Ever since Dave Perry started his big push in the media for Gaikai, seasoned analysts could see a distinctive pattern – this will be the year of sale or the last funding series ahead of the IPO. In the end, it was the first one, with Sony winning the bidding war alongside quite a few interested parties.
There is no doubt in our mind that David “Dave” Perry is an industry legend with several multi-million titles that came from the era before gaming became “larger than Hollywood”. Four years ago, he started an adventure called Gaikai i.e. a cloud gaming service which would harness the power of GPUs to run multiple virtual instances of the same game and give the high-end gaming experience to everybody.
For example, Gaikai technology was able to virtualize six instances of World of Warcraft onto the single Kepler-based GPU, presumably GeForce GTX 680. Naturally, the problem with pixel streaming services was that in order to serve, let’s say a million WoW gamers you would need to have – in the very best case scenario – 166,666 GPUs. For some other games, they were able to run from eight to twelve instances. Now, while we know of two cases where future Tesla GPUs will be deployed in a similar volume, you can be sure that those supercomputers won’t be used for gaming.
Thus, when we heard the announcement between Gaikai and Samsung, it was clear to us that there is a bidding war going on for the company, and the biggest question was – who will provide the biggest ROI to the investors that backed the project since 2008, as well as who will expand the service.
The answer to that is no other than Sony Computer Entertainment. While Sony has laid low following one of the biggest security disasters of our time (70 million accounts stolen), the company wants to come back swinging into profitability, and it is obvious that SCE believes Gaikai is the “Secret Sauce” the company needs to win over tens of millions of gamers.
Also, big winners are investment groups and companies such as Benchmark Capital, Intel Capital, Limelight Networks, NEA, Qualcomm, Rustic Canyon Partners and TriplePoint Capital. Even though it is not mentioned, we were informed that some players at NVIDIA are also quite happy with the acquisition as there were some green people funds involved in not just one, but several funds which invested in Gaikai.
What we find especially funny though, is that the executives at Sony Computer Entertainment specifically denied any takeover attempt. However, we all know when the big companies are lying e.g. deceiving the general audience and its own investors in order to outbid the competitor, which in this case was – Samsung. The Korean CE giant was very close to Gaikai and announced quite a substantial “get together” at the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in early July in Los Angeles, CA.