Sony buys Gaikai game streaming service for $380M

Sony announced tonight that it will acquire the streaming video-game service Gaikai for $380 million. The deal officially closed on June 30, and Sony is purchasing the California-based company as part of a move to disrupt the gaming business.
The news doesn’t come as a shock; rumors about the potential acquisition rose in May and June, but no official announcement was made until tonight by Gaikai.
What this acquisition means for partnerships that companies like Samsung, LG, Walmart, and others have with Gaikai is unclear, but the potential benefits for Sony are huge. They go anywhere from in-store kiosks playing any Playstation 3 or Playstation Vita title straight from a TV connected only to the Internet, to no need for future console hardware because of streaming-only services. Sony has had the benefit, compared to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, of offering free online gaming, and with a streaming cloud service, the company may be able to turn back the Xbox’s dominance this generation.
Sony has repeatedly had trouble creating software platforms, something that Gaikai has done tremendously well with its streaming game service. This may prove to be the most important part of this acquisition for Sony, which has struggled to gain dominance in software development when compared to rivals like Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony’s move to the Playstation Mobile, a suite for games that run on both smartphones and game consoles, will also benefit from streaming functions. We’ve already seen earlier this year that streaming games can function well over cellular networks.
“By combining Gaikai’s resources, including its technological strength and engineering talent, with Sony’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, Sony will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences,” said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. “Sony will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of Internet-connected devices.”
“Sony has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide,” said David Perry, CEO of Gaikai. “We’re honored to be able to help Sony rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”