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Gaikai Now Streaming PC Games Into Facebook

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments
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Gaikai has launched a Facebook app that will stream PC game demos directly into the social network. Full games are coming soon.

Gaikai CEO David Perry said on Thursday that his company is now streaming PC games into Facebook via an app located here.

For now, the beta service is currently only available to Facebook users located in North America and Europe, offering five playable demos: Orcs Must Die (USA & Europe), Farming Simulator 2011 (USA & Europe), Magicka (USA & Europe), Saints Row The Third (USA) and Dead Rising 2 Off The Record (USA). Full game streams and popular MMOGs will be available soon as well as demos of Sniper - Ghost Warrior (USA & Europe) and The Witcher 2 - Assassins of Kings (USA & Europe).

"People don’t want to leave Facebook to play games – Zynga’s phenomenal success is proof of that," Perry said. "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. Most video game publishers are now seeking to grow their digital customer base and unlike movie and music services like Netflix and Spotify, Gaikai gives the game publishers relationships with the customers."

Unlike OnLive which offers a closed network, Gaikai merely provides the streaming technology so that publishers can offer their products anywhere. Up until now, Gaikai has only coughed up demos on certain websites including Walmart, Best Buy and EA's Origin store. But providing full-fledged PC games via Facebook means users will likely be able to purchase streaming titles within the social network using a credit card or Facebook credits. These games will probably be tied into the Facebook account itself much like they would be if purchased through another digital distribution platform like Steam and GamersGate.

That said, this could be bad news for said distribution platforms. Not only do these titles not require high-end hardware to produce high-end results, but there's already a built-in social network connecting gamers across the world. Even more, these games will likely be playable on tablets given publishers and developers implement touchscreen controls. Limitations are seemingly lifted on the consumer end, and only bottlenecked by Gaikai's own servers rendering the actual games.

"Gaikai’s technology allows us to deliver our games to a wider audience," stated Kevin Kraff, Vice President of Global Brand Management at THQ. "As content creators it’s not only paramount that we give our players great entertainment but also that we give them a choice in how they access it. Streaming inside Facebook is not only revolutionary, but is something that both new and existing players will benefit from."

Gaikai's deal with Facebook could pose a serious problem for OnLive too. By comparison, OnLive customers can purchase streaming PC and console games within OnLive's network, simply choose to rent titles for three or five days, or pay a monthly subscription for the PlayPack Bundle. Accessing OnLive is free, but users are required to download and install a "player" to receive the gaming stream. The service also offers a standalone hardware receiver "console," a wireless controller for connecting straight to an HDTV, and apps for iOS and Android.

Does all this streaming technology spell certain doom for the PC hardware market? Not at all. As Nvidia pointed out to us last year, there will always be a place for the high-end gaming rig. What this means is that publishers can now develop high end games while still generating revenue from the mid-range and low-end consumer base that previously wasn't available. It's also a good way to combat piracy.

To play a handful of PC game demos within Facebook, head here.

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  • 9 Hide
    Parsian , April 13, 2012 4:55 AM
    Clever idea but I personally dont like facebook nor like cloud gaming, the combination of the two makes it even worse for me.

    But hey, im sure there are people who like it. It is better than stupid farmville...
  • 4 Hide
    dontcrosthestreams , April 13, 2012 5:20 AM
    ive got cousins i barley remember hitting with tonka trucks sending me farmville crap lol
  • 5 Hide
    aoneone , April 13, 2012 5:26 AM
    yay Farming simulator.. because you know I've always dreamed about backbreaking labor and cleaning manure! I can't wait!
  • 7 Hide
    anamech , April 13, 2012 7:33 AM
    Epic fail!!! The future will be filled with Facebook-Zombie like "wannabe" gamers!!!

    I don't like this!!! I don't like this at all!!!
  • 7 Hide
    TheFoxyBox , April 13, 2012 8:48 AM
    greghomePing?

    Over 9000!
  • 0 Hide
    arlandi , April 13, 2012 9:57 AM
    "People don’t want to leave Facebook to play games"...
    i do leave Facebook or G+ to play games. don't want distraction while i'm out there killing goblins and orcs.

    the only social network that i'm using is Steam (that is if you can call it social network).

    no thanks, definitely not a product for me.
  • -2 Hide
    coolkev99 , April 13, 2012 12:53 PM
    Wow. 2012 really is the end of the world.
  • 0 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 13, 2012 1:12 PM
    I got to test this system out (Im part of nvidia's mailing list for certain products) about 2 months ago. Played crisis 2 on my living room pc (i5 750 with a gt240) with no lag just longer than normal load times. Played Witcher 2 as well. While you couldnt change the graphics options too much in either game you got the real game and it played very well.

    Im happy to see that nvidia and their partners will be offering this service through facebook because now the facebook people can play actual games (full screen and everything) instead of stupid games like farmville. Casual gaming is the bane of real gamers everywhere and that's whats lead to the disdain for facebook "gamers". Gaikai changes that.
  • 0 Hide
    halls , April 13, 2012 1:23 PM
    Sounds like Onlive (which is doing fairly well, and their service is not bad at all).

    I think they beat Onlive to the punch with Facebook integration, and one of two things are gonna happen:

    1. Users love the service because it's conveniently available on a widely used social network, it works well and they get to test it without much effort, or

    2. All of the above, except they don't love it because they don't fully understand the bandwidth requirements.

    Either way, I think there is some good money to be made in this for Gaikai. Props to them.
  • 4 Hide
    stingstang , April 13, 2012 3:23 PM
    "People don’t want to leave Facebook to play games"
    My soul started crying when I read this...
  • 2 Hide
    hapkido , April 13, 2012 4:24 PM
    Do you really think people who can't be bothered to alt-tab away from facebook will play any game that takes at least a 30 minute commitment to do anything in? Cloud streaming will hold PC gaming back even more than consoles have already done. Gamers aren't satisfied playing on low settings at 720p and 30fps. And the ones that are haven't experienced the real thing.
  • 0 Hide
    xenol , April 13, 2012 6:49 PM
    This service is more of a "try before you buy", unlike OnLive. I ran a few games on it, including Crysis 2. It's surprisingly smooth to say the least. I'd support this company more than OnLive out of the fact that it provides demos, especially for games that have none.
  • 0 Hide
    dreadlokz , April 13, 2012 9:24 PM
    "better than stupid farmville"²

    I don't use facebook nor anything else, just skype, and I rly don't like the idea of cloud gamming, it can be the best server and best connection, still wont respond as if it were in your high-end computer... but I guess this is more for light-players, so maybe thats ok then ;p
  • 0 Hide
    WallsJeffery , June 7, 2012 1:45 AM
    On facebook it gona be be great then
  • 0 Hide
    mcdonaldjerome , June 24, 2012 12:37 AM
    its gona be great to play good on Facebook :-)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2012 4:08 PM
    In this time streaming nothing :-(