Gaikai gets deal to stream game demos via Walmart.com

In the business of streaming PC games, OnLive might be the biggest company but its biggest rival Gaikai is aiming to take a chuck of this growing market. Today Venture Beat reports that Gaikai has secured a deal to offer free streaming PC game demos on a huge retail web site, Walmart.com. Visitors to Walmart.com's Game Center web page will be able to stream and play PC game demos such as Dead Space 2 with just a few minutes of downloading the data.

According to the story, Gaikai gets paid by Walmart based on the amount of minutes a person spends on the web site streaming and playing the free game demos. Gaikai CEO Dave Perry states, "Over the next 12 months, when people see a video game on TV and want to try it out, they can be sure the fastest way will be on Walmart’s website, It’s an exciting time and you’ll see more sites around the world doing these stealth launches with us." Gaikai currently has a deal to stream game demos from publisher Electronic Arts and Perry claims it is working on deals to offer game demos from 20 other game publishers.

Gaikai's main rival is OnLive which now has over 100 games to purchase and stream via OnLive's web site. Last month OnLive announced that the first Android-based smartphones and televisions that will support streaming of its library of games will be released later this year. Also the UK will launch its beta test of OnLive later in 2011.

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I played a Mass Effect 2 demo on their site a while back. It's a really cool concept. Using a Linux computer with modest hardware specs, I was able to play a current gen game with little to no issues. Even if I ran Windows, Mass Effect 2 would make my computer stick a white flag out the CD tray. As long as you have a video card capable of 3-D graphics, a web browser and Java, their servers do all the hard graphics rendering work for you. All you have to do is play. I'm just too much in love with having a physical medium to really switch to something like this or Steam. If the internet goes down or PSN goes down, I like having a disc to put into my console or computer and play my game regardless. I can see how for somebody like WalMart or Gamestop though it would increase sales by allowing gamers to play demos of games without having to purchase expensive hardware or worrying about customers stealing the discs out of display consoles.