Gaikai and Wikipad try to bridge the mobile-console gap with gaming tablet

gaikai and wikipad try to bridge the mobile console gap with gaming tablet gaikaiwikipad

Cloud gaming service Gaikai and Wikipad are two of a growing number of companies trying to bridge the gap between mobile and console/PC gaming. Their solution is what they’re calling “the world’s first gaming tablet.”

There is still a line drawn between video games played on simple boxes with controllers or PCs and those played on smartphones or tablets. What makes a tablet game more or less a proper game than something on an Xbox 360? Is it the absence of buttons? The price of entry? Do you really feel like you’re playing a game more when pressing buttons and paying more than $10 than you do lightly tapping or swiping a smooth touch screen? The distinction between the two is fading quickly but it’s impossible to deny that one is still proper gaming and the other is mobile gaming.

Depth of control may be at the heart of it. Given their roots as skill-based challenges in arcades, video games have a vestigial obsession with precision. The lack of directional pads, analog sticks and buttons leaves the imprecision of taps and swipes for mobile devices. More and more companies are trying to find ways to bridge the gap between the two.

The Wikipad was first announced at CES in January. It’s got a lot in common with the average Android tablet: Optional 3G functionality, a 10.1-inch screen, etc. The tablet can be housed though in what is essentially a stretched out Xbox 360 controller, with two analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, and triggers on the rear.

As a proof of concept, the Wikipad was promising but it needed the support of actual video games. The partnership with Gaikai is a good start. Gaikai, like OnLive and GameStop’s impending service, streams games over the Web so rather than paying for individual games, you have a subscription granting access to a library of games. The company’s library isn’t as robust as OnLive’s. Its bread and butter are EA, Ubisoft, and Capcom games, but even then, not all titles from those publishers are supported. Critics have lambasted Gaikai for the same problems that hurt all cloud gaming services at this point, namely low visual fidelity and noticeable lag between inputs, which is to say pulling a trigger doesn’t immediately make Commander Shepard shoot.

Provided the Wikipad is affordable and Gaikai bulks up its library and irons out the kinks in its streaming games, the two could be a formidable force. Many have tried to do what these companies are though, and failed in the process. Sony is still trying to find an audience for the Xperia Play, a smartphone with traditional controls.

There’s no official release date for the Wikipad so all of the companies’ plans could change dramatically or never come to fruition. We’ll see.

Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.

Having issues with your PS4? Check out our solutions to its most common problems

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.

Transform into a tetromino master with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks

Tetris 99 is the latest battle royale game to stir up quite a bit of commotion. The Nintendo Switch Online exclusive adds a few new unexplained quirks to the Tetris formula. We've got you covered with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks.

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 

Battle royale-style Tetris 99 is the first Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive game

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.

The best PUBG weapons to win you that coveted chicken dinner

Which weapons in PUBG are worth the time to scout out and fit with attachments? Which are going to help you become the last player standing? We've got the answers you need in our best PUBG weapons guide.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.

Walmart slices prices on PS4 DualShock 4 controllers just in time for Anthem

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

Here's everything you need to know to trade with friends in Pokémon Go

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.