Weekend Reading: Hold Back the Cloud

A solid implementation is more important than a quick rollout

Sony has purchased Gaikai, which delivers streaming services linked to video games, and analysts are making all sorts of predictions about how the Japanese publisher and hardware maker might use the technology to create new cloud-based gaming solutions and even remove all physical disks from the next PlayStation home console.

I’d like to see Sony and other companies interested in the same tech to take their time and hold the cloud back for the moment rather than quickly and thoroughly embrace the technological shift and push it forward as far as they can.

Cloud gaming, whether it means simply keeping saves and content of a local device or creating full gaming experiences that are streamed, is a wonderful promise, but there are other, simpler steps that Sony (and at the same time Microsoft and Nintendo) can take to improve the experience of gamers and increase their business volume.

For starters, Sony can eliminate the launch discrepancies between the various territories, putting games out at the same time in Europe and America and unifying the pricing system.

When it comes to connectivity and social elements, the companies could also expand the scope of the PlayStation Network, offer more content inside the paid Plus tier and offer extensive trial periods for the various included services.

It would also make sense to offer full downloadable versions for all the titles launched on the PlayStation 3, with a delay that could keep brick and mortar retailers happy and with a deep price cut for the digital version, which could show gamers the benefits of eliminating physical disks.

Moves like these would allow players to get acquainted with what the digital and cloud future means and see how they might benefit from a shift.

And as long as everything is running smoothly, Sony will then have the possibility of pushing for full cloud integration in two or three years, when everyone is good and ready to embrace it.

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