Games in the cloud: Gaikai is live

If you’ve been hanging out, wanting to try streaming games service Gaikai, now’s your chance! CEO of the company, David Perry, has announced that the service is now open for anyone to try out.

Gaikai Logo

It's finally here!

You won’t find any full games there yet (unlike OnLive), but there are a handful of demos to check out, including a playable version of Mass Effect 2. Interestingly, other EA games that never saw a ‘proper’ PC demo have also been included, so you can get your fix of Spore or The Sims 3 as well.

Don’t want to play those old, dusty games? What about Dead Space 2? It’s the only place to play a PC demo of the game, so the fact you have to answer a short survey is no distraction, right?

Finally, if you want, you can also try out Second Life, streaming via Gaikai.

This time around, the system is being touted as “the next generation in game advertising”, with Perry explaining how many gamers believe it is important or “very important” to try a game before handing over cash. It’s an interesting approach, and I hope it works. Is this the new version of demo disks on magazine covers?

Mass Effect 2 on Gaikai this the way of the future?

For those concerned about latency, Perry addresses the topic in his latest [surl=]blog post[/surl]:

Our Network is now the fastest interactive proximity network in the world. We have it live and working in 12 countries across 24 data centers. Limelight Networks has been a massive supporter and have helped us scale very efficiently.

Why does that matter? Well there’s a lot of talk about Latency with streamed games and it comes from two places, the speed you can compress/decompress video and the time it takes to transmit the data to a user and get the control inputs back. If our engineers work really hard, they can maybe squeeze out another thousandth of a second from our compression but if we set up in a data center two states closer to your house, we dramatically improve the performance. Our goal is to end up with data centers in every major city in the world peered directly to the key internet service providers in that area. It’s a never-ending job to keep improving latency and we have assembled a fantastic operations team to achieve that.

So – what do you have to do? Perry spells it out.

Step 1:
Make sure you have an open internet connection. (Not VPN, Proxy etc.)
Note: Wired will probably offer more bandwidth than Wifi.

Step 2:
Make sure you have the latest Flash & Java:

You can try Mass Effect 2 if you just visit: [surl][/surl] (Just wait and if your connection quality to our Server is fast enough, one of several pop-up designs will appear.)

You can play Dead Space 2 here, after a [surl=]short survey[/surl]

You can play Spore here: [surl=]CLICK HERE[/surl]

You can already play SIMS with Gaikai here: [surl][/surl]

You can already try Second Life here: [surl][/surl] (Just wait and if your connection quality to our Server is fast enough, a pop-up will appear.)

Our next phase is to start embedding Gaikai into gaming websites, so visitors can try the latest games. We already have run millions of connection tests, but the more the better.

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