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Intel, Limelight Networks invest in Gaikai cloud-gaming service

Cloud-based gaming service Gaikai announces investments from Intel Capital and Limelight Networks.

It seems AT&T and AMD aren't the only big tech companies to see promise in cloud-based video gaming. Forthcoming cloud-gaming service Gaikai announced investments Tuesday morning from Intel's investment arm, Intel Capital, and content service provider Limelight Networks. Terms of the respective investments remain undisclosed, but according to Gaikai's press release, "Gaikai will launch in the summer of 2010, with servers powered by Intel's six-core processors and Intel solid-state drives, running through the key nodes of the Limelight network."

We have not yet had hands-on experience with Gaikai, but based on its Web site, it appears similar to OnLive, a cloud-gaming service that launched in June. OnLive counts AT&T, AMD, Dell, and Nvidia among its technology partners (along with CBS Interactive's own metacritic).

Where OnLive currently runs through a small downloadable application, a video walkthrough of the Gaikai service depicts users launching into remotely rendered video games by clicking a Web link. Gaikai appears to be a more promotionally driven service than OnLive, at least according to the way it describes itself in its FAQ:

Q: Is this gaming on demand?

A: Nope. Gaikai is not a subscription-based, gaming-on-demand service. We use our technology to generate sales leads for video game manufacturers, retailers, and affiliate websites. Users browsing sites in our network will be presented with the opportunity to try the latest video games and software applications before they buy them.

In contrast, OnLive is a subscription-based service that also sells licenses to let its users play full games for periods of time ranging from three days to three years or more.

Like OnLive, Gaikai has partnered with Electronic Arts, among other game publishers, and Gaikai lists the Sims, Mass Effect, and Medal of Honor as franchises it plans to support.

See also: Understanding next-gen streaming game services. Interview: OnLive CEO Steve Perlman gives us his post-launch perspective.