Gaikai Goes to Facebook

Gaikai Goes to Facebook

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Gaikai is now offering streaming demos of eight hit games on the world's most popular social network.

Gaikai promises to bring high-quality gaming to the masses by way of a streaming service that does away with the need for game consoles and high-end PCs. But the masses are already busy on Facebook. What to do? A Gaikai Facebook app, of course!

The Gaikai Facebook app beta test began today, bringing demos of eight hot, hit games to just about anyone who can connect to Facebook: Saints Row: The Third, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Magicka, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Orcs Must Die! and Farming Simulator 2011. [Okay, I'm not sure about that last one, but hey, it's Facebook.]

"People don't want to leave Facebook to play games - Zynga's phenomenal success is proof of that," Gaikai CEO David Perry said in a statement. "Cloud gaming means that the game doesn't need to be downloaded and run on your computer, it literally means the game runs out on the internet, in the cloud, with the experience being streamed to the players."

"The power of Facebook is not only in the vast size of the connected audience, but also in the quality of the social ties and interactions that occur within the network," he added. "The Facebook social graph fuels our mantra, 'Try it for free', 'Share it if you like it', 'Buy it if you love it'."

And how is it? Alas, I cannot say, as my effort to take the Farming Simulator for a spin was stymied by a band of insufficient broadness. The listed requirements for Gaikai on Facebook are only Java and a broadband connection, but there's apparently a limit of some sort and I'm below it. The prospect of trying out The Witcher or Saints Row is a very cool one, but it seems that the world isn't quite ready for a full-on digital future just yet.

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Andy Chalk:
The prospect of trying out The Witcher or Saints Row is a very cool one, but it seems that the world isn't quite ready for a full-on digital future just yet.

Indeed.

Still, this sounds like a neat thing for people with the connections that can handle it.

Irridium:

Andy Chalk:
The prospect of trying out The Witcher or Saints Row is a very cool one, but it seems that the world isn't quite ready for a full-on digital future just yet.

Indeed.

Still, this sounds like a neat thing for people with the connections that can handle it.

I'm on FIOS and have enough bandwidth to run more HD streams simultaneously than I have screens in my house, along with low latency. I still have no interest in anything like this, because if anything has a demo, it takes about as long to download and install it as it does for me to go get a drink, if not less. Full games aren't much of a bigger deal. Plus, I don't have some silly amount of input latency added onto everything I do by having to run the game remotely, and I don't have to suffer through everything running at crappy settings and having compression artifacts on top.

I may have near the ideal Internet connection for a service like this, but it also means that I don't need a service like this. And with how cheap stuff is on Steam and GOG and how much more pleasant it is to run things locally, I also don't want a service like this. Someone must, though, or they wouldn't've kept failing to go out of business for all this time...

Nalgas D. Lemur:

I may have near the ideal Internet connection for a service like this, but it also means that I don't need a service like this. And with how cheap stuff is on Steam and GOG and how much more pleasant it is to run things locally, I also don't want a service like this. Someone must, though, or they wouldn't've kept failing to go out of business for all this time...

It's because there's another breed of customer that you haven't considered: those with a great connection but a crap computer. A typical netbook likely has an outdated and generally poor Intel graphics chipset instead of a proper card, and isn't likely to be able to play games like Saints Row: The Third at all save through a streaming service like this.

A few months ago, my graphics card stopped working, and I had to order a new one. In the time I spent waiting for it to arrive, I pretty much lived on Gaikai demos, because my integrated chipset couldn't handle much else (even minecraft required lowest settings, a mod, and a driver hack to be playable).

What's more, locally stored games need to be locally stored (duh, but hear me out). Sometimes it's not worth eating up a few GB just to try a game, especially if you're already running low. Sometimes you're not at your own PC (Work? Internet Café? Friend's house?) and it would not be appropriate to actually install something. Streamed games do not have these issues.

That being said, I will not try to argue that this is a better experience than locally-stored games, because it isn't. Given the choice, I'd play a game from my own machine, with no latency and better graphics settings, any day. But it's nice that there is a choice, that things like this are available to people who, for one reason or another, might not be able to play these games locally.

P.S. Thanks

This service fits perfectly for my friend.
He has an incredible internet connection. But for some reason refuses to update that shitty laptop of his. Though I think he'll be a bit skeptical towards the safety of the online saves.

-V

Gaikai creeps me the hell out. They're like a looming vision of the future where nobody owns any games and has to stream everything.

 

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