Gaikai aiming for first-party console games

Q&A: Veteran developer David Perry talks to GameSpot about his streaming game service Gaikai, what makes it different from OnLive, and juggling his many responsibilities.

Earlier today, David Perry posted a demonstration video of his new game-streaming service Gaikai on his personal blog. The video showed him streaming a variety of games, from Mario Kart 64 to World of Warcraft, in a simple browser window.

David Perry.

But for all the demo showed, it also raised questions as to how Gaikai differs from previously announced streaming service OnLive, when Perry's new project will find its way to market, and how much publisher cooperation the technology has already. GameSpot posed all these questions to Perry, with the veteran designer offering his own answers in prompt fashion.

GameSpot: What's the difference between this and OnLive?

David Perry: OnLive is going after the living room audience. They plan to fight with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all at the same time, which won't be easy. They also have to buy every player through marketing, and if they do well, they just steal some market share from Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft. There's no big paradigm change. When the iPhone made access to applications and games really easy, it changed everything. They generated a billion downloads on a phone. We plan to do the same for professional games, but online. The iPhone takes two taps: download, wait to install, and play. We are just one click and Spore or Photoshop pops up. Publishers like this idea.

So our positioning allows us to help Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft reach out and draw in new audiences, where OnLive will never get first-party titles. We are not in competition with anyone; we are a service that just changes what's possible.

The convenience we offer really matters. How many YouTube videos would you watch if you had to keep going to YouTube.com and search for them? Or how many would you watch if you had to register before playing each one? How many would you play if you had to download the entire video before you play?

This is stuff our industry expects you to do, but that has to end if we want to grow our games virally like YouTube has done. It's changed how we interact with video on the web. Gaikai can help publishers and developers change the way people discover their games.

GS: What's the business model for Gaikai? Are you expecting to collect money from the end users through a subscription or one-time deal? Or are you looking instead to just sell the technology to other companies and let them worry about how to sell it to an end user?

DP: The publishers can save a fortune [emphasis his] on advertising if they use our tech. Our goal is to use some of that money to let gamers play for free, then it's up to the publisher and the game on how they charge. There's nothing more valuable than getting consumers to actually experience your product, and we will deliver that in spades. You are correct: We are the service, and we just make it all possible.

GS: How many publishing partners do you have on board?

DP: To be clear, unlike OnLive, we are not licensing anything. The publishers host the games on our service, so we don't need to sign any licensing deals. All publishers and developers can use this day one. During my demos at E3, three of them offered to fund this company during the live demo, so that gives you an idea of how interested they are.

GS: When are you expecting to launch to the public?

DP: Closed beta will be in California, and depending on how smoothly that goes, the open beta will go nationwide. [We are] not setting timing yet as we are still negotiating final bandwidth and power costs. The more buzz this gets, the lower those rates will go.

GS: Are you having to put your GameInvestors, Acclaim, or other responsibilities on the backburner to focus on Gaikai?

DP: No, everything I'm involved in is backed up with great, very talented people doing the hard work. GameInvestors is looking stunning, and I look forward to doing that reveal soon. Acclaim has over 10 million players, and now we are investing very heavily into developing games with no friction (a theme in my life now). Multiple companies around the world have started licensing our latest Rockfree game before we've even finished developing it. So with all the partnerships, we are going to have an incredible amount of player traffic during the next 6 to 12 months. The game is still in development, but you can see the progress at the Rockfree Web site. We were one of the first companies pushing free to play, and I think it's starting to become a serious reality here in the USA. The next step is reducing friction, and that's where our focus is now, both Gaikai and Acclaim.

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Discussion

74 comments
chooca
chooca

lol as long as the U.S. still doesn't have at least 50% covered in fiber connection, this will never take off. Even in Japan where broadband internet is on every cellphone, digital distribution of games is not really the priority at all.

shabulia
shabulia

Meh... we'll see what happens.

Ryking
Ryking

I'm a little confused as to how this is any different than OnLive.

MidnightKilla
MidnightKilla

OnLive isn't even out yet and people are already ripping it off... Unbelievable... But then again the whole idea behind this is very simple... Setting up powerful servers that run the games while video is being streamed to users. Only these stupid schemes will fail horribly because of connection speeds and bandwidth. Lots of people in North America have sh*tty internet providers that cap bandwidth.

Chargrilled
Chargrilled

playing a game. internet gets busy. you die in the game. brilliant idea!! :/

bennae66
bennae66

i will adopt a 'wait and see' approach with this and onlive. i am already 'on live' with my 360, ps3 and wii and pc as it is. i bought a wii and 360 on day 1 of launch at full price. ps3 i waited for a drop. with both this and onlive (to me) dont warrant being first on the boat and setting my loungeroom/study around them. wait and see...

steveroger
steveroger

Sounds to me like it will be the ultimate demo marketing tool. That is where the first party titles will show up. You get a tease on your pc and then buy it for the console. They aren't going to sell you the game for the PC and have it reduce their console royalties. Read anything that Perry is saying and you find that is really what he is saying about first party titles.

denicola_a_god
denicola_a_god

this service looks pretty sleek i watched the demo video if this is trueit will rock the world of gaming as we know it

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

First party demos yes but the games not sure. the old ones

painguy1
painguy1

First party titles wont make it. Mirosoft wont give Halo to play for free even if it is a demo. Sony will not give God of War, and Nintendo will not even accept the idea of letting there games be run on an emulator. thats piracy already.

KirinLime
KirinLime

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

@ Micropixel, I agree. He said he wasn't in competition to get the 1st party titles, but yet having them games available to people who lets say don't have a 360,PS3,or Wii, then affords them the ability to not have to go out and buy one in order to play that title, then that's taking away from the console sales for that particular manufacturer.I don't see this as working, but who knows.

Micropixel
Micropixel

I would be really surprised if any first-party games from Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo ended up on this. Exclusives exist to boost console sales. I don't see them doing anything like this that could potentially hurt consoles sales.

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

i just don't know. sounds good on paper, but I'm skeptical about the costs and system requirements, and of course lag...even though it claims there will be low lag. I don't mind music and movies being downloaded digitally, because music cds always get lost or destroyed or uploaded into your ipod and movies you just watch for a couple hours then ususally don't watch again for a few years if ever...but games...i like to have hard and complete copies, and get promos and shwag with the collector's editions.

ropumar
ropumar

If the Sony puts demos of uncharted, infamous and god of war on this service, people will know how good ps3 is and might move units. I think that is their idea when they talk about 1st parties games.

EddyG0RD0
EddyG0RD0

No thx , ill stick with my PS3 and PSP and PC.

mozart-bach
mozart-bach

I just can't understand the reason why they hate so much the retail-physical copies,if we want to buy the games in this form and pay a much more,what is their problem?They want to make more millions upon the millions already make?If they want to provide free gaming through their service or downloading,let's provide it only to those who want to download games NOT to everyone whatever he wants it or not.They want to do the whole gaming thing a crap, like you watch stupid videos on Youtube or Porn.The games are not like the movies.You download a movie(most of them porn)and just watch it,you don't need a booklet or a case. It seems that they are forgeting or simply do not understand that I phone sold so much only as a Mobile phone with wi fi internet NOT as a handheld gaming platform.People they didn't buy I phone to play games but since it could play games and for a little amount of money(0.99-8),isn't logic to buy games for it?If its games were sold for 40 and 50 bucks,it would sold games? Just think that they would offer you God of war 3 for $5,who would buy it? All this streaming and downloading thing is not for gamers but for those complanies who are not interested in gaming,just only do bussiness and make money

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

mikeyvp87 so what do you think? Could it be another get-rich-quick scheme that fall flat on it's face?

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

sounds interesting. i like the idea that all publishers and companies, including and especially 1st party stuff, can be on this service. I think this will do better than Onlive, because it can have all the games onlive has, plus all the 1st party games from nintendo sony and microsoft. If either are going to pan out better, its gonna be this one. Anyway, like many of the people who posted below me, im still skeptical of virtual gaming. i like having a physical disc. but w/o physical discs it should put the price of games down, if not for free like its saying. thats cool. more games to more gamers. but the thing is, i just dont know if this could work yet. does the tech really even exist to pull this off smoothly? one person below me said no. i think they may be right...they might be able to sort of pull it off, but i foresee a lot of lag and problems. anyway, i'm just waiting for holodecks to come out... :D

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Free to play? I think by just hearing that, Activision and Capcom are out.

0Aragorn0
0Aragorn0

So if I'm understanding this correctly, both Gaikai and Onlive will work by running programs on their server and streaming it to the PC...Onlive will have a subscription fee but you can play multiple games? Gaikai sounds like they'll put the price into the developers hands meaning probably a subscription and/or purchase fee to play a certain game. I honestly probably would try Gaikai first rather than Onlive. I do have reservations about them but think they have good potential to bring more games to gamers.

bigethan
bigethan

@Ardiendo - I agree completely. This is a fantastic demo service for high end games, and a great way to play lower end games and use applications. It's just flash. We could embed their game player in our gamespaces, or wherever. Really neat stuff, but not the replacement for PC and consoles that OnLive is trying to be.

athenian29
athenian29

This is definitely going to work better than OnLive will, I'm confident of that.

Glokwerk
Glokwerk

It could potentially be alright, I think they are going to have some major piracy issues which will result in developer backouts and the slow death of Gaikai. I will stick with my discs, I enjoy having the physical copy of the game. You woulld miss out on box art and the booklets, not really essential but I like to have them.

akiwak
akiwak

We were one of the first companies pushing free to play, and I think it's starting to become a serious reality here in the USA. AWESOME!!!!!

krkg007
krkg007

Microsoft may not own bungie anymore, but microsoft has full ownership of the halo franchise.So if bungie wanted to develope for any other console they wont be able to use the halo franchise.

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

I agree, "virtual gaming" are not reliable enough. It's has too many vulnerabilitiess corrupt files, hard-drive crashes, viruses..and even hackers..I'll stick to hard copies for now.

VirtualTofu
VirtualTofu

Uhh.... It's Onlive with Halo, Mario, and God of War.... O.K.... I'd rather have WAY more 3rd party titles than 1st.

jmace1
jmace1

I'm sorry but could someone explain to me how this differs from OnLive. I read the article, but it wasn't very clear to me.

mikeyvp87
mikeyvp87

I dom't want to sound like a hater but On Live is going to flop. read an opinion peace about it in this month's CPU magazine. Essentially the technology needed to pull this off and the bandwith needed don't exist yet.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Sounds like an interesting premise.... though I still maintain that all of these types of services should be considered complimentary to existing ideals, rather than replacements for them....

Dante2710
Dante2710

sounds good in theory, but i doubt it`ll actually work

shkar
shkar

what the hell is wrong with having a console or PC and having a hard copy of the game??????? Damn you OnLive and this so called Gaikai service !!!

Ardiendo
Ardiendo

I think people need to look at this as a means of developers cheaply getting their products into the public eye, not as a gaming platfiorm itself and that it gives a potentially massive audience the ability to try out a game either for free or for a very small price. Even if people decide to buy a hard copy of the games they try out for their Xbox/PS3 it is still a win win situation for both the developers and the people who run Gaikai as they are both still getting paid. Then of course if it offers players the chance to play older titles such as Mario 64 then that is just a bonus that makes the service even more appealing. If done properly I'm sure this could work.

newb16
newb16

DeathsHead419 I like how you said that

drhatchet
drhatchet

"qaasq, A 1st party game is one made in-house by one of Microsoft, Nintendos, or Sonys developers. Such as Mario. Mario studio is owned by Nintendo. No one except Nintendo can have a Mario game. Bungie USED to be 1st party with Microsoft, and thus Halo was a 1st party game. Now halo is simply a 3rd party exclusive. They are not owned by MS, but they only make games for them. These are usually high quality, high profile games." Actually, you forgot 2nd party games. These are developed for a company that you aren't actually bound to. See the Kirby games, Nintendo didn't own it but the developers only released it on Nintendo systems. (that may have changed throughout the years however).

Vambran
Vambran

This sounds like that phantom console a few years back. I doubt the big 3 will make room for this so called Gaikai.

NoDice_386
NoDice_386

qaasq, A 1st party game is one made in-house by one of Microsoft, Nintendos, or Sonys developers. Such as Mario. Mario studio is owned by Nintendo. No one except Nintendo can have a Mario game. Bungie USED to be 1st party with Microsoft, and thus Halo was a 1st party game. Now halo is simply a 3rd party exclusive. They are not owned by MS, but they only make games for them. These are usually high quality, high profile games.

NoDice_386
NoDice_386

DeathsHead419 said it better than I ever could, lol. I want a tangible copy. I want to have the option to resell my games if I need to. The only way I imagine this working is if the monthly fee is either non existant, or $5.00 or less. And the games would have to be atleast 20 dollars cheaper at launch than the retail price, as developers wouldnt have to send as many discs out to be copied. And they pay YOU to host their games? What if a dev goes under? They obviously wouldnt be able to pay the fees to keep the game hosted. And what if I bought one of those games you refuse to host? Fail.

PhoenixHawk06
PhoenixHawk06

@qaasq, First party games are games such as Legend of Zelda, Mario games, Metroid games, Halo, and various other titles and series that are produced by the companies that manufacture the consoles themselves specifically for those consoles. Third party games are games made by developers who operate independently of the companies that make the platforms they develop for.

qaasq
qaasq

um... what do they mean by "first party games"?

bredeyabo
bredeyabo

FREEEEEE? :) if they get first party games in consoles then im all over this thing

SkidRow18
SkidRow18

i kinda of afraid thats the future of gaming, i don't really like to pay for downloads instead i prefer a box that comes with a disc so i can rub the disc against my face, smell the box. XD

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Not nearly enough details to say whether it will be successful or not, but I like the idea. Now if the handhelds with online access can use this, they have a shot. Even if 90% of their customers are using modded DS's or PSP's, they'll have a shot

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

If this service is all online, what happens when there are virus's or your files get corrupted. I am one of those people who prefer a hard copy because its just more rewarding to have a case and a book and a disk and the opportunity to do what ever you want with all that rather then having a file which actually doesn't exist physically and can disappear into nothingness randomly depending on how your systems wants to be on that particular day.