Gaikai pre-empted this recently with the news that they expected to be bought.
Sony have this morning confirmed that last week they “entered into a definitive agreement” to acquire Gaikai Inc. for approximately USD 380 million.
“Through the acquisition,” says the statement, “SCE will establish a new cloud service, ensuring that it continues to provide users with truly innovative and immersive interactive entertainment experiences.”
“By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
“SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”
It’s interesting that House is stating that games will definitely feature, something we thought about a little while back when we first heard the rumours about Gaikai or OnLive. Basically, we said that a PS4 doesn’t technically need to exist – next-gen can all be streamed over the cloud to a PS3 or a Vita.
Read our earlier thoughts and see what you think, and whilst we said back just before E3 that such a deal would mainly be for PS1 and PS2 games, there’s little to suggest that SCE won’t really want to push this tech.
“If you have a PlayStation 3 or one of our speculative PlayStation Lite consoles you won’t need to buy a PS4,” we said back in May. “PS4 games will be available to you on your PS3 via streaming.”
“Sony can make hardware (and price it accordingly – i.e. bloody expensive) to those who want it, everyone else can switch on their PlayStation 3 and skip the expense and hassle of upgrading. The bank of PS4s at Sony will power the games, and stream them to your PS3 just like Gaikai does.”
“Sony might even miss the PlayStation 4 hardware phase altogether,” we continued, “that seems to be what Nanea Reeves was suggesting back in January. Skipping the costly first half of its life, when they’re selling at a loss and allowing half their users to stream on cheap hardware would be a huge money-spinner for them early on in the new console’s life.”
All that discussion suddenly seems a lot more real.
“SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide,” said David Perry, CEO of Gaikai Inc.
“We’re honored to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”
The press release says that SCE will “establish a cloud service and expand its network business by taking full advantage of Gaikai’s revolutionary technology and infrastructure including data centers servicing dozens of countries and key partners around the world.”
Whilst the transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, this is hugely exciting, especially after an E3 that was desperately in need of some new technology from Sony and Microsoft.