Sony's acquisition of Gaikai, the cloud gaming service, for $380 million was a major statement of intent. It may not necessarily bring dividends in the imminent future, but the potential for cloud gaming under the Sony banner is clearly an exciting prospect. Speculation has ranged from Gaikai featuring prominently on PS4, to more modest goals of using cloud gaming to give backwards compatibility for the PS1 and PS2 game libraries.
From a Gaikai perspective, the deal promises to provide opportunities for expansion and, potentially, bringing more publishers and developers on board with the service. The man who founded Gaikai and made the deal with Sony, David Perry, explained to Eurogamer.net that the buy-out resolved some of the biggest challenges facing the service.
It's going to make the publishers very happy, because the publishers like PC, but they love console. The message I kept getting back was, PC is cool, but I wish you could do this with console. That's the real meat in our business. That would be really good.
Of course, we had to go, look at this new PC stuff we have! We had to keep avoiding the console question. It's a very difficult question. If you look at the P&Ls of the publishers, that's such an important piece of their business. We were like, don't look over there. Focus on the PC.
But the console question never went away. I had a major publisher recently say to me, David, just to be clear, the iPhone is interesting to us. Not as interesting as console. PC? Not as interesting as console. Just to be clear.
The second thing they said was, if we're going to put our biggest games on your service, I've got to know you're going to have the financial muscle to support it. When you're a start-up, it's harder to answer that question. But when you've got Sony behind you, it's very easy to answer that question.
There's multiple things that have been solved in a single deal. It's quite surprising.
Perry concluded his interview by sharing how the move has changed his thinking, and has made it clear that he sees the deal as a source of major opportunities.
We were doing it the way you do it if you're a VC. I have to start thinking differently now because I have one of the biggest consumer electronics companies in the world in our corner. So you have to think differently. I have to sit down and have a think about that. What does that mean as far as making new hardware? It's going to open a lot of doors that just weren't open before.
One thing's for sure, Sony is currently in the driving seat for the potential future of cloud gaming.