A major investor in Gaikai, the cloud gaming service bought by Sony for $380m last week, has said the console maker could do something revolutionary with its acquisition that would transcend its hardware business.
“I think [Gaikai] will really show its true promise in the hands of Sony,” Mitch Lasky, general partner at the Benchmark Capital VC firm (pictured left), told the GamesBeat 2012 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “My hope is that we are going to see ‘PlayStation as a Service’,” he said.
Benchmark invested in Gaikai in 2009. Its service is being embedded in smart TVs and has the ability to stream console-quality games from remote servers, negating the need for a disc-based console. Its main competitor is OnLive, which remains independent.
Sony has yet to reveal its plans for Gaikai, but Mr Lasky suggested it could allow Sony to go beyond the limitations of selling console hardware.
“That would be truly revolutionary, that would really push the boundaries and put a lot of pressure on their competitors,” he said.
“It means PlayStation stops being a physical piece of plastic and it starts to be a platform, where there’s a community and a catalogue of games that transcends that physical hardware and lives essentially in the cloud,” he said.
“I think Microsoft has headed in that direction [with Xbox Live] – its aspirations for Live are very similar in going beyond a dedicated Xbox community and becoming more ubiquitous.”
Both Microsoft and Sony have extended the life of their current consoles, leading to debate about whether a next generation would be necessary as more devices become capable of delivering console-quality gaming. But they are both rumoured to be still planning new console launches next year.