OnLive will have to contend with a little more than just leery onlookers and lack of optimum internet infrastructure in a couple of months' time. Streaming games service Gaikai is now feature complete and due for a December, 2011 launch, according to the company's co-founder and CEO David Perry. While Gaikai can look ahead to the same challenges as its better-known and more experienced rival, its approach to cloud gaming is markedly different.
Gaikai will stream subscription-free game demos to Flash-capable web browsers. This is how the company describes the service on its website: “Just like publishers and developers, retailers pay by the minute for the time that games are streamed on their sites. Once the user finishes playing, they are directed to your store -- still high on the excitement of the demo -- to complete the sale. Giving visitors the chance to try games before they buy can help them overcome hestiation and can faciliate impulse buys.”
So it isn't really a direct rival to OnLive, at least not until it starts streaming full games, but things could change.