And hello to Gaikai. The game streaming service from industry veteran David Perry went live beta yesterday with a limited selection of games. The first whispers of the service surfaced around two years ago and for the longest time has been mostly silent, with streaming service OnLive taking most of the spotlight.
At first glance when they were announced, OnLive and Gaikai seemed to be competing services. Since its release, OnLive has firmly planted itself with the aim of becoming the Netflix of Video gaming, even adding an all-you-can-eat monthly subscription service. However, with Gaikai’s launch yesterday it showed it was going a very different route.
When I visited their site yesterday I was a bit miffed to see corporate market speak aimed at advertisers, publishers and retailers. There was nothing aimed at us, the gamers. Despite this, I still clicked on and played the Mass Effect 2 demo. However, it slowly stirred in my head that they weren’t putting anything towards us because we’re not their customers. Where OnLive is selling games to the gamers, Gaikai are selling their service to the publishers. They’re offering an advertising model, and one that thoroughly has my attention hooked.
As it stands, now when I write an article on a game I can end with a video like so:
You can watch it, I might also point out that the demo is now out. All 1.8GB’s of it. That’s quite a hefty demo. What Gaikai aim to provide is a combination of those two activities. Why just stream a video or spend a few hours downloading a demo when you can stream the demo?
It’s the video game equivalent of Wonkavision. And to think that movie tried to paint this as an impossible fantasy.
If your connection can stream HD video, it should be able to stream a game. Which of those would you pick if you had the choice? For myself I was speedy enough to be able to run it in full screen (slower speeds offer a windowed mode only) and while Mass Effect 2 paled in looks compared to my native PC version, it played pretty well. The start of the game was sluggish in mouse response, Dead Space 2 acting similar, but once the game starts up it’s pretty smooth and very playable.
And what’s great for the developers is that it’s a timed demo of the full game. Theoretically, they don’t have to make a purpose built demo. Meaning more developers can offer up demos without having to set aside many resources for it. Which for PC is a great thing.
Gaikai have plans to have games embedded on game retailer sites, game blogs, facebook, and of course the games site itself. So if their ideas come to fruition expect to see more of these streaming game demos popping up on your travels around the web. I look forward to it, how about you?