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Gaikai will be fee-free, utilize 300 data centers in the US


Meeting with Gaikai's founding fathers -- ( from left to right) Rui Pereira, Andrew Gault and David Perry -- this morning, we chatted about the company's unique take on "cloud gaming," particularly how, unlike competitor OnLive, there will be no fee to play streaming games using its servers and in-browser app, and what it's doing to "reduce friction" in trying (and eventually buying) games online.

Saying that Gaikai "isn't trying to be PlayStation 4 or take out the next Wii," Perry described (and demoed) the concept of embedding instantly playable games on any website. A publisher can, for instance, have a clickable pop-up appear when people are looking at one of its games on Amazon, which quickly launches an overlay window running the full game, with whatever time limit the publisher chooses. After this period, players can opt to buy the game for unlimited streaming, download it, or have a physical copy shipped to them.

What intrigued us more is the ability to Tweet from within these demos, and, if you're playing a multiplayer title, anyone who clicks the link sent to your Twitter feed will be launched into your game. We also got a look at a widget that places a small video of any game you're currently playing via Gaikai on your personal blog, which friends can click to either try the game or actually join the session you're in, if applicable. This demo used Mario Kart 64, in which it was possible for Gaikai staff to drop in as player two, three or four fairly easily.

Perry also revealed to us that Gaikai has secured servers at 300 data centers across the US (as opposed to OnLive's five), in addition to inking deals with local broadband providers to install servers at another 900 peering locations -- all with the goal of keeping latency as low as possible. The ideas we saw in action have the potential to shake up the traditional game demo model, for sure. What do you think of what Gaikai's cooking up?

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