Gaikai Promises Subscription-Free Cloud Gaming

While online game streaming service OnLive will require users to pay $14.95 a month on top of the as-yet-unspecified purchase or rental fees, indirect competitor Gaikai has confirmed to Joystiq that it won't require any sort of monthly subscription fee.

Both OnLive and Gaikai use a cloud-computing approach in which game data is processed by an external server. The visuals are then streamed to players through a web browser plug-in, with their control inputs then piped back to the server.

Users of such services can play any games and applications on offer, regardless of how powerful their computer is or isn't, so long as they have a net connection.

The key problem is latency, one that OnLive claims to have solved through the combination of five data centers and its proprietary technology. Gaikai, meanwhile, claims to have servers at 300 data centers and 900 more servers going out to local ISPs.

As for how Gaikai's can afford such subscription-free aspirations, Joystiq explained:

Saying that Gaikai "isn't trying to be PlayStation 4 or take out the next Wii," [co-founder David ] Perry described (and demoed) the concept of embedding instantly playable games on any website. A publisher can, for instance, have a clickable pop-up appear when people are looking at one of its games on Amazon, which quickly launches an overlay window running the full game, with whatever time limit the publisher chooses. After this period, players can opt to buy the game for unlimited streaming, download it, or have a physical copy shipped to them.
"We are not in competition with any other streaming company or technology, our business model is entirely different," Perry explained previously. "People do not come to us to play games, they play the games right on the publisher's site. The publisher uses our technology to make it all possible. So from wherever you click, you end up on the publisher's site with the latest version of the game."

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 11, 2010 6:11 PM

    It's interesting that they're basically offering OnLive for free, but I think something will have to give as far as game library goes. Like they'll be a lot more older titles / web game kind of thing.

    • reply
      March 11, 2010 6:30 PM

      It sounds to me more like they will be using this more as a lightning fast way to play a demo (since they can set a time limit). Considering how huge even game demos are getting now, it sounds like a good idea to me, and if it takes off I'll be sure to use it at least for demos.

    • reply
      March 11, 2010 6:31 PM

      They're not offering anything "for free"...they're offering to sell other companies the tools to essentially provide their own "mini-OnLive" that they can either sell themselves or offer for free as a marketing tool. Sounds like a win to me.

    • reply
      March 12, 2010 2:47 AM

      From what I get is Gaikai is less about the library. ( which they might have anyway. )
      I think you might not even be aware that you use gaikai.
      Just think about Gaikai in this way: it is a technology company.

      The games , advertisements about them and so on come primarly through the publisher.
      The publisher gets another to show you how cool the games are.
      Instead of showing videos , or writing text,
      you can just jump in and see if you like.
      If you do : the publisher can offer you:
      * buy directly - stay inside the browser
      * forward you to a website to buy the box
      * or play for free.