of people on research to try to work out how to do it crowdsourced, so we'd be automatically learning from the players all the time."

Gaikai's looking to take its business everywhere, so to ignore video game consoles would be remiss. Perry has said before that console makers "would be insane" not to consider streaming tech for the next generation of hardware. Asked if Gaikai's new download tech could make it to future consoles, he said, "Yes, you'd use the same code, and you just basically reassemble it for a console. That's exactly what I'd like to do for a console -- offer all three methods of delivery": streaming, non-linear downloads and full-on traditional downloads.

"My expectation is that games are just going to get bigger -- you even see that on Flash right now," said Perry. "When you see games coming out that are 28GB like Star Wars: The Old Republic, and currently the only option is to download the whole thing, it's not very practical, all of a sudden."



Gaikai's CEO David Perry said he hopes that Gaikai's non-linear progressive download technology will go live sometime this year. In theory, a company like EA (already a Gaikai streaming partner) that already has a download platform -- Origin -- could embed Gaikai's downloader code into its App in a licensing deal, according to Perry.

SOURCE: Gamasutra.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tropico 4 and Wasteland Angel Join the OnLive PlayPack

This week's new additions to the OnLive PlayPack are Tropico 4 and Wasteland Angel. Wasteland Angel is a new title for OnLive, Tropico 4 was released last September as a PlayPass title and is now also available in the PlayPack. The OnLive PlayPack is now at 226 games and counting.

Tropico 4

Tropico 4 is priced at $39.99 in the US ($27.99 PlayPack) and £29.99 in the UK (£20.99 PlayPack).

Tropico 4 is a construction and management simulation strategy game published by Kalypso Media and developed by Bulgarian game studio Haemimont Games. As the title says, the game is the fourth part of the Tropico series. Its predecessor and the third part of the series, Tropico 3, is also part of the OnLive PlayPack.



In Tropico 4 the world is changing and Tropico is moving with the times - geographical powers rise and fall and the world market is dominated by new players with new demands and offers -- and you, as El Presidente, face a whole new set of challenges. If you are to triumph over your naysayers you will need to gain as much support from your people as possible. Your decisions will shape the future of your nation, and more importantly, the size of your off-shore bank account.

Tropico 4 expands on the gameplay of the previous game with new political additions - including more superpowers to negotiate with, along with the ability to elect ministers into power to help get your more controversial policies passed. But remember to keep your friends close and your enemies closer as everyone has an agenda! Your political mettle will be thoroughly tested, as new natural disasters will have the populace clamoring for you and your cabinet to help them recover from some of the worst Mother Nature can dish out.

Features:
- New campaign consisting of 20 missions on 10 new maps
- 20 new buildings including stock exchange, shopping mall, aqua park and a mausoleum to El Presidente
- Six new interactive disasters including volcanoes, droughts and tornadoes
- Council of Ministers - selected citizens to ministerial posts in the government to help push through your more controversial decisions
- National Agenda - receive objectives from Tropican factions, foreign geopolitical powers or opportunities relating to current island events such as ongoing disasters
- Trading system - import and export goods to or from other nations to boost your economy or production



Metascore: 78

You can play the free demo and buy Tropico 4 for the US powered by OnLive.

You can play the free demo and buy Tropico 4 for the UK powered by OnLive.

Wasteland Angel

Wasteland Angel is a vehicular combat Shoot 'em up game published by Meridian4 and developed by Finnish Octane Games.



Bummer, World War III happened and killed most of the world's population. The ones that got toasted were the lucky ones. Survivors live in constant fear of being murdered or enslaved by violent gangs, renegade military units and, of course, mutants.

Outfitted with a heavily armored car, unlimited firepower and a thirst for vengeance, our Heroine - the Wasteland Angel roams the radioactive wastes, travelling from one God-forsaken town to the next, protecting survivors from being enslaved. She's on a mission, to defend those that can't defend themselves.

Wasteland Angel is a nostalgic throw-back to the era of vintage arcade shooters where players fend off waves of enemies and ultimately face-off against epic end-level bosses. From a top-down isometric view, players pilot the Wasteland Angel's overpowered vehicle as its dual machine guns cut a swath across the terrain. To handle whatever the gangs, muties and renegades throws her way, Wasteland Angel has upgradeable ammo that can rip enemies from this life and toss them into the next one.




You can play the free demo of Wasteland Angel for the US powered by OnLive.

You can play the free demo of Wasteland Angel for the UK powered by OnLive.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Gaikai Upgraded The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Demo to the Enhanced Edition and Added the Crusader Kings II Demo

Gaikai already hosted the cloud gaming demo for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for some time. Now they have upgraded the demo to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition. The Witcher 2 is still a painful subject for OnLive gamers as the game still hasn't released on OnLive after being announced as a coming soon title for OnLive during E3 2011Gaikai CEO David Perry had this to say about The Witcher 2 and OnLive when he announced that full game streaming is coming to Gaikai, "To give you an example The Witcher II was given to us and them at the same time. We went live with Witcher II immediately and now four or five months later they still don't have that live, and that's because they have to touch the code. The whole structure of Gaikai is about not touching the code. When we show World of Warcraft it's the real thing, it's not like we had to go and tweak it to get it to work. That means that every game in history remains compatible with our solution."

Gaikai has also added the Crusader Kings II demo to their cloud gaming platform.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is a role-playing game published by Atari and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and developed by CD Projekt Red.


In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition the player is Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster slayer, a witcher. Entangled in the political turmoil that engulfed Temeria, Geralt helped quell the rebellion of the Order of the Flaming Rose. Soon after, he saved King Foltest’s life when the monarch was attacked by a witcher-like assassin. He continues to protect the king, serving as his bodyguard as Foltest strives to bring peace to his kingdom. The Order’s last bastions have yielded to the royal army, yet one more task remains - the Baroness La Valette announced her secession from the realm, and her fortress must be taken. A month after the attempted assassination, Foltest’s armies stand at the gates of La Valette Castle, preparing for a final assault. Still at Foltest’s side, Geralt is among them, unable to begin his personal quest to discover the mysterious assassin’s origin and identity…



Thanks to the new, ultra-modern REDengine, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings features both beautiful graphics and sophisticated in-game mechanics, drawing players into the most lively and believable world ever created in a video game.



Defining new standards for realistic, non-linear game narration, The Witcher 2 spins a mature, thought-provoking tale to produce one of the most complex and unique RPGs ever released on consoles. In addition to its epic story, the game features a complex combat system that uniquely combines dynamic action and tactical depth.



Compared to the initial award winning release, the Enhanced Edition features lots of new and exciting content:
  • Additional hours of gameplay: New major adventures set in previously unseen locations, expanding the story and introducing new characters, mysteries and monsters.
  • New Game Introduction and cinematics: All new animations and cut scenes, including a new, three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic depicting the assassination of King Demavend of Aedirn.
  • BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski brings this key historical event to life, setting the stage for the story told in The Witcher 2.
  • All of the up-to-date DLC and improvements introduced in the 2.0 version of the game, including:
    • Arena Mode – an arcade mode that allows players to fight against endless waves of enemies and test their combat skills. Players can share their results with their friends by uploading high scores to the forums or to Facebook .
    • A new, extensive tutorial system - allows gamers to be gradually and smoothly immersed in the game world and Geralt’s adventures.
    • Dark Mode – a difficulty level designed for hardcore players, with unique dark-themed items. At this difficulty level, even greater emphasis is placed on battle preparation, defensive maneuvers and opportunistic attacking.


You can play the free demo of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition powered by Gaikai.

Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game published and developed by Paradox Interactive.



In Crusader Kings II the Dark Ages might be drawing to a close, but Europe is still in turmoil. Petty lords vie against beleaguered kings who struggle to assert control over their fragmented realms. The Pope calls for a Crusade to protect the Christians in the Holy Land even as he refuses to relinquish control over the investiture of bishops - and their riches. Now is the time for greatness. Expand your demesne and secure the future of your dynasty. Fill your coffers, appoint vassals, root out traitors and heretics, introduce laws and interact with hundreds of nobles, each with their own agenda.

A good lord will always need friends to support him. But beware, as loyal vassals can quickly turn to bitter rivals, and some might not be as reliable as they seem... Stand ready, and increase your prestige until the world whispers your name in awe. Do you have what it takes to become a Crusader King?

Crusader Kings II explores one of the defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by the masters of Grand Strategy. Medieval Europe is brought to life in this epic game of knights, schemes, and thrones...

Features:
  • Start a game at any point between 1066 and 1337 and play until 1453
  • Pick a Christian lord and make sure his dynasty survives as you play a succession of his descendants through the ages
  • Gain Prestige for every successive character you play, furthering the glory of your Dynasty
  • Expand your feudal domain - and keep it from falling apart
  • Unravel the plots of your courtiers and vassals, each with their own opinions and agendas
  • Take up the Cross and fight the Moor, the Heathen and the Heretic
  • Defend against the onslaught of the Mongol Horde
  • Struggle with the Pope for control of the bishops


You can play the free demo of Crusader Kings II powered by Gaikai.

You can try the demos of other games in Gaikai's catalog at Gaikai's games page.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

OnLive Memorial Day Weekend Sale in the US


OnLive has a memorial day weekend sale in the US through Monday, May 28. There are over 50 games on sale, with games like Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Batman: Arkham City, Saints Row: The Third and Deus Ex: Human Revolution up to 75% off. OnLive PlayPack subscribers can also take an additional 30% off these already reduced prices to bring prices of some games down 82%.

Here is a list of all the OnLive games that are on sale in the US and UK:

  • AaaaaAAaaaAAAAa-aAAAAaAAAAA!!! – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Aliens vs. Predator – On Sale For $3.75 US ONLY
  • Alpha Protocol – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – On Sale For £19.99 UK ONLY
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations – On Sale For $39.99 US / £29.99 UK
  • The Ball – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Batman: Arkham City – On Sale For $14.99 US ONLY
  • Borderlands – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition – On Sale For $7.50 US ONLY
  • Braid – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Defense Grid Gold – On Sale For $3.50 US ONLY
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution – On Sale For $7.50 US / £19.99 UK
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition – On Sale For $10.00 US / £24.99 UK
  • Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga – On Sale For $10.00 US ONLY
  • Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time – On Sale For $2.49 US ONLY
  • Driver: San Francisco – On Sale For £19.99 UK ONLY
  • Duke Nukem Forever – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • F.E.A.R. 3 – On Sale For $7.50 US ONLY
  • Fishdom 2 – On Sale For $3.50 US ONLY
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game – On Sale For $4.99 US ONLY
  • Icebreakers – On Sale For $3.74 US ONLY
  • Just Cause 2 – On Sale For $3.75 US ONLY
  • Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – On Sale For $3.75 US ONLY
  • A Kingdom for Keflings – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – On Sale For $3.75 US ONLY
  • LEGO Batman – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 – On Sale For $19.99 US ONLY
  • LIMBO – On Sale For $4.99 US ONLY
  • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – On Sale For $24.99 US ONLY
  • Madballs in Babo: Invasion – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Mafia II – On Sale For $7.50 US ONLY
  • The Maw – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Metro 2033 – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • MLB 2K10 – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • MLB 2K11 – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • MLB 2K12 – On Sale For $7.50 US ONLY
  • NBA 2K10 – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • NBA 2K11 – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • NBA 2K12 – On Sale For $9.99 US ONLY
  • Orcs Must Die! – On Sale For $3.75 US ONLY
  • Osmos – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Puzzle Chronicles – On Sale For $4.99 US ONLY
  • Remington Super Slam Hunting: Africa – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Royal Envoy – On Sale For $5.00 US ONLY
  • Saints Row: The Third – On Sale For $17.00 US ONLY
  • SAW – On Sale For $9.99 US ONLY
  • Shatter – On Sale For $2.25 US ONLY
  • Space Pirates and Zombies (S.P.A.Z.) – On Sale For $4.99 US ONLY
  • Trine – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Virtua Tennis 2009 – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Wargame: European Escalation – On Sale For $26.79 US ONLY
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution – On Sale For £19.99 UK ONLY
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine – On Sale For £19.99 UK ONLY
  • World of Goo – On Sale For $2.50 US ONLY
  • Has Gaikai Partnered with Sony on Cloud Gaming or is it a PR Stunt?


    French Gameblog.fr posted this, "Gaikai has major announcements in store for E3, which have the potential to change the future of video games, game consoles and how we play." They have been invited to a presentation of Gaikai at E3, where this potential future of video games, game consoles and how we play will be unveiled.

    I reported on the rumor that VG247 spread, that Sony will supposedly be announcing a cloud gaming deal with either OnLive or Gaikai at Sony's pre-E3 press conference on June 4. With this post from French Gameblog.fr it now looks like as though Gaikai will get the cloud gaming deal with Sony.

    On the VG247 rumorGaikai's response was this, "There are always rumors about companies, and cloud companies, teaming up with console makers. Sorry we can't be of more help. If you hear of anything more, could you let us know?" This response could mean that Gaikai doesn't know anything about such a deal and it's indeed OnLive that will partner with Sony. But, of course it could also be a diversion tactic, a very simple one.

    This cloud gaming deal with Sony could come at a perfect time for Gaikai, as they have just recently partnered with NVIDIA and will upgrade their data centers with the new NVIDIA Geforce GRID cloud gaming technology. This deal could also be a strong sign for NVIDIA's cloud gaming efforts, as they have been cut out of next-gen consoles by AMD, and this deal with Sony could mean that at least on Sony's side there will be no next-gen console, hardware wise, but only a Sony cloud streaming box.

    During a panel at CES earlier this year 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? Combined with this info about Gaikai partnering with Sony on cloud gaming, could this mean that Sony will have no next-gen console and only use cloud gaming on their current PlayStation hardware and will even introduce a little streaming box like the OnLive Game SystemSony could also directly use their cloud gaming service powered by Gaikai to embed it in their Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets and smartphones. Combined with Sony's first-party game exclusives this could be a powerful console in the clouds.

    Of course this invitation by Gaikai and the 'coincidental' leak of it could also be a diversion, and their announcements at E3 will be of a different nature. With their current problems, does Sony even have the balls to do large scale cloud gaming which ain't come cheap? Of course this could only be a smaller thing for the beginning, like cloud gaming demos from Gaikai, which are Gaikai's current business model. If this is a diversion, this could mean that Sony partnered with OnLive, and even that Gaikai partnered with Microsoft, or vice versa. And what's with Nintendo? Rumors over rumors, and nothing but speculation. We'll know the truth soon enough at E3, or not, which would be depressing for all the E3 expectations.

    Thursday, 24 May 2012

    Rumor has it That Sony will Bring Cloud Gaming Services OnLive or Gaikai to PlayStation Hardware at E3


    VG247 has spread the rumor that Sony is about to strike a deal with either OnLive or Gaikai to bring cloud gaming to PlayStation hardware. VG247 seems pretty assured about this information as they have posted a special article just about this news after it was revealed in their What to Expect from E3 2012 article. The cloud games would be playable on the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and maybe even other Sony hardware like tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. The Sony cloud gaming deal will supposedly be announced at Sony's pre-E3 press conference on June 4.


    Ross McGrath, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) PlayStation Plus content manager, also tweeted earlier this week: "By the way, if you don't have a PS+ subscription, now is the time to get one. For real. Just get 3 months if you aren't sure. Trust me." This tweet could imply that cloud gaming is coming for PlayStation Plus (PS+) subscribers.

    There are strong signs that either of the two largest cloud gaming services could strike the deal with SonyOnLive has been unusually quiet in the first half of the year, which could point to something big coming. OnLive has positioned their service as a closed off console like platform in the gaming cloud. The Netflix like all-you-can-eat OnLive PlayPack games bundle could be a great supplement and a large boost for the ailing PS+ subscription service. Playing high-end PC games would also be great for console gamers.



    OnLive has also great support for Sony mobile devices, as they have enabled support for the Xperia PLAY slide out gamepad controls for the OnLive App for Android  and later also enabled support for the PS3 controller on the Sony Tablet S for the OnLive App for Android.



    OnLive games play great on the Sony Xperia PLAY, but playing high-end PC games on the gorgeous PS Vita OLED screen with the better controls of the PS Vita would be nothing short of breathtaking and would certainly boost PS Vita's reputation and sales numbers.



    Gaikai on the other hand has positioned themselves as an open white-label cloud gaming service. They currently only support game demoing, but have plans for full games. They have demos of many high-end PC games from EA that OnLive doesn't have, as EA has not brought any games to OnLive though they are partnered. They also have a demo of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, a blockbuster RPG game that is not on the PS3Gaikai is also partnered with Facebook, YouTube, Walmart, Origin and many others. Sony could potentially benefit from these partnerships.



    Getting streamed cloud games demos on the PS3 and PS Vita would certainly be great for gamers, as they could start gaming right away and wouldn't have to wait a long time until a game demo is downloaded. Gaikai cloud games demos could also be a great supplement and a large boost for the ailing PS+ subscription service and playing high-end PC games via Gaikai on the gorgeous PS Vita OLED screen with the better controls of the PS Vita would also be nothing short of breathtaking and would certainly boost PS Vita's reputation and sales numbers.

    Gaikai also has plans in the mobile arena, as evidenced by their announcement that their cloud gaming network will be available on the world's first gaming tablet, the WikiPad. So their coming to the PS Vita would certainly fit in their mobile strategy.


    During a panel at CES earlier this year 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?

    OnLiveFans has already got responses from the PR departments of the two cloud gaming rivals. OnLive gave their usual cut-and-dry, "No comment on this." Gaikai's response was more interesting, "There are always rumors about companies, and cloud companies, teaming up with console makers. Sorry we can't be of more help. If you hear of anything more, could you let us know?" This response could mean that Gaikai doesn't know anything about such a deal and it's indeed OnLive that will partner with Sony. But, of course it could also be a diversion tactic, a very simple one. But, many times it's better to keep it simple, so what will it be, truth or lie, or rumor?

    Where does Microsoft fit into all this cloud gaming speculation. There has already been speculation that Microsoft will join forces with OnLive or with Gaikai. And what's with Nintendo? This year's E3 promises to be spectacular on big reveals, but depending on what really happens, it could just be depressing. Well, the wait will not be long.

    Adobe Flash Player 11.3 Beta with Low Latency NetStream Audio for Cloud Gaming

    The latest Adobe Flash Player 11.3 beta features low latency audio support for streaming audio through NetStream. This feature aims to reduce latency for high quality streaming audio playback. It addresses a very special use case of cloud gaming, where the game is rendered at a server and audio and video are streamed to the client. This feature should come in handy for cloud gaming services like Gaikai and others that use the Adobe Flash Player. OnLive on the other hand uses their custom OnLive App that is already optimized for the lowest possible latency.

    Another new feature of the Adobe Flash Player 11.3 beta is full screen keyboard input. This feature enables support for all keyboard keys available to an embedded SWF running inside of a page without full screen mode, except for ‘Esc’. It allows developers to determine if the App is in full screen mode, whether full keyboard input is allowed, and whether the App is able to request full screen (determined by the embed tag parameter).

    Adobe Flash Player 11.3 should be out of beta soon and I'm sure cloud gaming providers will capitalize on the new low latency NetStream audio feature.