PS4 and Gaikai

We are gearing up for a new round of consoles, with PS4 being announced and XBox 720 widely rumoured. Friends in the games industry are very excited about the new platforms.

Whilst some people were disappointed in the PS4 announcement because they didn’t see final hardware, one very disruptive feature that is announced is the integration with Gaikai on the console itself. The idea behind Playstation Cloud Service appears to be that the PS4 console will make available a rendered stream so that others can fetch video highlights, or even control the console remotely. Its sort of a “reverse Onlive”: the servers are distributed and the console is bearing the load of rendering and compressing the video. Its a very interesting idea: get help from friends remotely, demo a new game to your friends or perhaps get technical support? Of course its not a new idea really: VNC, RDP and various remote desktop systems have been around for a very long time. It is claimed to be no cost to the performance of the console which is interesting. Of course, the console is likely to be on the fringe of the Internet so its not clear if the latency to another console on another ISP will be acceptable for games (OnLive have positioned their servers strategically so they have low latency to their clients); in the worst cast Playstation Cloud Service might be double the latency of OnLive. In the best case (geographically colocated and/or on the same ISP) it could be better. Of course the bandwidth will cost someone and in the UK at least, upload rates are throttled a lot lower than download rates.

Anyway, its a very interesting service and we look forward to seeing what use-cases Sony support.