Picture the scene; It’s E3 2013 in LA and in a conference center the gaming press have taken their seats, the lights dim and the big screens power up to revel the words THE FUTURE IS HERE. Darkness falls in the conference centre and there, lit up centre stage is a PS3. The PS3 fires up and a beautiful looking game like nothing we have ever seen before on current Gen consoles starts playing, the demo ends and on the screen are the words PS4 IS ALREADY HERE.
Do we already own the PS4? Do Sony have to release a new console? After all they have just spent $380 million buying Gaikai.
Lets look at the evidence…
What is Gaikai?
Gaikai offers a bleeding-edge open platform technology that allows the most demanding games and applications to be seamlessly streamed via any connected video capable device including PCs, digital TVs, tablets and smart mobile devices. Having the fastest, lowest-latency, most sophisticated cloud network in the world enables users to experience rich media content as if they were running it locally.
The above is what the site will tell you. What it boils down is this; Gaikai can run any game or other app server side as if it s running on your own device that could be a PC, Console, Tablet, TV or Mobile Phone this means…
1. You don’t need to have a high end PC or new console to run new release games meaning you never have to update your device.
2. Because everything is stored server side you never have to download or update software.
3. The games you play will run at close to or at full specs meaning you get a beautiful looking game every time.
Games Already Available On Gaikai
The Witcher 2
Need For Speed The Run
Mass Effect 3
Agricultural Sim 2012
Ski Region Sim 2012
Saints Row The Third
Crusader Kings 2
Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Orcs Must die
Sims 3 Gen
Sniper Ghost Warrior
Dead Space 2
Assassins Creed Brotherhood
Mass Effect 2
Dragon Age 2
I have been running Gaikai on a low end PC for quite sometime with no problems at all. To be honest the graphics are already on par with all current Gen consoles but now with Sony owning Gaikai and putting all their efforts into making the biggest game streaming network available does this mean they no longer need to release a new Next Gen console or PS4?
Possible PS4 Specs, Rumours and Evidence
It is widely rumoured and we have covered this news in the past both on our Podcast and on the website that Sony is/was looking at using off the shelf PC parts and throwing them into a gaming console (PS4). Could this be a indication that Sony was planning to use a Cloud Service for their future games and gaming Platform. After all you don’t need high end and expensive custom parts to run Gaikai or any other Cloud Gaming Platforms as everything is covered server side.
At the moment the world is in deep depression with one of the biggest recessions since the end of World War 1 meaning that any new console coming onto the market and costing £300-£400 or $500-$600 is going to struggle. Wouldn’t it make sense for a company like Sony to use their existing consoles and spend their R&D (research and development) money to buy a Cloud Gaming company and update their consoles both in graphics and the way we play from behind the scenes?
We have already seen Sony dip their toes into both Cloud gaming and digital distribution. It all started with the PSP GO. It had no physical media device meaning that games had to be downloaded via the PS Store (PSN). Even with the new PS Vita we are seeing every game being released in both physical and digital form on the same day. We are also starting to see a large number of 3rd party download only titles being released on the Vita.
If we look at the PS3 we already have Sony’s experiment into cloud/server based gaming that being PS HOME which was launched in 2008 and now has 23 million Running Man Dancing users. Since PS Home launched Sony has slowly been releasing games into PS Home; from simple fairground side show games to their new and very impressive full blown FPS Bootleggers.
Moving away from PS Home, Sony have also released their Free to Play MMO Free Realms. Whilst these are not completely cloud based they are definitely an experiment into MMO’s and server based games. If we look to the very near future we also have DUST 514 from CCP coming to our beloved PS3. DUST 514 is a Free to Play MMO set in the EVE online universe where what you do on DUST 514 will effect certain outcomes upon the mainly PC based EVE universe. Could this be the start of merging console and PC gaming? Imagine finally being able to play with or against your friend that owns a different device to you, or being able to answer that age old question: Who are the better gamers, PC or Consoles gamers?
A Final Thought
Is Sony about to dominate every personal and home media device by releasing the PS4 into every home? We all have PCs, PS3s, Mobile phones and tablets. Already we are seeing Gaikai being released onto Samsung’s 2012 LED 7000 line and newer model TVs. Maybe we already have the next super console. Maybe Sony will release a stand alone micro box just like OnLive. Or maybe Sony will release a full blown PS4. Only time will tell.
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