January 08, 2014, 6:00 AM —
Source: Playstation Blog
We've known for quite some time that, thanks to their purchase of Gaikai, Sony was going to be launching a streaming game service. Back at E3 we learned that the service wouldn't launch until 2014.
Well 2014 is barely a week old and Sony has shared their plans. The service is called Playstation Now and the closed beta launches later this month, with a full launch for the continental US coming by the end of this summer.
Initially Playstation Now will be available on Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 consoles, with the Playstation Vita to follow after. Eventually Playstation Now will be available through most 2014 model Bravia TVs as well as various tablets and smart phones.
The first batch of software for the service will consist of Playstation 3 titles, but Sony is talking about adding titles from earlier consoles (and possibly even PS4 titles) further down the line. Gamers will be able to rent titles on a game-by-game basis, or subscribe to the service and get access to a "range of titles."
Unfortunately Sony made no mention of acknowledging our existing library of PS3 titles. If you own The Last of Us on PS3 and want to play it via streaming on your new PS4, you'll have to buy or rent it again. That's a disappointment. I was hoping you'd be able to pop in a disk to validate that you own the software and access it for free. PS3 to PS4 upgrade deals work this way, as I understand it, so it should be possible.
When you play a game on Playstation Now, your save and config files are stored in the cloud so you can access your game from any Playstation Now capable device.
There're still lots of details that we need to learn. Pricing, for example. How will you control a PS3 game on the Vita? (Presumably like you do with Remote Play; the rear touch pad emulates the shoulder buttons.) Well how about on a tablet? I guess we'll learn more in the months to come.
Of course streaming services have been attempted before and haven't exactly flourished (I'm looking at you, Onlive). It'll be interesting to see if Sony can capture an audience, and that in turn depends a lot on how much lag is evident in games, as well as the business model.
Sony also introduced a cloud-base TV service, thought details on it seem even more vague. Sony says it'll offer "live TV" as well as On Demand content and a cloud-based DVR. According to The Verge, the service starts testing later this year.
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