The second big name in cloud gaming has officially launched.

The two major players in the cloud gaming space right now are OnLive and Gaikai. OnLive has been going strong for a while now, but Gaikai just opened its digital doors this week. Though they’re both based on similar technologies, Gaikai is a very different service.

OnLive users connect to the OnLive hub to buy, rent, and play games. This can be done through a computer or on a TV with the use of OnLive’s MicroConsole. Gaikai, on the other hand, is all about putting games anywhere on the internet.

For example, Gaikai hopes to put games like Mass Effect 2, or at least their demos, on Facebook. The company’s “advertising strategy” could see portions of “AAA” titles (and titles with less “A”s) instantly launched from any website at the click of a mouse.

Gaikai’s Dave Perry says the service is now running in 12 countries. It’ll probably focus on big name titles at first, with Perry saying “it doesn’t make financial sense to be streaming a very niche game.”

There is currently a decent selection of games to stream through Gaikai’s technology to try it out. Mass Effect 2 can be launched through the Gaikai website if it deems your internet connection fast enough. Dead Space 2 can be played here after completing a Gaikai survey. Sims 3 is available here and Spore is here.

I played Dead Space 2 on an old laptop using wi-fi, and Gaikai streamed it beautifully. If Gaikai accomplishes its marketing goals, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be fairly common someday to see a game review or description accompanied by an instant demo.

Source: Dave Perry

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