Sony recently acquired cloud gaming service Gaikai for $380 million. This raised eyebrows for two reasons: 1. It suggests cloud gaming will play a part on Sony’s next console, 2. It limits the service to just one company’s devices.
The point of a cloud gaming service is to remove the need to be tied into one particular piece of hardware. In essence both Gaikai and its competitor OnLive allow anyone to play new games, no matter how capable their smartphone, tablet, or television set is.
In an interview with Edge, Bruce Grove, the UK boss of OnLive, was critical of the Sony acquisition, saying:
“I think it kind of defeats the purpose of cloud gaming to limit it to a subset of devices. The whole point of putting anything into the cloud is to make it available on everything. The whole reason I have a Dropbox account is that I want to access my files from any device – it doesn’t matter whether it’s my Samsung phone or my iPad, PC or Mac. That’s the key to the idea of cloud technology.”
“For us it was very important to show that this was viable technology and create a new platform, not to just take the first step along the road. We can argue the pros and cons over which is the right model but this is what we set out to do – create a platform.”
Grove has a valid point, but then perhaps it was always Gaikai’s intention to sell out to the first interested party. A lot of technology companies do just that, walking away with a healthy payday without having to spend the time and money taking the platform to the next level. That is now the challenge facing OnLive.