Wow. It’s certainly been a crazy 6 months.
As we’ve been building our streaming games technology we have had about 30-40 titles working across a very wide range of genres. (We’ve been testing everything!)
It’s been a TON of work and so to speed up the process of onboarding games in September 2010 we kicked off a new server design. “The Raku Server”
We demonstrated this amazing new custom hardware at CES and let people play (streamed) Battlefield Bad Company II in stereoscopic 3D. We also showed set top boxes running Gaikai, we even had a Google TV demo etc.
At the Game Developers Conference in our meetings we will show some really high-end, high-performance games running at 60hz with no work needing to be done by the publishers / developers. We are really excited to have finally solved this incredible technical challenge.
Our main focus however is our Advertising strategy, where we can put any game anywhere on the web. Our objective has been to empower publishers and retailers to give gamers what they keep asking for… “Let me try the game!”.
Our data used to show around 95% of gamers believe trying a game before buying it is “Important” or “Very Important”. A recent survey we ran had them at 100%. So I think the message to publishers and retailers is clear… They love screenshots, they love trailers, but they love trying the game a lot more!
So that’s what we do, we let people try games, and I’d love to get to the point where we make it so easy that you can try “every” game without lots of friction and pain, downloading, installing, patching etc.
So our thinking is somewhat like YouTube, as instead of just building a portal to go and watch videos, they decided to focus on putting videos everywhere on the web. We are doing the same with games, so when you read a review on a game, you can try playing it right there on the same page as the review.
Nobody else in the world has achieved this kind of streaming performance directly into browsers, it’s technically the most advanced interactive advertising unit in existence, and I’m incredibly proud of my team’s accomplishments.
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.
The “Long Tail is a concept that there are blockbusters and there are countless other niche products that people will buy. I’ve always been a major advocate for the idea, however when you’re burning incredibly powerful/expensive servers it doesn’t make financial sense to be streaming a very niche game. This means that we need to focus on titles that people are really excited about, super-highly anticipated, that are popular and that people want to purchase. Electronic Arts not only has some of the biggest franchises in history (like The Sims), but also has the Game of the Year – Mass Effect 2 and other amazing titles like FIFA 2011, Dead Space 2, Battlefield, Bulletstorm etc.
EA signed with Gaikai in 2010 and we’ve been working away with them as we discover how to reduce the friction when playing products. We’ve been keeping quiet, (my blog has been silent) but we’ve secretly been up and running for months, quietly, testing, collecting analytics, improving things etc.
How to improve your streaming games experience?
Make sure you have an open internet connection. (Not VPN, Proxy etc.)
Note: Wired will probably offer more bandwidth than Wifi.
Make sure you have the latest Flash & Java:
You can try Mass Effect 2 if you just visit: http://www.gaikai.com/ (Just wait and if your connection quality to our Server is fast enough, one of several pop-up designs will appear.)
You can play the Dead Space 2 demo free here (after a short survey).
You can play the Spore demo free here.
You can already play Sims 3 on Gaikai here.
You can already try Second Life without registration here (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.
Anyway, if there’s any game you’d like to try for free, just tell us, or better still, go tell the publisher to get it up and running on their website, powered by Gaikai.
We are all gamers, and we wish we could try a lot more of the games that come out every day, and finally this is going to become possible.
Thanks for your support.
CEO Gaikai Inc.
Gaikai is Live!
Wow. It’s certainly been a crazy 6 months.