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Sony Trademarks the Term ‘PS Cloud’

It’s also reportedly registered the domain name "playstationcloud.com"

Sony apparently has cloud intentions.

Sony Computer Entertainment has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the term "PS Cloud."

It's also reportedly registered the domain name "playstationcloud.com."

The broad trademark application, filed March 24 and annoyingly written in all caps, doesn't say exactly what Sony's got in mind for the brand but covers a wide range of cloud possibilities from "providing online video games that users may access through the Internet" to streaming music over the net, producing Internet radio programs, displaying online media such as electronic magazines, books and educational materials - and Sony does have that Kindle-like Sony Reader e-book - as well as video on-demand and e-mail. And it mentions phones a lot.

It also covers "computer services, namely application service provider services to third parties featuring remote hosting of operating systems and computer applications," "providing virtual and cloud computing environments accessible via the Internet and organizational networks for the purpose of remote management in the nature of creating and operating online computer applications" and "hourly rental and leasing of computers via online network."

Now as it happens, Steve Perlman, who once led QuickTime's development at Apple and later sold his WebTV Networks creation to Microsoft for $425 million back in 1997, turned up last week at the Games Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco with a start-up called OnLive that's promising live cloud-based gaming for the price of a subscription when it launches this winter.

Borrowing from the WebTV thin client+TV display concept, the games can be played on any TV and most any Windows PC or Mac - even netbooks - without downloading them since they'll be running on cloud servers, accessed complements of a little black box that connects the TV and broadband to the OnLive service.

OnLive, which owes much to its hard-to-come-by video compression technology, says it has deals in place with nine of the top gaming houses including Electronic Arts. It claims it can stream 750p HD visuals at 60fps over a 5MB Internet connection with a mere 1ms lag.

If Perlman pulls it off and can overcome latency in the real-world rather than just a GDC demo - and skepticism runs high - he could put the console makers, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, out of business. There's already a fair bit of chatter about Microsoft or Google or somebody buying it.

Now in closed beta, OnLive spun out of the Rearden incubator that Perlman set up reportedly after seven years of development and according to Reuters its investors include Warner Bros, Autodesk and Maverick Capital. Their money, it's assumed, will be paying for five massive data centers in the U.S. Given cables modems and DSL, users will have to be within a thousand miles of one, Perlman has said.

OnLive's widgetry could theoretically be used for other things besides games.

By the way, OnLive's EVP of engineering is Tom Paquin, a key Netscape developer and founder of Mozilla.org.

The Sony trademark application is here.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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