12 Comments

Summary:

The iPad is already a strong entry in the mobile games realm, with its large, high-resolution display, touchscreen interface and support for external devices like keyboards. Plus it has the iPhone/iPad development community cranking out innovative games all the time, too.

gaikai_thumb

The iPad is already a strong entry in the mobile games realm, with its large, high-resolution display, touchscreen interface and support for external devices like keyboards. Plus it has the iPhone/iPad development community cranking out innovative games all the time, too.

In addition to all that existing gaming goodness, it looks like you might very soon be able to play a whole host of your favorite PC games on the platform, too. Not natively, of course (though ports of classics seems to be the thing to do these days), but via game streaming service Gaikai, which, much like OnLive before it, aims to remove the steep hardware barriers associated with many advanced video games.

Gaikai was shown running on an iPad (on Touch Arcade), and playing World of Warcraft on the device. Whether it’s a good thing to put WoW in the hands of addicts wherever they happen to go is another question entirely, but the promise of PC games running untethered on a device in your lap is intriguing indeed. I’m not a WoW player myself, but Starcraft II is landing late this July, and I somehow doubt it’ll be accompanied by a native iPhone port at the same time.

But will the gatekeepers at Apple allow Gaikai to invade its playground? The move could potentially have serious consequences on the App Store’s economics, since conceivably, Gaikai could stream any game to the iPad and other Apple devices, not just ones sanctioned by the Mac maker. Gaikai’s Dave Perry says Apple basically can’t block the service.

The reason being, Gaikai is HTML5-based technology. That means that its browser-based player will work fine on mobile Safari out of the box, unless Apple goes out of its way to shut down access to Gaikai specifically, which would fly in the face of certain recent correspondence by Steve Jobs himself regarding the closed nature of Flash versus the open nature of HTML5.

Gaikai shows the way to sidestepping iCensorship altogether, at least in terms of streamable web content. At this stage in the game, Apple has basically painted itself into a corner wherein it has to condone anything done using the HTML5 standard, versus rich media that uses browser-based plugins like Flash and Silverlight. It won’t work for all apps (like the one that allows you to sync wirelessly, for instance), but it should allow content providers to publish whatever kind of iPad and iPhone-targeted material they want without blocking fears.

We’ll see the Gaikai North American beta launch in the comings weeks, and then we’ll find out just how much openness Apple can tolerate. Hopefully it’s just enough to see me playing Civilization 5 on my iPad this fall.

  1. This is the way Apple wanted to solve the Apps topic in the first place (See WWDC2007).

    Everything that advertises the qualities of HTML5 is good news for Apple at this point in time. Every good headline is a slap in the faces of reviewers that claim there is no full web experience without flash..

    Happy to see this pushing forwards!

    1. but the problem is Apple loses exclusivity, the game can be played on any HTML5 browser, not just on Ipad. Part of the reason in developer licensing change was to block flash totally, the other was to encourage developers not to develop for other platforms and maintain exclusivity, with HTML5 apple loses that exclusivity. Adobe is the main loser, but Apple also has a lot to lose.

    2. “This is the way Apple wanted to solve the Apps topic in the first place”,

      by running PC games. lol. It seems like apple users spend all their energy and hopes to aspire to running pc programs, and even windows at times. They are so funny. I don’t mean that in a rude way, but it funny when you think about it.

  2. Yeah, Apple WANTED to be painted into this exact corner. Gaikai will be charging for this service (one way or another), so it may be competition for the app store, but it’s hardly a replacement. Apple certainly benefits from folks saying, “gee, HTML5 is great, why don’t more browsers support it fully?” Apple also benefits from apps that may be a bit dicey (in terms of content), and so can’t be officially condoned by Apple, but are still available.

    Adobe, on the other hand, can’t be happy about this.

  3. Sounds awesome. but there is a broken link: ttp://www.gaikai.com

  4. An actual explanation of the technology and how it works (even in the most superficial simplistic sense), would be welcome here. There is no information in this article that isn’t in the title of the article really. The author spends some ink on snarky remarks and assumptions that Apple might not like this (based on basically nothing at all), but doesn’t bother to impart any real detail on the tech.

    1. Gazooobeeee!!!! Haven’t seen you complaining around here in a while. Glad to have you back. :)

  5. A game-streaming option to the iPad just screams win-win to me. It’s a win for Gaikai, as the iPad as a gaming device is sure to open up a market for them. It’s a win for Apple too – more people are sure to buy iPads if some top-notch PC games are available on it.

    I want Civ5 on an iPad yesterday! (Or Civ 4!) That would be a killer game for the iPad form factor, assuming a well-thought touch interface. That’s really where the streaming games may fail on devices like the iPad – the input interface.

  6. Sure, playing games with network latency will be a novelty at best, but why not just use HTML5? I’ve posted a video showing how awesome HTML5 is on the iPad –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfmbZkqORX4

  7. I think Adobe can somehow benefit HTML 5 to stream flash content the same way Gaikai streams games, the HTML codes will be HTML5 but the developers will use flash to develop it (usually server side), and Adobe then can mange how to show their contents on HTML5

  8. If you like puzzle games for ipad try this html site

    goo.gl/zI6A

  9. games like mechcommander 2 should definitely be on the ipad seeing how it’s free anyways, the only issue is games like civ, MC2, and C&C is the interface, (or more importantly, panning and navigating gameplay) but if the iPad can accurately emulate a mouse with your fingers and incorporate multitouch too then most likely that issue will be minimal.

Comments have been disabled for this post