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Rumor: Sony Announcing Cloud Gaming Deal at E3 2012

Ok, so we typically don't cover console news post hardware release, but this supposed announcement is a little interesting. Sony, the brains behind the PlayStation 3 and the recent PS Vita, will supposedly announce a cloud gaming deal during the Sony press conference on June 4. The deal will allow either Gaikai or OnLive games to be streamed on PlayStation hardware.

The rumor stems from an E3 preview piece which makes reference to a "partnership deal between PlayStation and a leading cloud gaming service," but declines to go into any further detail. However Ross McGrath, SCEE PlayStation Plus Content Manager, hinted earlier this week that the service may require PlayStation Plus.

"If you don't have a PS+ subscription, now is the time to get one. For real. Just get 3 months if you aren't sure. Trust me," McGrath tweeted.

Out of the two, Onlive seems to be the likely candidate. OnLive VP of Engineering Joe Bentley said last year that the company was in talks with Microsoft and Sony about bringing its cloud gaming service -- along with support for its OnLive Wireless Controller -- to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"Absolutely, they would make great consoles," Bentley said. "Our controller is a hybrid between a PS3 controller and an Xbox controller. It's all compatible, it would just work. There are OnLive guys chatting [Sony and MS], but we'll see where it goes. But it would absolutely work, we're ready to work with everybody."

OnLive offers both a subscription-based all-you-can-eat cloud gaming buffet, and the ability to rent or purchase games that can be streamed to desktops, tablets and compatible smartphones. Adding the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita to the compatible device list makes sense, although making gamers pay extra for OnLive by requiring a PlayStation Plus account sounds more like something Microsoft would do.

Both OnLive and Gaikai are heading to Smart HDTVs this year, the latter of which doesn't offer a subscription service, but merely streams games that consumers purchase from publishers or digital distributors. This could also be the case for Sony's agreement, but for the moment, Gaikai is merely streaming demos to numerous sites including Facebook, making OnLive seem like a more ideal candidate.

Hmmm... wonder if an OnLive deal means that OnLive Desktop could be streamed to the PlayStation 3 console too? Now THAT would be an announcement!