Aug 13 AT 8:01 PM Taylor Wimberly 32 Comments

Gaikai could bring Sony’s entire PS3 library to Android devices


Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are all working on next-gen gaming consoles, but it’s already inevitable that the next great gaming platform is the cloud. By the end of this year, a number of Android devices will be able to stream flagship console games and the experience will feel just like you are playing a game console hooked up to a TV.

You can experience cloud gaming on Android right now with an existing service called OnLive. I’ve been playing around with their Android client and it has potential, but the upcoming Gaikai (pronounced: guy-kai) service absolutely blows it out of the water. Gaikai is already available from PC browsers right now, and an Android client is coming in the next couple of months.

Gaikai represents the 2nd-gen of cloud gaming, where OnLive was the 1st.

Gaikai offers a superior gaming experience thanks to their growing games library and NVIDIA’s GeForce Grid technology. I had the opportunity to test out Gaikai for Android on an ASUS Transformer Pad and I was amazed at how responsive it was. I played a couple levels of Bulletstorm using an Xbox controller, and it felt very much like a console game.

“It Only Does Everything”

Leaked image of Sony’s next Android tablet.

We thought that Gaikai would be released to Google’s Play Store later this year, but plans might have changed after Sony acquired Gaikai for $380 million. We now believe that Sony will make Gaikai an exclusive service to their upcoming smartphones and tablets.

Sony is expected to announce the follow-up to their Tablet S later this month at IFA. The device is rumored to feature NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor and it will be lighter and thinner than the original. We already know that Gaikai runs great on Tegra 3 devices and Sony could easily add support for their Bluetooth DualShock 3 controller.

Several games that appeared on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 have already been ported to Gaikai. It should be fairly simple for Sony to hand pick their best sellers from the PlayStation 3 library and make them available on-demand through Gaikai. If this happens, then Sony would instantly offer one of the best Android tablets for gaming.

Expect more details to be revealed at the end of August.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • aranea

    Suddenly Ouya became even more attractive. :)

    • Taylor Wimberly

      OUYA has only announced support for OnLive right now, a service I can’t currently recommend.

      • aranea

        But also Ouya will be rootable and Android community is very creative about bringing services across devices ;)

        • Max.Steel

          Rooting doesn’t make something better than the other…

        • Homncruse

          The Sony tablet is also likely to be rootable (though through unofficial, indirect means).

          Realistically though, while Gaikai will probably be ported to other devices, it’s probable that if Sony detects an unauthorized device using their service, they’ll disable your account.

          Additionally, if Sony REALLY wanted to lock it down, they might include a hardware check for service authentication that *wouldn’t* be portable to unauthorized devices without serious hardware modification (think built-in authenticator).

          • aranea

            You’re right they can do something like what apple does with siri to restrict it to only to 4s despite the fact that earlier models can perfectly run it. Then people copied device id’s. But I know hat you mean then again sony may do an exclusive deal with on company or the other.

    • SQuirrel

      Except that the bar graph is pure BS. With a home console and a screen at 60Hz,the input lag should be less than 20 milliseconds. I’ll pass for those kinds of cons, all it’ll do it make you regret getting the gaikai service.

      • Matt

        Actually, input lag on any modern game console and any LCD/LED TV 40″ or larger is 35-80 ms. A TV with a game mode, like the Sony Bravia KDL40EX703, brings the lag down to 31-35 ms. The graph isn’t entirely BS but the mean display lag for Console + TV should be more like 60 ms instead of 66.

  • Nathan D.

    If Sony does make it an exclusive to only their product then that would be a dam shame, don’t you think?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      They need something to help their products stand out.

      • Roberto

        How many additional devices could Sony sell if this remains exclusive? What would be its net profit? Compare this to being able to sell a gaming service to every Android decive! When PS3 launched they were losing money with each console, they were not selling harware but software, there was the profit. This is the same now!

      • R.S

        I know that if this was exclusive to their phones and tablets, I’d go out and buy one of their tablets as soon as it was released.

      • Jimmy_Jo

        I think… scratch that. I know it would be better for the ecosystem to have this service available for every android device. However, literally 5 minutes after I was thinking that after the new possible nexus tablets come out later this year I’ll compare them to the Nexus 7 and pick the best one, I read this article and immediately said to myself. “I need this!” So I think they have something good here.

        Mind you, I don’t need a tablet right now. I have one. But this looks awesome!

        • Michael_

          I hope they will pursue the way they licensed playstation mobile software, like they have done with htc, with other manufacturers.

  • aholland1

    If Sony has any kind of sense they’ll license this service out to any device that can handle it and enable no root controller pairing to leverage the cloud as a gaming platform. This is the Swan song of consoles as we know it, and the sooner they move away from exclusive hardware the sooner we’ll move toward that future.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Gaikai already announced deals to bring their gaming service to TVs from LG and Samsung. However, when it comes to mobile devices I believe Sony will keep it as an exclusive feature to their own phones and tablets.

      • Tarwin

        That could be their tactic but it seems unwise. How well did the original playstation branding work on their other devices? I personally think a better choice would be to have a mixture of their playstation branding strategy and Tegra’s Tegrazone strategy.

        What I mean by this is to allow other hardware makers, or better yet, the end users, license/subscribe to the service (that would be the playstation branding part as theoretically they are licensing it out now and I say theoretically because I haven’t seen the licensing pop up in real life). The Tegrazone strategy would come in the nature of exclusives. Tegrazone games potentially have two advantages for Tegra device owners:

        – one is enhanced graphics through optimization like with Shadowrun or Sonic. This is hard to justify with Gaikai as the real lifting is being done in the cloud, which leaves us with the other advantage
        – the second advantage is (temporary) exclusivity. They could make the newest and hottest titles exclusive to Sony devices. Then after they start to get long in tooth or lose some of their popularity they could be made available everyone.

        I think a three tiered system would be ideal:

        Tier 1 – all the titles, including the hottest ones, and the best graphics to computer owners and sony device owners
        Tier 2 – same graphics and most or all the games excluding the hottest releases or sony exclusives to any other subscriber with an android/iOS device (I don’t personally like iOS but it would be a big market for Sony and I doubt they’ll be leaving their iStuff in large numbers just for this) capable of running the service (i.e. fast connection and decent media decode block on the SoC)
        Tier 3 – demos, some free casual games, and freemium titles available to anyone with a free membership, the resolution might be lower during peak hours to save on bandwith, or they could even be barred from playing if traffic is heavy (maybe not freemium titles as they’d still make money off of those). This tier could also run on lower end devices with less powerful decode blocks, letting those people try out the service and entice them to upgrade their device, preferably to a Sony one.

        Personally I won’t be buyingn a Sony device any time soon, I haven’t liked anything they have (and have had some bad experiences with their warranties). Though I am always willing to reconsider.

        Personally I would like this service on an HTC device, maybe a Samsung one. I would be willing to pay as long as the number of exclusives isn’t huge (I think 10% of their total offerings would be a good maximum as long as the other offerings are also quality games)

        • Taylor Wimberly

          Great idea. Sony owners get free access to a certain tier and other have to pay subscription fees.

  • Scott

    Any chance it will be available for the Playstation certified HTC One X? Wasn’t there an announcement about certification a while back?

  • jonathan3579

    I, for one, would happily welcome them allowing their PS3 games to be streamed on Android. I wonder what sort of incentive (if any) would be allowed for those of us who actually own a PS3. Oh the possibilities!!! :D

  • Himmat

    Can someone please tell me streaming games is good? Isn’t it better to play native games? The way I look at it, streaming games is like streaming movies, only that you take part in the action. If so, lots of server costs will be associated. Assuming the games are streamed in 720p, that would mean around 3GB for every hour played. Isn’t that too much of bandwith usage?

  • ashish

    Please try “Fivecraft” games available in google play

  • droilfade

    Looks like OUYA is stirring something! It would be a shame if this would SONY exclusive and also in this day and age that would be stupid! Make it a cloud gaming platform and I think we’ll see a couple more players jump in to provide a monthly subscription.

    Also, Taylor why don’t you recommend..OnLive. I was planning to subscribe but now I’m confused!

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I’ll post a full review this week.

    • philnolan3d

      OnLive is fantastic You can try it out yourself without even needing to download anything. Here’s a link to demo Darksiders II

      I have, I believe, 23 games (mostly AAA) with them plus their console and have paid a total of $149.25.

  • lancaster09

    This sounds sick but I’m just not catching on to the streaming game thing. However I like the idea of my future tablet supporting PS3 games.

    • philnolan3d

      Have you tried the streaming game thing?

  • Dragonithe

    Hey sony, remember your playstation certification program and how the htc one series got a certification?
    Just give us this instead and we’ll forget that we already wait a long time for that.

  • MoSDeeb

    I just tested this on my computer and it worked flawlessly. And if we do see a tablet client that would be great being able to game on the go with actual quality games. Not just the time wasters that flood the play store.

  • Matt

    Its interesting that the carriers have colluded together to impose insane data caps and overage fees and continue to increase prices as costs go down.

    Then all the sudden we see all this cloud bull crap like music and gaming etc. Heck look at some of the phones without sdcard options and you always hear the excuse “Oh well you have cloud storage” yeah i sure do at a cost towards my ever shrinking data cap.

    I wonder how much data this would use with moderate gaming for a month.

  • philnolan3d

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Sony or no Sony gaikai has been telling us we’d be getting an awful lot of stuff that never showed up. While OnLive has been there all along giving us a lot of stuff. Heck right now they’re giving away a free game with 2 more coming this weekend.