Ever since Sony acquired Gaikai from David Perry back in June of 2012, there has been speculation as to what the consumer electronics giant will do with the streaming service. First thought to be a sort of upgrade to the Playstation 3, then assumed to be a cloud media server for the PS4, Sony’s president has come forth in a recent interview with more details on future plans. Shuhei Yoshida spoke of an, “ultimate goal to bring Playstation games to all devices,” and “going from hardware to something closer to a service, regardless of the device.” He goes on to say that the PS4 would remain the center of their focus, even when considering other hardware avenues.
Sony is certainly not the first company to make a go at streaming games or a cloud-based service. Companies like OnLive and GameTap have been in the business for years. But these comments from Sony’s president could have huge implications for the future of gaming. Just imagine if Sony moves outside of their proprietary consoles and becomes a video game company based mostly on a streaming service. With a robust catalog of titles to pull from, Sony could create a sort of Netflix for video games: a flat monthly fee to play hundreds of classics from the Playstation 1, 2, and 3.
There are plenty of hurdles in such a move. As Microsoft found out earlier this year with the “always online” debacle, not every consumer has access to a hearty internet connection. On top of the headache that is server maintenance and running a smooth streaming service, most of the games that mark Sony’s rise to fame are third-party titles, so negotiations and licenses must be taken into consideration. But if all of these challenges could be met, Sony would make quite an impact on the gaming market, and potentially earn piles of money in the process. The bottom line to consider: just how many players would be interested in such a service and how much are they willing to pay?
Just speaking for the GIMMGP Headquarters, I know of at least two players would pay a good amount to stream dozens of Playstation games.