“The Last Of Us” On Your Vita – Why Gaikai Changes Everything

Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai is the first real step into showing the public what next-generation is going to be all about; streaming is the future, like it or not, and Sony are now well positioned to be part of gaming in the next five to ten years. Your internet might already be groaning at the thought of it, but cloud gaming will be the next big thing for you, even if it’s not already.

We’ve speculated in the past about how such a deal would mean all kinds of things to the future of the industry, but as of this morning all those pipe dreams and whimsical dreams have suddenly become much closer to reality. As of last Friday, Sony now have a hugely powerful tool at their disposal that the competition don’t – yet – and whilst many assume Microsoft will be aiming at OnLive, the first move went to PlayStation.

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PlayStation, not Sony. The announcement was very much a SCE thing, and gaming – as outlined by Andrew House – is absolutely at the forefront of what the deal is all about. It’s what Gaikai is good at, and it’s what Sony are good at. The catalyst is there, the software is there, the hardware is there. All we need is a spark. A direction.

You’ll be able to play your PlayStation 3 games during your lunch time at work

The truth is that there are now a huge number of options open to Sony, and some are more exciting than others. Gaikai have already shown that their portals can work across a number of platforms, but over the weekend they got it running in Chrome, without Java, using NaCL. This means that – in theory – it can run in a browser.

The implications for that are huge – you can play games without fuss or download just in a web browser – although transporting that to Mobile Chrome may take a little longer.

We’d assume that Sony will now have a say in which platforms Gaikai ends up on (you’ll remember a recent deal with Samsung for their TVs, for example) and will obviously be pushing them towards PS3, PS Vita and beyond, but with practical hurdles out of the way, let’s just throw this out there: you’ll be able to play your PlayStation 3 games during your lunch time at work – in a browser, without having your PS3 with you.

Or even switched on.

Extrapolating, what’s to say that there won’t be a Gaikai client for Vita. Will we be playing The Last Of Us on the move, without actually needing to download gigabytes of Naughty Dog’s code, audio and textures? I’m a mobile gamer first and foremost, my time in front of the TV set somewhat limited, so if this is purely just a reinvention of Remote Play I’ll be a happy camper, and there’s technically no reason why this won’t be a reality that I can think of.

Sticking with PlayStation 3 – how about time-limited demos? How about looking at a game on the PSN Store that’s ten gigabytes to download and £40 – but rather than relying on reviews and a hefty chunk of your monthly allowance out of the window you simply just click ‘try now’ and Gaikai will let you play the game, immediately, and for an hour. For free. To me that’s invaluable, and hopefully high up the list of what Sony are thinking of.

Fire up Shenmue on the Dreamcast, on Vita, whilst relaxing on the sofa

The Vita, too, could get instant playable demos of its own games.

And then there’s software emulation – having a rack of top spec PCs kicking out the entire PlayStation library of PS1 and PS2 games direct to your Vita and PS3, or taking this further: acting as a virtual console for other manufacturers’ games. Daydreaming, perhaps, but I’d love to come home from work and fire up Shenmue on the Dreamcast, via my Vita, whilst relaxing on the sofa. Technically, this is now absolutely possible.

The biggest idea is one we’ve discussed before, though: PlayStation 4. Whether or not PS4 is a dumb terminal that simply streams games or whether it’s a fully featured disc-based console doesn’t really matter – streaming will be a major part of that experience and anyone doubting this shift in the industry is going to find themselves left behind quickly. It’ll instantly solve any backwards compatibility issues, for example, and might even push forwards compatibility.

Forwards? Yep, how about being able to see what PS4 can do from the PS3? Time limited demos, real time snapshots of Uncharted 4 or Gran Turismo 6, as obvious examples. Assuming there’s not a big difference in the controller setup between PS3 and PS4 (it’s likely to almost identical) the end user won’t know any difference aside from the obvious limitations in terms of screen fidelity that streaming often presents.

Regardless of what happens right now, the future of gaming has changed forever, and Sony will know this. Let’s not forget that Sony aren’t exactly doing well for cash at the moment – if this Gaikai deal means that PlayStation 4 can stay as top of the line (and – crucially – updateable) PC devkits housed somewhere underground and not as hugely expensive to manufacture home consoles, they’re almost certainly onto a winner.

Sony no longer need a PS4. We’ll be able to play next-gen games in a browser, on a Vita, on a tablet. It’s a brave move, although not unexpected – the question is what, or who, is next?

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53 Comments

  1. No streaming is available today due to unscheduled maintenance, it is Thursday afterall.

  2. This is one step up from the download only PSP-Go. And we all know how well that experiment turned out…

  3. I know this is a sony site and all, but it doesnt change anything.

    You think ps3 games on the vita is going to save it from being the flop it is?

    Platforms need ORIGINAL GAMES.

    Gakai a demo company

    Doesnt help with that

    • TSA isn’t a Sony site nor in anyway bias, Gaikai could be a great option to Playstation. Streaming will be hassle free and no longer of need to download Gigabytes of demos or small games. Yes the UK broadband is shit but cloud gaming should be welcome its a nice thing that can improve.

  4. I agree the internet isn’t up to this yet.

    Anyone else hoping they just use the tech to get Vita Remote play working for all ps3 games?

    • The tech is not the problem. It’s the devs/publishers who disallow it for their games. They want you to buy a second copy for the Vita, if there even is a port for that game.

  5. In theory this could work, but practically it will never happen. Most peoples’s home internets aren’t up for streaming, so I can’t see how Vita’s 3G will cope. Remote play from PS3 to Vita/PSP barely works, so playing ‘The Last of Us on your Vita’ is nothing more than a catchy headline.

    • Just tried to play a game on Gaikai but got a message stating I have insufficient bandwidth, yet my current ‘DownStream Connection Speed’ is 5824 kbps. Doesn’t bode well.

  6. “Sony no longer need a PS4” – Utter rubbish. The VG247 write-up presents a much more realistic vision of what this may mean, I think:

    http://www.vg247.com/2012/07/02/clouded-vision-what-sony-will-do-with-gaikai/

  7. Just had this discussion with some mates on the weekend and I feel that view went with the general view of these comments that streaming is coming but the countries (UK) infrastructure is lacking.

    Yet if we will be playing games from within a browser, why do we need this dumb PS4 to host the browser. Personally I see browsers (of different abilities…) appearing in a number of things. I can probably find a fridge with a browser if I wanted such a thing…

    So I see this as step towards gaming in the living room (just via stealth)…. I think that the Samsung comment is quite relevant. You get the TV and streaming is there. In theory both Samsung and Sony will be tied to the service which will be in the living room (with no extra boxes needed). You ship a “trial” month worth of subscription with the new TV and there you go.

    • The TV thing is interesting since Sony’s sales in that department have been bad. Might be a way of boosting their TV sales.

  8. I’m assuming the statement “Sony no longer need a PS4” wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

    New hardware is almost a given in the gaming world of one-upmanship between Sony and Microsoft. I think what we’ll see is Sony using Gaikai as another tick in the ‘our console does everthing’ box.

    What Microsoft offer in response will be interesting…….

    • Of course there’ll be a PS4. But – on face value – the company doesn’t need one. Not literally.

      It does, but technically it doesn’t.

      Probably a poor choice of phrasing.

    • Yes, I agree it will be a component of the console not the core idea.

  9. I have a terrible internet connection, as does most of Australia, so this is basically useless to me. I’m currently building a pretty high spec PC though, so it doesn’t matter all that much if Sony go streaming only – which I’m sure they won’t anyway. I am however still very interested to see how exactly Sony utilise this.

  10. As I think graphics are suitable now that I don’t need them to improve, I’d happily continue playing the PS3 for years. I think streaming is a great idea (on paper) but too many people lack the internet to possibly benefit from such a prospect. I would be inclined to say that Sony DOES need the PS4. A substantial amount of gamers don’t use the internet, don’t have the internet and would be unwillingly to part with the traditions of cased games, theres an attachement with box art that I must admit to. Streaming will happen, ofcourse it will, they wouldn’t shell out all that cash for no reason but I wouldn’t view it as the end of the PS4 (ironically) before its even been released. The PS4 will be released in the traditional fashion. Sony need to use this streaming idea to integrate the PS3 with all of the cult classics produced for the playstation down the years, at the moment I see this as the best use for streaming. Maybe in 10 years when good online is as basic as good landline telephone service for example, will we see streaming as the format for gaming.

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