Two reports from The Wall Street Journal and MCV have provided us with a glimpse into the future of Sony’s gaming business. Sources for WSJ claim Sony once considered leaving out optical disc drives for the next PlayStation, but was too concerned with global bandwidth restrictions to go ahead with the plan. At the same time, MCV sources suggest Sony is very close to purchasing a company that specializes in cloud gaming.
The likely acquisition targets are either Gaikai or OnLive. These are the two most prominent cloud gaming companies in the business right now, but their business practices are totally different.
OnLive directly sells cloud versions of multiplatform games either individually, or with bundled with several games in their PlayPack. OnLive also dabbles in non-gaming ventures such as OnLive Desktop which provides cloud access to Microsoft Office software.
Gaikai simply serves cloud-based demos for games across various websites. The idea behind this is to get potential customers to click through to purchase full versions of games from Gaikai’s partners. Gaikai is also more into improving the technology behind cloud gaming by partnering with NVIDIA to promote its GeForce Grid technology.
If Sony were to purchase one of these companies, my money would be on Gaikai. Gaikai seems like it could be integrated into Sony more easily than OnLive, and it already has connections to very popular brands. The effects of this potential partnership will resonate throughout all of Sony’s connected devices if this report proves to be accurate. We’ll see at E3.