Our Gaikai team has been working really hard for the last year, we demonstrated our tech privately at GDC, then LIVE (hands on) to most of the major publishers at E3.
For the people that visit my blog, I wanted to flick through some demos and show the experience under the following conditions:
(1) No installing anything. (I’m running regular Windows Vista, with the latest Firefox and Flash is installed.)
(2) This is a low-spec server, it’s a very custom configuration, fully virtualized. Why? To keep the costs to an absolute minimum. We had 7 Call of Duty games running on our E3 demo server recently.
(3) Data travel distance is around 800 miles (round trip) on this demo as that’s where the server is. I get a 21 millisecond ping on that route. My final delay will be 10 milliseconds as I just added a server in Irvine California yesterday, but it’s not added to our grid yet. (So this demo is twice the delay I personally would get, the good news is I don’t notice it anyway.)
(4) This server is not hosted by a Tier 1 provider, just a regular Data Center in Freemont California. Also, I’m not cheating and using fiber connections for our demos. This is a home cable connection in a home.
(5) We don’t claim to have 5,000 pages of patents, we didn’t take 7 years, and we do not claim to have invented 1 millisecond encryption and custom chips. As you can see, we don’t need them, and so our costs will be much less. 😉
(6) We designed this for the real internet. The video compression codecs change in realtime based on the need of the application (or game), and based on the hardware & bandwidth you have. (For Photoshop we make sure it’s pixel perfect.)
(7) Our bandwidth is mostly sub 1 megabit across all games. (Works with Wifi, works on netbooks with no 3D card etc.)
(8) If you hear any clicks, they are coming from my wireless headset microphone. I won’t use that next time I promise. 🙂
(9) I made a few video cuts using Windows Movie maker to cut out dead air. Like Need for Speed has far to many menus with loads & delays between them. So I tried to keep the pace up so you see plenty of demos
(10) I keep getting asked what operating system we use. We are completely OS agnostic, some demos come from Linux, some come from Windows and will ultimately support streaming from MAC servers too.
Publishers, you know how to contact me if you want to be in our Private Closed Beta. (There’s no work involved.)
Investors, just ping me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel you can add strategic value to this project.
Service providers, we have all our needs covered, but if you want to contact us for some reason, again just use email@example.com
Gamers, we want closed beta testers, especially if you live in California, so please sign up at http://www.gaikai.com Please add a note that you live in California.
We are not in competition with any other streaming company or technology, our business model is entirely different. I will be talking about it more during my up-coming speeches at video game conferences. (Develop this month, and GDC Europe are the next two.)
Our goals are really simple, to remove all the friction between hearing about a game and trying it out, to help reduce the cost of gaming, to grow video game audiences, to raise the revenue that publishers and developers can earn, and (most importantly) to make games accessible everywhere. If the iPhone App store has taught us anything, when you make it easy to check things out, you get a billion downloads.
I look to sites like Kongregate.com, I made a list of their most popular Flash games and just that first page of hits had 61 million plays on it. There are an estimated 20,000 Flash game sites on the web. That’s a TON of players looking for great content! We can supply all that content with a single click.
The professional games industry has never had acess to those countless millions of clicks, but now they do:
Gaikai Technology Demo (JULY 1, 2009) from David Perry on Vimeo.
Backup Video Link
Faster Video Link – NOT HD
Eurogamer did a technical review of OnLive and really beat them up, and they offered to review our tech. So we embraced this, and here’s the article: CLICK HERE
(They also get into the business model a bit.)
We are listening to the questions, and our next video will cover all the key points.
I will be talking about the tech at Develop, we don’t have UK servers set up yet, but we do have an offer… The top 4 publications (by audience) that contact us can come and try our tech (first hand). We just need you to be within driving distance of Amsterdam or Irvine, CA. We simply want you to be able to say with complete confidence “it’s real!”
Thanks everyone for the support! This blog video has been watched over 100,000 times now on YouTube and Vimeo!
If you want to sign up for the beta, here’s a direct link: CLICK HERE.
Feel free to ask questions here, Iâ€™ll start:
Why are the windows different sizes?
This is decided by the publisher, the smaller windows means that the game requires less bandwidth, which means a bigger audience. Some games like Eve Online canâ€™t go small as they are very text heavy and if we shrink the text it becomes impossible to play.
So itâ€™s 100% the publisherâ€™s decision. We can cover any size and dimension.
Is this the final look of the Browser Windows?
No, the windows are designed and approved by the publishers, so that the game and the frame match perfectly. We made one background per game just to show itâ€™s working.
Are we a Portal Site like OnLive?
No, people do not come to us to play games, they play the games right on the publisherâ€™s site. The publisher uses our technology to make it all possible. So from wherever you click, you end up on the publisher’s site with the latest version of the game running instantly.
Do we support Multiplayer Games?
Yes, we use Mario Kart 64 as that demo. There’s a URL in the bottom left corner that we can tweet out and with one click our friends appear in the game. (Like we are sitting on a virtual couch together.)
Do we support Webcams?
Yes we do, again we use Mario to demonstrate webcams as it’s multiplayer and that’s when the webcams become really valuable.
Would this work on Firefox using Linux? What would the required internet connection speeds be?
Sorry I see, 1 mb, missed that info.
Has any thought been given to people that like to play games with add-ons or modifications? For example, I know that many people play WoW with multiple addons and not just with the base UI. Playing WoW without mods might just turn some players away from this technology.
Does Gaikai do anything do address this, perhaps by having some publisher pre-approved mods installed with the game and already available?
Thanks for your time, and this was a great demo. I look forward to seeing this technology adopted widely by publishers. Good luck to you all in getting this going!
Will Akklaim (or you) provide a version of the service for smaller developers that do not have publishers?
Do you plan on selling a small set-top box device to connect to the TV? (I assume it’s certainly easy to do and within your reach, just wondering if it’s in the biz plan…)
Are you open to or planning to work with cable TV (set-top box) and/or mobile device providers?
Assuming it’s purely based on Flash and Flash Video right now, do you foresee your team developing your own client playback solution for devices that do not support the latest Flash?
Can you use multiple mouse buttons, such as the right mouse button and other extra buttons?
Are gamepads fully supported?
Is stereo 3D rendering supported?
Many people like using multiple monitors for applications like Photoshop, do you see any problems there?
With this technology do systems only need hardware accelerated or optimized Flash video rendering instead of complex expensive 3D GPUs?
What is the minimum version of Flash required?
I’m definitely looking forward to the launch – you guys are brilliant 😉 awesome tech!
a) Is fullscreen supported?
b) When the closed beta in California is finished, is Gaikai available for use in every country?
c) Its Flash based? Would it be possible to play the games on the Android based HTC Hero which has support for Flash?
d) What would it cost to play?
You should create a searchable FAQ
>> Will do when I get a chance.
>> Here are some more questions answered for the BBC in England.
I must admit to a degree of star struck-ness, here. I never thought I’d be sending comments directly to one of my video game heroes.
What’s the lag time between an input and a response? I saw a demo for a similar service where they tried to run Crysis. The lag was small, maybe half a second or less, but in an FPS, that makes it effectively unplayable.
Will you be ONLY targeting publishers? This would eliminate the need to acquire the requisite legal clearance, but don’t you think a central clearing house of games is more viable from a consumer standpoint? If the games are all free, that’s not problem, just a website of links to games, but if each publisher tries charging, it gets messy.
Do you think this would be workable on cell phones? Some games wouldn’t work, obviously, but others would.
Are you working with netbooks? Since they are useless without an internet connection, this seems like a match made in heaven.
Im officially impressed and would love to beta when you are outside CA. I am currently in KS. This is absolutly an outstanding idea. I play Eve and WOW and it sometimes bytes that I have to be home to do it on my desktop. With this just having a basic laptop. Pure genius.
Can’t wait to see more.
David, it’s so great to finally see this in action first hand after hearing all the buzz over the past months. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and try it out, though!
As a web/flash developer, there are some very real Flash limitations for sending user input that I’m extremely interested in feeling out how you have (or are attempting to) overcome them.
Keep up the great work, and I look forward to hearing and seeing more about Gaikai!
>> We are doing some fun stuff with controls and I’ll demo that on a future video.
Hey Dave great stuff. I was wondering a few things though.
1: Mario Kart 64 is a N64 game. So I was wondering are there more plans for games like this from other platforms like Gamecube, Wii, PS2, PS3, Xbox, X360, and maybe future console platforms to be supported? Either way looks like a plus if it does happen. I would love the idea of not having to buy a new console for new console’s games.
>> Unlike Onlive we are not in competition with 1st Party. In fact I think we could help them reach new audiences.
>> Regarding Emulation? I’m a big fan of that… So yes, I’d hope that companies like Atari offer their best games (old and new) right on their website.
2: Game mods. I know probably a hard thing to think about at this stage, but when the games get out there. Few gamers are gonna wanna mod the games. I was wondering if their would be any way to download SDK or publish Game mods for Developer/Publisher approval? Not everyone likes to pay for DLC and want to make their own maps.
>> Our SDK will support game mods, but they are all saved to the cloud, so there’s nothing needed on your hard drive. Our goal will be to make it so you could start a mod on one PC, then go somewhere else and be able to just continue where you left off.
3: Voice chat in games. I don’t thing it was demoed, but either way. I just wanna know would it work with a mic like typically with normal game? Game voice from you to chat with others online while playing. Like what is in some of todays FPS games. Wanna talk to teammates and order em around or chat with em.
>> We don’t have voice chat in the demo yet, but it’s like a weekend of work, so it’s just not been a priority so far. Will we offer voice chat? Absolutely.
4: Servers. Will they be exclusive to GaiKai players or open to play with others. Say you own Call of Duty 4 through GaiKai service and your friend has the boxed version of it and you live in same region. Will you be able to play together online or will you be locked into separate server group with only GaiKai players?
>> Yes, Gaikai players can play directly with other players that own the game. (If the publisher of the game allows that.)
Great stuff. Will be watching.
Incredible demo David! Some random questions – what virtualization software are you using vmare/xen/eucalyptus etc?
>> We are not using any out-of-the-box virtualization, it’s all custom built by our team for this purpose.
Also will you be supporting indie developers like XNA?
>> Absolutely. When they need audience, we will find a way to help. 🙂
Looking forward to seeing more!
This is really exciting tech and could potentially have huge implications that go beyond gaming, I can see how using apps in this way could have massive benefits.
A question I would like to ask is whether this would be accessible with the PS3 browser? I realize the PS3 browser is very limited in terms of memory though.. Also when is this service planned to go live? Any time-frame yet?
>> YES, it’s PERFECT for low memory or non-3D environments as we are just streaming video. So yes, if Sony wanted, we could make this happen. I’ve not had the time to get into that discussion with them yet.
>> Timing will be set based on how long closed beta lasts. We are moving pretty fast right now.
Anyway, good luck with this! Very impressive stuff so far!
Thankyou for taking the time in replying! I did realize that you are just streaming video, but some video streams on the PS3 can sometimes be choppy, and I know it doesn’t support the latest version of Flash as of yet.
Still though, possibly playing anything from Crysis to World of Warcraft to Photoshop on PS3? Potential megaton there! I hope Sony would support this, I realize they might not make money directly from those games but it would be a huge selling point.
There’s something missing here. SOMETHING has to render the graphics (else why do games need a graphics card?). Either its the local computer or the server.
>> It’s the server. You still need some kind of video card, you just don’t need a 3D video card. So a netbook can display this video stream and therefore can display Spore, wich most notebooks would struggle with.
This demo shows one user accessing one server running one game at a time. That I understand.
But how is this scalable in a real-world situation in which Sacrifice 10 is launched and 4000 people simultaneously want to try it out? There’s got to be a breaking point in which there is not enough hardware to support the amount of users requesting sessions.
Is the trade-off that there would be a queue the user would have to enter before their session becomes active?
Will the platform be attached to a specific vendor’s hardware? Or completely hardware neutral?
Will a similar or lite version be sold to users? So that they can setup their own launch pads at home?
Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!
As an indie developer what do I have to do to get on Gaikai?
Is there any interest in and/or current support for motion-based game controls?
First, I’d like to congratulate you on the progress you’ve made. The service looks great.
I do have one question, though. With Microsoft announcing Project Natal and Sony announcing a motion sensing controller, how does GaiKai (if at all) plan to implement motion sensing to its service?
Mr. Perry I have to say in all the years that I have been working with computers and working online that what you have here is Awesome! you are doing what should have been done years ago!
Now that I am retired from a disability I spend most of my time on the web gaming or working.
I spend quit a bit of time building computers out of any parts I can find for family’s who can not afford to buy most of the computers that are out , or cannot afford to buy one that will play games. This is going to give family’s that do not have a whole lot of money a chance to have what others have that can afford all the cost.
As it is now I am looking forward to being a part of this as what you have is going to change the way things are done in a very large way. And that is for the good.
Hi Mr Perry.
/asskiss on (lol)
Loved games like MDK and loved your vision. Glad someone of the old school is still expanding the frontiers of gaming tech!
/asskiss off (olo)
Q: about the tech.
Your running a VM system but it seems to be showing single game/app tech. Are you able to run multiple, independant systems in one window?
e.g. WoW and Ventrillo in one session(for Voice Overlay). Then allow WOW mods to interact with your VM so that any data saved in the VM (such as WoW database variables) can be uploaded to other services? (such as Raid performance data that gets autoloaded to a webpage)
Or a more “real world” example…
Using Photoshop to modify textures that can then be immediately used inside a 3DSMax Session (that may or may not be running in independant VM sessions)
>> Absolutely we can do this, our data storage system is going to be very carefully built to allow many interesting features that we will reveal in future videos.
My company writes software for a very small niche market, and we’re already looking into cloud computing for collecting multiple simulation runs, but I never would have thought of puting the model editor online too. Impressive!
A lot of our support calls are about setup problems, especially when our clients have draconian IT teams. I can see this technology helping us out by removing that hurdle for a lot of our users.
So, are you specifically focusing on gaming just now until the service has matured, or would you just as happily cater for applications in the short to medium term?
will it be possible to play games fullscreen, or will they always be restricted to an area of a browser window?
if fullscreen is possible, will this be achieved by simply scaling the video stream in the client, or dynamically changing the real resolution of the game on the server?
looks like a real game changer by the way, great stuff.
* Will you support fullscreen in the future?
* Will people in Sweden be accepted in the beta? There is not many countries that have better internet connections than us.
One issue I see is that there will be a lot of players that are just “playsing” (I just did a derivative of playing and browsing) There will be little patience with the games and as a consequence there will be many players (especially in multiplayer games) who just drop in and out. Easy access is not always a good thing. There is a need to build up the players “desire” to play the game, or it will be the gaming equivalent of “window-shopping”.
I’m very excited about Gaikai, by removing the system requirements it makes games I couldn’t normally play, playable. And I’ll buy more software. (Play more games)
I want to play and build maps in FarCry2 so bad it kills me, but I just can’t run the game and can’t afford to cover the cost of the upgrades to my PC’s. I want to play Crysis and Section 8, but just ain’t got the power to do it.
Gaikai is (seems) like a 200 mile per gallon carburetor. I really hope it doesn’t get bought up by the oil companies to keep it away from the public so they can continue to make more money from gasoline.
This is the way gaming should be, low hardware requirements, ease of use, low overhead that get’s passed down to the consumer, and profit for everyone. Even the gamer profits by not having to invest in the hardware. It just works out all around.
You have my full attention and support.
Now, who do I talk to about the development of fishing and outdoor related games?
Quote “So from wherever you click, you end up on the publisher’s site with the latest version of the game running instantly.”
-Does this mean as an affiliate when an opportunity for Visitors to play Game demos will be redirected to publishers/developers sites when clicked? confused
It Says in your company site (gaikai) “Once they get a demo, they’ll be sitting on your site for 15, 30, even 60 minutes or more. That can drive your time-spent-on-site through the roof, therefore increasing the value of your other ad units at the same time.” huh?
We are counting on ths opportunity tell us more about the features of the code, is it like adsense code that can scrawl all the Gaming titles/keyword in our sites and when it’s available a game ad will pop up?
Thank You Dperry for this Great Idea