Playstation 4's Gaikai game streaming service gives Sony an edge

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 22, 2013
Updated • Feb 24, 2013

Sony revealed information about the upcoming Playstation 4 console two days ago, and while the company did not answer all of our questions, it did answer a couple of interesting ones. We know that Sony's Playstation is moving away from the cell architecture to x86 architecture which should make it a lot easier for companies to create multi-platform titles.

Among the features is the integrated Gaikai game streaming service which enables PS4 users to play games that are streamed to their location. This does not really make much sense in terms of games for the Playstation 4, considering that gamers do not gain anything using the technology for that.

It appears though that Sony plans to make available games from previous Playstation generations this way. The main reason here, at least when it comes to the Playstation 3, is incompatibility of games with the PS4 hardware. You can't just play PS3 games on the PS4 using physical discs due to those incompatibilities.

We do not know yet if and how your old collection of games will be made available on the new system, and if that will be a possibility, if it will be free of charge.

What the majority of commenters and journalists failed to take into account though is something that could give Sony an edge over Microsoft's Xbox 720 and Nintendo's Wii U. Gaikai started out as a service to stream PC games to PCs. Imagine Sony announcing that it will make available PC games on the Playstation 4 via its streaming service.

I'm talking about PC exclusives here, World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 or Hotline Miami. Sure, not all will play fine on the PS4 due to control issues, but if you can connect a keyboard and mouse to the PS4, you can theoretically play all recent PC games on the system as well.

In theory, Sony could also make available Xbox games or Nintendo Wii U games on the system.

This would require some form of cooperation with game companies for obvious reason and it is likely that Microsoft and Nintendo will flat out object to that, while PC gaming companies may be interested in that. Gaikai managed to sign up 50 game publishing companies before it was acquired by Sony.

It is not clear at this point in time if Sony has plans to go ahead with the idea of bringing PC games to the PS4, but if the company does, it will certainly have an edge over Microsoft's Xbox 720 in this regard.

What's your take on this?


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  1. Doc said on February 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    “Playstation 4′s Gakai game streaming service gives Sony an edge” That should be *Gaikai*

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Right, corrected.

  2. Morely Dotes said on February 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    A streaming game service only works in regions that have high-speed Internet service. I have friends all across North America who simply cannot get 1Mbps at an affordable price, let alone anything faster.

    This is not like Korea, where 100Mbps to the home is considered normal or even minimal.

    Of course, I’d never buy a Sony product anyway, but that’s only because I don’t want to reward corporations that deliberate distribute computer viruses as an “anti-piracy” measure.

    1. Edward said on February 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      The beauty of it is PS4 is also serving as a streaming server within your local network, so you can render on your ps4 and stream it to your vita.

  3. Coyote said on February 22, 2013 at 9:40 am

    While it would be hilarious to see Sony do something Xbox users have been begging for since the big black box I doubt they would consider making it a full PC. Doing even just WoW would expand their customer base 1000 fold on release day though.

    The reality I see is that PS4 & 720 will offer an online streaming service, this will lead to blending of the hardware and ultimately ending the console war. Games will become like netflix and no one will own anything, purely subscription based. However, Steam and the likes already do this and should be used as an example to follow, when Steam hopefully loses their case in Germany it will be even better as we will again be able to transfer games. But like I said if everything goes subscription, like Microsoft is obviously turning all their products twards, we’re stuck paying rental prices.

  4. Anonymous said on February 22, 2013 at 5:37 am

    “Imagine Sony announcing that it will make available PC games on the Playstation 3 via its streaming service.” Typo there. Should be Playstation 4.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 22, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Thanks for that, corrected.

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