Graphic demonstrating how OnLive works

Do the names “OnLive” and “Gaikai” mean anything to you? If they don’t, then you’re not alone, according to a study released today by technology market research firm Interpret.

The study (see chart, below) polled 2,000 people in each of five Western countries. It found that only 3 percent to 5 percent of gamers in countries like the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia are familiar with cloud gaming, which replaces current disc-based distribution with a system in which media streams directly to a user over a network.

Once someone explained the possible value to them, however, 52 percent of U.S. digital gamers said they were “very or somewhat interested” in trying out a cloud service, with Australians only slightly less favorable at 49 percent. The concept also appealed to 36 percent of French consumers and 29 percent of Germans.

Chart of attitudes towards cloud gaming in five Western Countries

These findings follow closely upon news of PlayStation 3 maker Sony’s purchase of Gaikai earlier this week, which Interpret considers a well-timed move.

“This acquisition is well aligned with Sony’s transition from a hardware-centric to network-centric company,” said Michael Cai, Interpret’s vice president of research. “Furthermore, Sony stands to capitalize on its established relationship with young male gamers — in Western countries, males 13-34 comprise one-third to one-half of those very interested in trying a cloud gaming service.”

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