The recent leak of an internal Microsoft document related to the Xbox 360’s successor has brought to light the software giant’s wariness of cloud gaming services like OnLive, which it identified as a “potential acquisition target” in the 2010 document. Of course, no such acquisition has taken place so far. But if Microsoft is still considering buying a cloud gaming company, another less expensive company may be up for sale.
Hitherto, OnLive has been widely viewed as the cloud gaming industry’s poster child, but don’t be surprised if it eventually ends up getting overshadowed by its lesser known rival Gaikai. This is because the latter is joining forces with the world’s largest television manufacturer.
Walmart has begun serving cloud-based game demos on the Game Center section of its site, having struck a one-year deal for the same with cloud gaming startup Gaikai. Like with any cloud gaming service out there, the graphics are rendered in the cloud and then streamed to the user’s browser - all in real time, thereby eliminating the need to download or install anything related to the game. Hit the jump to find out more.
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.