Reuters reports that Gaikai founder and Earthworm Jim designer David Perry is currently talking with at least 20 major companies over a licensing contract. Perry said that he's already secured most of EA's game catalog and even struck a deal with Walmart to stream games directly to the retailer's website. Even more, he's currently talking with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo about offering a similar service to the consoles.
"We have conducted tests on all major consoles, and will soon be announcing new deals," he said.
The cloud-gaming firm was founded back in 2009 and promises to stream games directly into a web browser on any device without a loss in quality. Unlike rival OnLive which requires the installation of a stand-alone client and consists of a closed network, Gaikai is an open cloud platform with servers established all across the country. Gamers reportedly connect to the server closest to their connection which in turn provides nearly zero latency to those streaming the same title and connected to the same server. Thus, Gaikai is essentially a service provided to publishers and corporations whereas OnLive is a service provided for paying gamers.
Perry told Reuters that his company uses Limelight Networks' data centers to house its servers. "When I was raising money for the company, the $1 million question was how to raise money for the servers and data centers," he said. "TriplePoint Capital (an early investor of YouTube, Facebook) signed up as an investor, so all the servers and hardware in the Gaikai network is bought by them." Perry added that he expects to double the number of Gaikai's data centers in the United States and Europe, to almost 50, in less than a year.
As a previous designer of console games, he's realized the importance of moving the industry into the cloud. Broker ThinkEquity reports that the market share of console games will shrink to 39-percent by 2014 from 61-percent in 2009. For a short while some believed that the gaming industry would actually crash again if it didn't move forward or regurgitate another generation of consoles. But Nintendo seemingly stalled the gaming apocalypse with the reveal of its Wii U console at E3 2011 in early June.
Still, do we really need another generation of consoles? As Perry points out, the systems we have today are 5-6 years old, and they're not running games optimally, or so he claims. "These consoles are playing games at 30 frames per second (fps), which adds to the latency," he said. "Gaikai's servers are running at 60 fps. We're using modern hardware and not 5-year-old hardware."
Perry also added that playing the large PC titles of today online isn't all that convenient. "World of Warcraft has an average 30 clicks before users can get into the game play, whereas 'Farmville' has an average of two clicks," Perry said. "Our focus is on how to make these big games convenient for playing on a platform like Facebook."
Perry expects to see Gaikai on most digital HDTVs by 2012.