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Sony to Buy Streaming Gaming Company?

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In the run-up to E3 a rumour popped up that Sony was going to announce a partnership with a streaming gaming company (OnLive or Gaikai as I think they're pretty much the only kids on the block.

MVC are reporting today that it goes further than that and they've outright bought a company.

In a move that will rock the next generation of console gaming, Sony is close to agreeing an acquisition of a high profile cloud gaming firm, MCV understands.

It was reported earlier this week that Sony was to reveal a partnership with a cloud gaming firm – specifically either OnLive or Gaikai – at E3 next week.

Subsequent chatter had seemingly calmed the rumours, suggesting that the proposed agreement was to do with Sony streaming TV services, and not consoles.

However, MCV understands that the deal is far more extensive than anyone could have predicted and will see Sony fully acquire one of the two firms. The deal, our source says, “is close to being signed”.

The acquisition has implications for all parts of Sony’s business, both in the consumer tech and console divisions.

Although work on PS4 is already well underway, Sony is very likely keen on bringing its PlayStation gaming content to non-console owners – a move finally made possible by this deal.

And there could be benefits for console users, too, with gaming content likely to be available when on the move and without the need for a direct connection to the console.

If nothing else, the deal should hit home the fact that the digital gaming revolution is not a distant dream – it’s happening. Now. And the implications for games retail are both obvious and colossal.

Gaikai has also sent the following to the media.

Gaikai has major announcements for E3, which has the potential to change the future of video game, the game consoles and the way in which we play.

I assume buying a company is a cheaper option than developing their own system from the ground up given the rate Sony is losing money. But this could be a good move for them, getting in on the ground floor of an area that is likely going to be more and more important as time progresses.

My own experience with streaming gaming is mixed. I tried the demo of Mass Effect 2 on Gaikai, at first I was impressed with how well it was running on a 6mb connection (although the graphics were clearly on a relatively low setting) and it played well enough for walking around and conversations. Shooting was bit more problematic, but do-able, but the safecracking mini-games were absolutely unplayable as I watched the cursor lag slowly behind my movements.

This could well improve as faster and faster connections become more widespread, although my understanding is that there is latency issue that will be incredibly difficult to overcome.

You can give a bunch of demos a whirl on Gaikai now (there's no sign up) on your PC if you want to give it a try for yourself.

http://www.gaikai.com/

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I use Onlive a fair bit and since moving to Virgin's 50meg service, it's pretty flawless with the games I've played through.

RubberJohnny made the great point about this being a brilliant solution to Backwards compatibility as well. You just stream any old game via this service, thus negating the need to do it in hardware.

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I wonder if this will be more for the vita to play PS3 games and the PS3 to play vita games at this moment in time, meaning no matter what console you own, you can still play all the games. I really can't see why you'd stream a PS3 game on a PS3, especially with digital downloads.

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I wonder if this will be more for the vita to play PS3 games and the PS3 to play vita games at this moment in time, meaning no matter what console you own, you can still play all the games. I really can't see why you'd stream a PS3 game on a PS3, especially with digital downloads.

Well the ideal would be for a PS4 that they could sell cheap as it's basically just a receiver but could play cutting edge games streamed from servers elsewhere, while they make a killing on licensing fees and a subscription service. However, the infrastructure just isn't place for that to be a mass market solution for quite a while.

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Well the ideal would be for a PS4 that they could sell cheap as it's basically just a receiver but could play cutting edge games streamed from servers elsewhere, while they make a killing on licensing fees and a subscription service. However, the infrastructure just isn't place for that to be a mass market solution for quite a while.

I think the more likely option would be they stick with the current PS3 rather than making completely new hardware. Get the technology into their TV sets and possibly bring out a cheap PS3-Lite unit.

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If they were planning to buy somebody out, it'd be for competitive advantage reasons, there are only so many patents to do this sort of thing, just look at the clusterfuck that is the current mobile phone patent war, don't bother beating the opposition in the market place, sue them to victory with some obscure, wide ranging patent you bought off some company that went bankrupt instead! :)

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As if waggle remotes didn't add enough lag, here comes Sony with added internet latency!

Possibly. Or it'll be great.

It won't be.

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It works well, however there is no substitute at the moment for having the data there on your machine.

Playing a game like NBA 2K12 on OnLive is fine, but then you play that same game on a console (or PC) and it 'feels' much better and responsive to control.

Now, if they have it working as a way to play your own games anywhere, when not near the console, then that is a feature I'd be interested in, but to completely replace the console... Not for a good few years yet (but we are getting there)

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RubberJohnny made the great point about this being a brilliant solution to Backwards compatibility as well. You just stream any old game via this service, thus negating the need to do it in hardware.

Does the technology exist to run up a virtual machine that emulates cell hardware? You can do it for PC games easily, but a PS3 VM is a tricker proposition, I'd have thought.

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This would be massive, and makes me think it could well be OnLive. One of Sony's top priorities must be to see how to make money off their back catalogue, and having the ability to sell and distribute their back catalogue across pretty much any device with a screen would certainly play to their interests.

Keep current console games exclusive to their current system, but make their back catalogue available to everyone for a monthly fee. I'll bet pounds to pence this will be branded as "Play(station?) Unlimited".

Credit to them, they're finally approaching something which resembles a simple, united online identity. The whole Unlimited range of services could do much to distinguish them when they're promoting their next range of TV's, smart phones and consoles.

So pumped for E3. Let the increasingly bonkers speculation begin. :D

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Does the technology exist to run up a virtual machine that emulates cell hardware? You can do it for PC games easily, but a PS3 VM is a tricker proposition, I'd have thought.

Why do this? Just have racks of consoles hooked up to video outs.

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People complain about the lag when using remote play on the PSP or Vita - and that's streaming from the same room! Imagine playing all your old games like that - it'd be a nightmare. Particularly when it's usually old games that require quicker responses.

Nah, I reckon they'll use this as a way to instantly stream demos of games to your console, rather than replacing the games entirely. As a try-before-you-buy concept, instantly streaming a game to your console is more appealing than waiting (sometimes) hours for a multiple gigabyte gameplay demo to download itself from their servers before you can even play it (for two minutes).

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As if waggle remotes didn't add enough lag, here comes Sony with added internet latency!

I haven't used a Move controller, but Wii remotes don't add any perceivable lag. (Try one on a CRT, the pointer is pretty snappy, just like mouse.)

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Why do this? Just have racks of consoles hooked up to video outs.

By that logic, that's what OnLive would be doing right now for PC games. But they're not - because VMs are easier to manage and cheaper to run.

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By that logic, that's what OnLive would be doing right now for PC games. But they're not - because VMs are easier to manage and cheaper to run.

"They can't do this because it's hard"

"OK, here's an easier way"

"But that's not doing it the hard way!"

This is an odd argument.

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I wonder if this will be more for the vita to play PS3 games and the PS3 to play vita games at this moment in time, meaning no matter what console you own, you can still play all the games. I really can't see why you'd stream a PS3 game on a PS3, especially with digital downloads.

Given the choice between spending two hours downloading a twenty minutes demo or streaming it I'd take the latter any time. Trying out games is mostly what I've used Onlive for, frankly.

As said, this is probably more for some PlayStation Unlimited scheme than for using at your console. Buy game once, play on your console or streaming from the cloud on any compatible Sony TV, mobile, tablet or PC with all your saves intact.

And boom! Sony gets relevant again. Can't wait to see what idiotic way they've worked out to fuck it all up tho.

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People complain about the lag when using remote play on the PSP or Vita - and that's streaming from the same room!

From the little I've used Onlive (about ten minutes or so of a Darksiders demo), it works a lot better than remote play from a PS3 to a Vita, even in the same room.

If they are buying Onlive or Gaikai, I'd expect it's more about looking long term into how that sort of service will evolve rather than how it is now. Internet speeds will only increase and the lag issue will only be a factor for so long. PS4 definitely won't be using streaming by default, but I wouldn't say it's out of the realm of possibility for the PS5, and getting in on it now by buying one of the two major players seems like a smart move.

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Sony not lost enough money yet? Fucking suckers for punishment that lot.

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"They can't do this because it's hard"

"OK, here's an easier way"

"But that's not doing it the hard way!"

This is an odd argument.

It's not about ease. Running OnLive as a service for PC gaming is a cost-effective solution because you run virtual images that you spin up on the fly for users to connect to. Having rack upon rack of individual PS3s would be an entirely ridiculous concept that would in no way be a profitable option for a remote gaming platform. Especially considering that Sony have demonstrated that they'll toss out backwards compatibility unless it can be made cheap as chips.

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I've found OnLive perpetually unusable, and my connection isn't bad - not fantastic, but faster than the national average. It's ok for a quick demo, but input lag and awful image quality kill it stone dead for me.

Still. this makes sense, it's obvious that the industry is convinced this is the future, sadly.

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I've got a 15Mb connection, and OnLive is consistantly good. I've used it on a 80Mb fibre connection, and it's voodoo.

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Sony not lost enough money yet? Fucking suckers for punishment that lot.

... isn't their console department one of their actual money-makers?

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... isn't their console department one of their actual money-makers?

LOL no? The PS3 lost more money than the original Xbox years ago. It wiped out all of their PS2 profits and the last few years of the PS1. They might be back to making money on individual units, but they'll never reach profitability for this gen as a whole.

EDIT: Negs? Sorry for being informative, I guess?

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Why do this? Just have racks of consoles hooked up to video outs.

Then our old games can look even worse than they did! Tremendous!

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People complain about the lag when using remote play on the PSP or Vita - and that's streaming from the same room! Imagine playing all your old games like that - it'd be a nightmare. Particularly when it's usually old games that require quicker responses.

Nah, I reckon they'll use this as a way to instantly stream demos of games to your console, rather than replacing the games entirely. As a try-before-you-buy concept, instantly streaming a game to your console is more appealing than waiting (sometimes) hours for a multiple gigabyte gameplay demo to download itself from their servers before you can even play it (for two minutes).

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I haven't used a Move controller, but Wii remotes don't add any perceivable lag. (Try one on a CRT, the pointer is pretty snappy, just like mouse.)

There seem to be plenty of people who 'went shit' at the old Mario games due to waggle-induced lag.

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There seem to be plenty of people who 'went shit' at the old Mario games due to waggle-induced lag.

I've read this sentence five times now and I still don't understand it.

Old games on HDTVs introduce lag, not the Wii remotes controlling them. The wireless tech is no slower than any other controllers, as far as I know. 5ms or thereabouts seems reasonable.

There's no waggling in the old games. There's waggling in the new games, which isn't innately laggy but it is a woollier way to trigger a digital action, sure.

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It's not about ease. Running OnLive as a service for PC gaming is a cost-effective solution because you run virtual images that you spin up on the fly for users to connect to. Having rack upon rack of individual PS3s would be an entirely ridiculous concept that would in no way be a profitable option for a remote gaming platform. Especially considering that Sony have demonstrated that they'll toss out backwards compatibility unless it can be made cheap as chips.

Considering their solution to official Warhawk servers was literally a room of PS3s set up with Warhawk playing on them I wouldn't put it past them. However I suspect they want to have a more elegant solution.

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I've read this sentence five times now and I still don't understand it.

Old games on HDTVs introduce lag, not the Wii remotes controlling them. The wireless tech is no slower than any other controllers, as far as I know. 5ms or thereabouts seems reasonable.

There's no waggling in the old games. There's waggling in the new games, which isn't innately laggy but it is a woollier way to trigger a digital action, sure.

You know what I meant by waggling, jesus maaaaan.

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This thread reminded me to give Onlive another go. Still looks like ass with annoying lag. That's with me having a pretty good Internet connection for the UK.

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OnLive%202012-05-30%2022-29-14-96.png

OnLive%202012-05-30%2022-28-56-22.png

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The PS3 lost more money than the original Xbox years ago. It wiped out all of their PS2 profits and the last few years of the PS1.

Is this true? Pretty amazing if it is.

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LOL no? The PS3 lost more money than the original Xbox years ago. It wiped out all of their PS2 profits and the last few years of the PS1. They might be back to making money on individual units, but they'll never reach profitability for this gen as a whole.

This may well be true, but it's an odd way to slice it.

Consoles have been a $10bn+ net loss for Microsoft so far. The 360 has lost money less fast than the original Xbox.

Sony's console business is still a long way from returning to profitability, but it's difficult to see what other option they had if they didn't want to cede the market to MS and Nintendo.

Annoyingly the presentation that I think we're both citing isn't online anymore.

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