Sony has just announced at CES 2014 that their brand new game streaming service titled PlayStation Now will be making its way to homes this summer. You might remember Sony acquiring Gaikai, the company founded to provide high end video gaming streaming. Well much to my surprise Sony has finally put things in to motion to bring PS3 games to Sony Televisions, and the PlayStation Vita.
PlayStation Now will be bringing the first ever streaming game service on consoles the same way that TV, movies, and music are streamed. The plan was the originally bring PlayStation 3 games to PlayStation 4 which would solve the issue of not having backwards compatibility on either of the next generation consoles. Sony however revealed that it wouldn’t be stopping there and that eventually they would bring PlayStation 3 games to Sony Bravia televisions, the PlayStation Vita, tablets, and even smartphones. The new game streaming technology was shown to be working perfectly at CES. Sony had showed off our Game of The Year winner, The Last of Us, playing perfectly on the PlayStation Vita. A closed beta is planned to start at the end of January with a full roll out by the end of this summer.
So here are the features that PlayStation Now users will be able to enjoy:
Play video games instantly across multiple devices, similar to the way you might stream TV, movies, and music.
Stream full games to all of your compatible PlayStation devices including PS4, PS3, and PlayStation Vita as well as non-PlayStation devices, beginning with 2014 BRAVIA TV models and expanding to numerous other Internet-connected devices.
Always play the most updated version of your game. With games hosted in the cloud, you can take your game with you – just log in with your Sony Entertainment Network account on a compatible device and your games and saved progress will be easily available.
So you might be asking yourself, how does this technology even work? Well, basically PlayStation Now will work on practically any device from consoles to televisions to smartphones because the games aren’t played locally, much like the OnLive service, games are run on powerful servers in remote data centers and this compresses the video feed and streams it directly to your local device. Input is sent to and from your phone/console’s controller to the cloud which interacts with these powerful servers. So all you need at home is a compatible device and a decent internet connection with low latency.
The plan for release is to get the service working on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 this will then be followed by the roll out to the PlayStation Vita and then most of the 2014 US models of the Sony Bravia television.
Oh, and don’t you worry, PlayStation Now will support online multiplayer, trophies, and messages. When PlayStation Now releases, Sony aims to let users rent or pay for a subscription that will allow them to play a library of games ala Netflix.
You’ll need a PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 to play the games on TV and tablets. PlayStation 4 will use the DualShock 4. Games will stream at 720p (though performance will depend on your own bandwidth limitations) and Sony has said you’ll want at least 5Mbps Internet connection to get a good experience with the system. PlayStation Now games will allow you to save your progress to the cloud, so if you start playing on your TV, you can pick up where you left off on any other supported device. So we don’t know how much PlayStation Now will cost or how it would tie into your PlayStation Plus subscription, and much like any concept brought to CES, we don’t know how the service will actually work when it fully releases but we expect to hear more about this at this years E3.