Videogames Reach for the Cloud

For decades, consumers have played videogames in arcades, on personal computers or specialized consoles hooked to televisions. Sony Corp. is placing a bet on a different approach — technology that streams games to Internet-connected devices.

Last week, the Japanese electronics maker announced a $380 million deal to acquire Gaikai Inc., a company that runs games on servers in its data centers. The technology lets gamers play fast-action, visually sophisticated titles through a Web browser — without the need to install specialized game software or buy hardware with special graphics circuitry. Players can use laptops, tablets, smartphones or even some TVs.

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