Cloud gaming has long been touted as the next big thing. The idea is that you can play the latest console and PC games on remote hardware. As long as you have a good mobile network or broadband connection, you can play the games on any computer, laptop, tablet, or even smartphone. The service is already up and running on Web browsers like Chrome (as long as you have the latest Java updates). An Android client is currently in the works.
This could transform Android gaming completely, although Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai for $380 million does hint at big cloud gaming plans and we don’t yet know what they are. The service is already rolling out on a number of the latest smart TVs from Samsung.
Android and Me is suggesting that the service may be exclusive to Sony Android smartphones and tablets in the mobile arena. There’s no doubt that would give Sony’s Android releases a big boost and a serious advantage over the competition for the gamer market, but that would seriously limit their potential profits. Maybe Gaikai will be free or cheap for Sony Android device owners and only be available to everyone else for a subscription fee.
It is definitely an exciting development, but there are a few more hurdles to jump before cloud gaming can realize its full potential on the Android platform. Depending on the game, lag could be a big problem. You are at the mercy of your connection speed and, with the new data plans making unlimited data a thing of the past, you probably won’t want to use Gaikai unless you have a Wi-Fi connection. The majority of PS3 games will also require major redesigns to really work on a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. Of course, the Xperia Play will have a big head-start in that department thanks to the dedicated controls.
The prospect of playing the latest games on your Android tablet or phone is definitely attractive. We’ll just have to see how it pans out. Rest assured we’ll keep you posted.