Sony a global player again? It’s all in the cloud and the cloud, is finally ready.
So we continue to be seduced by the cloud – The Cloud, as a phrase has entered the vocabulary of people from all walks of life – many of them, C-Level executives who despite knowing the phrase, struggle with what this darn thing is all about. First it seemed it was mid-size business that grasped the opportunity for reducing the amlunt of servers, expensive air-conditionig units and staff that were required to manage their corporate data, then tech powerhouses like Apple, Amazon and Google began to keep our information – our spreadsheets, our contact lists – safe in the cloud so we could access them anytime – from anywhere on a host of different devices. Apple introduced iTnes Match – so you buy your music on one device and it appears across all your others. DropBox came along and connected the average tablet user with the cloud. Marketeers went mad – IT managers embraced it – ill-informed execs said they needed it.
This hourney to the cloud, as Larry Ellison points out in his eloquent and dead-right way – began much longer ago than you think, 25 years or more depending on how far you stretch the definition of ‘cloud-computing’. The one barrier for much of the world though has been? Access speed. In a digital world with convergence accelerating on an almost daily basis, telecoms firms have found it hard to keep up. They find it hard because so many new users join the connected masses daily. If we had teh same number of users online that we had 10 years ago, all those connected would have blistering connection speeds. But as more people go online, more content is created, those new users access the other new users content and we get to where we are. Congestion. And this congestion has prevented development of not just bandwidth hungry applications but entire industries. One of these industries is the games industry. Other entertainment has done OK; HULU, iTunes and NetFlix for example have all made their products work well online in countries where average internet access speeds are well below average US or Japanese speeds. Cloud gaming needs a great infrastrure, because gamers demand seamless, smooth, awe-inducing images. Now that speeds are improving in even teh lagard countries a proposition like cloud gaming becomes more appealing – and appealing to a growing audience.
David Perry from Gaikai said of OnLive two years ago ““In a weird way I actually want them to be successful because it’s a good thing if streaming gets a really good reputation, so I actually want them to succeed. It’s healthy competition but we have very different strategies and it’s all going to shake itself out over the next 18 months”.
The two companies that interest me in the industry are OnLive and Gaikai. OnLive was founded in 2003 in San Francisco, has around 50 publishers with 270+ games available via cloud or clould-powered desktop. Investors AT&T and Belgacom, good content is good for telco network traffic. OnLive is like a games arcade – in teh cloud. As we use more and more mobile device – and micro-laptops we need device to be lighter, easier to carry – bt connected to vast sources of content – and OnLive facilitates this by publisihing via teh cloud. Gaikai is a somewhat different – although similar in some ways. The difference is their platform uses the ‘open network’ – this means the end-user is less restriced in what device they play on and the stteaming of games to devices is managed using very clever proprietary software, which can use other components installed on your device of choice. gaikai have published games on Facebook and even inside YouTube videos.