Gaikai, the yin to OnLive’s yang, has entered public beta with video game demos that are instantly playable in a web browser.
Like OnLive, Gaikai uses its own servers to perform the heavy graphical lifting that modern PC games require. Users play the game through highly compressed audio and video streams, which are capable of running on low-end PCs. But instead of selling games to consumers through a software client, Gaikai wants game publishers to serve instant demos on their websites or Facebook pages. All the player needs is Flash and the latest version of Java.
Demos are available for Mass Effect 2, Spore and The Sims 3. You can also play a demo of Dead Space 2 by taking a short survey. They’re all published by Electronic Arts, which entered a “multi-year” licensing agreement with Gaikai in June 2010.