It looks like FarmVille and FrontierVille have some competition on their hands after Gaikai announced a beta app for its Facebook gaming service. The cloud gaming service recently launched its app in an effort to bring console quality games to Facebook. The app will deliver a high-end gaming experience to users directly within the social network.
Up to this point, the convenience of accessing the games on Facebook has been a large part of their success. As a result, David Perry, Gaikai’s CEO, told WebProNews that he thinks the Facebook audience will be open to Gaikai’s games as well.
“People don’t like to leave Facebook,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons that Facebook games work so well is cause they’re in that ecosystem and they like to stay there.”
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The difference, however, in Gaikai and other players such as Zynga, is the game itself. Zynga, of course, brings Flash-based games like Farmville to the table, but Gaikai brings cloud gaming, which means the complicated rendering of 3D and other involved games is handled on a network of back-end servers.
Perry told us that the cloud gaming elements eliminate the long download times that have been historically associated with video games. He believes this could “fundamentally change” the way people perceive casual gaming in the future.
“It’s gonna be really, really hard to go back to the 2D soccer game when you just played the real thing,” he said.
The first games available in Gaikai’s Facebook app are:
Saints Row: The Third
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Sniper: Ghost Warrior
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Orcs Must Die!
Farming Simulator 2011
Gaikai operates on a demo first, pay later model that, according to Perry, works very well. The company allows users to play a game for 30 minutes and then asks for payment to download. Gaikai decided on this model after it conducted a survey, which showed that game demos were the #1 motivator behind users purchasing a game.
Going forward, Perry wants to see video games as accessible as movies and music are. He believes Gaikai is heading in this direction as it is bringing cloud gaming to Web browsers, Facebook, and as many other sites as it can.
“If we want to compete with movies and music, everywhere you see a Netflix icon, there has to be the best video games in the world right beside it,” said Perry.
The company also partnered with LG earlier this year in order to incorporate its gaming platform directly into digital televisions. Perry told us that these developments were especially important since physical media-based consoles would become less significant with the growth of cloud gaming.
“There’s no question in is physical media going away,” he said. “The reason is because of convenience and price.”
“If you put the gamer first and think what’s best for them, usually that will lead you down the right path,” Perry added.