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Five Things I Want From Sony’s Gaikai Purchase
So the big news finally came out. We had touched on this purchase before back when it was still rumored that Sony would buy either Gaikai or OnLive. Now everyone is trying to figure out how this is going to effect the PlayStation brand. What will Gaikai bring to the table? Well, I can’t see it doing anything for the PS3. I’m sure this is purely for next gen systems and new electronic devices in other markets like tablets and media streamers.
Who knows what this purchase will really do. However, it’s always fun to speculate! There are five things I really want to see from this purchase. Five things I truly think will propel the PS4 past the competition.
1. Create A True Sony Experience With Gaikai
Gaikai is a ready service. It’s been ready for use. I really hope Sony won’t just dump it into the PS4 and say, “well that looks marvelous.” It won’t. Custom make it for your system. Make it looks like a Sony-owned service that your gamers will not only recognize but think is actually a part of the experience and not just something thrown in.
This is just step one to making sure this purchase will really take off. Gaikai’s current UI and setup does not feel like Sony. It would look cheap just to throw the service in and have sections for PlayStation stuff and set it off on its way.
2. Backwards Compatibility
This purchase is exactly what the PS4 needed. Why? Because the big rumors going around include a piece about how Sony is headed away from the Cell processor. If true, that means PS3 games will not work on the next gen system. The architecture will be totally different. Honestly, that is a good idea, too. Devs have had a lot of issues porting and creating games with the PS3’s setup. Like it or not, you’re not going to get the whole of the gaming dev community to stick to it and work harder. They’re going to go where their current skills are used best. It’s just how it goes.
If they change to the rumored Intel setup, the best way to do backwards compatibility with how big PS3 game data can be is streaming. Internet speeds aren’t all that amazing right now but having, at least, the option to stream a game might be better for some people than downloading 5+ GB’s of data.
Why not also include PS1 and PS2 games for streaming? Those shouldn’t take so much power to stream correctly and you can have a bigger selection available.
3. Subscription Options
Gaikai is a huge service, or can be. With what Sony can dump into it, it may be best to offer a PS Plus-like subscription price to make the offer seem too amazing. Streaming PS family games with better selection than the PSN, no need for downloading, and the only requirement is a certain internet speed sounds damn good to me.
This just needs to be an option. OnLive allows you to use their console (which has plenty of ways to get for free) to purchase streaming licenses for individual games. That may work best for some people. Maybe some users just want to play some RPG games. It would be best for a flat rate fee per game that lasts, let’s say, a year. If you want to just play Uncharted 2 you pay $14.99 for a year’s worth of streaming.
4. PC Game Streaming
The PS3 allows you to connect a mouse and keyboard. Couple this with PC games streaming over the PS4 Gaikai service and you have a whole new world of games to experience on your PS4. Sony can really take the console world by storm if they can offer good to high quality PC games over streaming (something Gaikai already does) and the normal PS4 games. I’m sure thanks to this purchase, Gaikai can now go out and get more contracts for more PC games since Sony is involved. How awesome would it be to be able to play games like Civ5, Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, Supreme Commander, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, and plenty of others with your PC friends using a Sony PlayStation 4?
5. Rival the Microsoft Surface
Sony’s tablet selection looks like something you would see in the windows of a Sharper Image store. Not something that I would own. With Gaikai now in the pocket, rival the Surface with a premium tablet that offers PC games, PS3, PS2, and PS1 streaming over Sony’s custom Gaikai service. Give the tablet two USB ports for a keyboard and mouse and you have a pretty good alternative to a desktop or laptop.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro has the specs needed to play just about any PC game. Couple that with that amazing smart cover with the built-in keyboard and a USB port for a mouse and you have yourself a great Ultrabook with damn good hardware. Sony can rival Microsoft in this market with a tablet that sports the same type of specs but doesn’t crowd up the small hard drive with game data thanks to streaming.
I think these five things are key. If Sony can pull off these five things, I think the next gen for Sony in many markets, not just gaming, is going to be very good for consumers.