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Gaikai is up for sale. Who’s buying the cloud gaming service?

Sony did not, as some expected, announce that it was buying streaming video game service Gaikai. Following E3 2012, Gaikai head David Perry said in no uncertain terms that it was not making a deal with Sony but the console makers of the world would have to get into the streaming business sometime. “No,” said Perry, “I honestly can’t think of a future for the console companies that don’t include cloud gaming at some point. They can hold our as long as they want to, but at some point, you don’t want to be the console that can’t do this. I’ve been meeting with them constantly, evangelizing how far we’ve come. Let’s just say they’re listening and always have been.”

Gaikai says Sony’s out, but apparently the evangelization process means that the company is in fact looking for another buyer.

CNN reported on Thursday that sources have indicated that Gaikai has hired bankers to help sell the company. The asking price is $500 million.

As to who might be interested in picking up the cloud gaming company, that’s wholly up in the air. Nintendo is still trying to figure out how to get a proper online gaming network off the ground and its standard digital distribution services like the eShop are still growing. Perry’s flat denial of Sony means that company is out. Could Microsoft be a potential buyer? It has been a forward thinking company in terms of services in the past. Xbox Live was a trailblazer in the home console online gaming business when it opened for business last decade. It’s also bought up a number of services in the past few years, including VoIP company Skype. If any console company buys Gaikai, Microsoft is the one to watch.

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