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Post by Dan @ 03:14pm 04/06/12 | 3 Comments
According to GamesIndustry International, Sony are rumoured to have struck a deal with "cloud-gaming" pioneers Gaikai that will allow them to make PlayStation 2 and PSOne games playable on "current-gen systems" using web streaming technology.

While Software emulation was used for PS1 games on PS3, PS2 backwards compatibility was only available on early PS3 consoles that featured the Emotion Engine chip, before Sony removed it from newer models to trim manufacturing costs.

Gaikai currently supports streaming for dozens of games, although only in regions where their servers are located (which does not presently include Australia) and up until now, has been limited to PC games. PC games from the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Capcom have been running on the service for some time, but achieving a comparable experience to running them locally is obviously heavily impacted by latency and bandwidth constraints as the system is effectively streaming hi-def video in real-time.

On the plus-side, it means that the device on the client end has to do only the minimal processing required to render the video -- a factor that has allowed Gaikai to get their hooks into retailer websites, Youtube and Facebook and TV manufacturer LG. So theoretically, it's technically feasible that server-streamed PlayStation games would be able to be played on any device capable of interfacing with Gaikai, although GI International points out that they have no word on whether Sony are considering allowing it's games outside of the PlayStation ecosystem -- even if only to other Sony products such as TVs, tablets and laptops.

Neither company have confirmed the deal, but speculation suggests that an announcement may occur at Sony's E3 press conference tomorrow. Nevertheless, the notion that it might some day be possible to play hardware-dependent classic games on any device with a browser is quite appealing -- presuming the limitations of cloud-gaming can be overcome.

playstation 3sonygaikai

Latest Comments
Posted 03:31pm 04/6/12
Thank god for the NBN.
Posted 04:39pm 04/6/12
Gakai is announcing something at E3, but the stuff I read a few days on polygon/the verge suggests that Gakai is partnering with Samsung. There was a press release, that was subsequently pulled, but copied up to Neogaf.

So perhaps Sony will partner with OnLive.. I guess we'll find out tomorrow :)

t's a Samsung Smart TV, playing high-end PC games like The Witcher 2 without so much as a set-top box; they're delivered solely over the internet. More importantly, it's an existing TV that's already on sale, with only a firmware update on top. "We don't need special chips or hardware," Perry tells me, adding that the update has been in the works for over six months with engineers flying to and from Korea in the interim. Today, it’s just an experiment laid bare on a table, but next week it becomes real: At the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Samsung will formally announce a partnership with Gaikai to introduce a cloud gaming service for its high-end televisions, and roll out a private beta soon afterwards.

That might not immediately sound like a game-changing announcement, but Gaikai executives are over the moon: Samsung is arguably the world's largest tech company — "There isn't a bigger deal to do in cloud gaming," says Perry — and it's not Gaikai's first rodeo. Samsung rival LG already committed to updating every one of its 2012 Cinema 3D television sets to include Gaikai back at CES, and the company believes it's going to be a strong differentiator. Back in Gaikai's spacious glass conference room, Perry has me imagine two TVs on a wall: "The TV on the right plays every video game ever made, the one on the left doesn't. The cost difference is nothing. That's why we think it's going to be compelling."
However, to use a favorite expression of Perry's, there's a twist: If you've got a Samsung Smart TV, you won't be playing on Gaikai proper; You'll be playing on Samsung's Cloud Gaming service, powered by Gaikai's network. While Gaikai facilitates the transaction, negotiates rights to particular games, integrates them into the service, builds the UI, and even puts the physical server racks together, it's Samsung that's footing the bill and Samsung that reaps the rewards. Samsung will get a cut of the purchase price, just like a brick and mortar retailer would. The secret, the company tells me, is that each new partner pays for their own set of dedicated servers in Gaikai's cloud, such that every time there's a new company, the whole network expands that much more and thus lowers the latency to end users. Each partner that isn't using their full capacity at a given moment leaves that much additional bandwidth for others to stream their games, and as a result, Gaikai claims its service is now live in 88 countries. In short, while Gaikai is almost definitely competing with OnLive at some level due to the expanded focus, it seems like the company is still true to its roots: it's a business-to-business firm, and thus it's not a centralized Gaikai that's expanding, so much as a slew of prospective grey-label providers using Gaikai's network.

Posted 11:27pm 04/6/12
I wish this would stop being referred to as backwards compatibility. Also I wish they would stop trying to make us pay multiple times to play the games we already own. So infuriating.
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