Sony buys cloud gaming firm Gaikai for $380m
Sony is to acquire cloud gaming company Gaikai Inc for about $380m (€300m), it has been confirmed.
The maker of PlayStation game consoles is preparing to expand cloud-based entertainment services. Gaikai, based in Aliso Viejo, California, has expertise in transmitting data between cloud servers and users without delay so users can play games with fewer delays, said Satoshi Nakajima, a spokesman for Sony’s game unit.
Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai pledged in April to revive earnings at Sony by focusing on game players, digital imaging products such as cameras, and mobile devices including smartphones. The proposed acquisition shows that the company seeks to boost sales from going online, said Takashi Oka, a Tokyo-based analyst at TIW Inc.
“It’s a positive move that shows Sony is focusing on online gaming services,” said Oka. “Online services have the potential to grow into a stable source of revenue within two to three years, if Sony can line up good titles.”
Sony aims to revive earnings by boosting sales at its game unit after introducing PlayStation Vita handheld machines last year. The maker of Cyber-shot cameras and Bravia televisions posted a 457 billion yen loss for the year ended March 31, as its TV unit continued losing money amid the strong yen, falling prices and competition from South Korea’s Samsung.
Hirai, who made Sony’s game business profitable as head of the unit, is cutting 10,000 jobs as part of a turnaround plan.
Sony forecasts revenue will rise 14pc this fiscal year, helped by smartphones and portable game players.
Smartphone sales may rise to 33.3 million units from 22.5 million and handheld game players including PlayStation Vita may more than double to 16 million units from 6.8 million, the company said May 10.
Sony “will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices,” Andrew House, who heads Sony’s game unit, said in the statement.
The timing for Sony to start the cloud-streaming service of games hasn’t been determined, Nakajima said.
Samusung will also offer cloud-based gaming services that were developed jointly with Gaikai to users of some of its TV models in the US.
Sony’s Nakajima declined to comment whether Gaikai will continue offering services to its existing clients.
Sony has been increasing online services including PlayStation Suite, which allows users to download games on devices that run on Google’s Android, reaching out beyond its PlayStation machines to challenge competitors such as Nintendo.
Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics sold 196.7 million game titles in the year ended March 31, down from 210.9 million sold in the previous year, Sony said in May. The company projected game software sales to remain little changed for this fiscal year.