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By 3 July 2012 | Categories: news

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In an intriguing move in terms of what it could mean for the future of Sony’s platform, the company has acquired cloud gaming service Gaikai, for a cool $380 million (approximately R3 billion).
 
In a statement, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) explained that “the combination of Gaikai’s resources, including its technological strength and engineering talent, with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience,” will enable SCE to provide users with “unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences.”
 
Andrew House, president and group chief executive officer  of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, elaborated that this would further result in the company being able to deliver to users the ability to “instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet connected devices.”  
 
“SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide,” commented David Perry, the chief executive officer of Gaikai Inc.
 
“We’re honoured to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide,” he continued.
 
Ripe with potential
 
The acquisition is ripe with potential. VentureBeat notes that the possible benefits for Sony are considerable, while the move could result, for example, in in-store kiosks that play PS3 or Vita titles on an internet connected TV.
 
It has also raised questions about whether game streaming could eliminate the need for dedicated consoles altogether. In our view this is unlikely; rather we suspect a streaming service would co-exist with the current offline gaming model.
 
A more enticing potential is that Sony could cook up innovative ways of marrying offline, traditional play on dedicated consoles with a streaming service, that could for example result in starting a PS3 game on one’s console, and then continuing to play it when on the move and away from one’s home on a tablet or portable device. This would be somewhat akin to what Microsoft has in mind with its Smart Glass project.

To the point
 
The move though, certainly signifies Sony ‘putting its money where its mouth is’, and betting on cloud services delivering the boost to its business moving forward. It also signifies the company recognising that, for better or worse, the gaming landscape is changing, in ways that cannot be fully predicted at this time.

As to what “unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences,” will usher in, and what forms it would take down the road, is anybody’s guess. We suspect though, that if Sony can make it work, the next few years finding out will be exciting ones indeed. 

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