PlayStation Now? Not Yet For Many
Sony have officially announced PlayStation Now, the much-anticipated service based on Gaikai, the cloud streaming technology it purchased way back in the summer of 2012. PlayStation Now will allow the streaming of classic PlayStation games to all manner of devices in a similar way to the way OnLive currently streams advanced PC games to tablets and smartphones.
Sony say that everything up to and including PS3 games will be available on the service, which will stream games to smartphones, new Bravia smart TVs, the PS Vita and of course, the PS4.
Reading between the lines of the press releases and spin, it appears that there will be a selection of games available through a subscription with others rented on a game by game basis, again in a similar way that the OnLive Playpack scheme works, which is fine by us if they get the prices right.
It all sounds fantastic, but there are one or two flies in the streamy-cloudy ointment. First off, if you have ever attempted to use OnLive on anything less than an 8Mb connection, you will know what a shoddy experience it can be with juddering, poor visuals and games that can stop for several seconds at a time. Even if you have a great connection at home, you are still at the mercy of the Internet. Imagine you are attempting a level for the tenth time due to a dodgy connection…anything that places an extra barrier between game and gamer had better work more often than not.
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Secondly, the majority of gamers won’t get their hands on this for a long time. There is a beta due in the US at the end of this month, and the service is due to launch there in the summer, but these things are always beset with delays, and when you consider that Europe doesn’t even have any kind of timescale for release yet, you have to wonder if Sony have announced this far, far too early.
A delay or two could easily push the US release to October, and anyone reading this from Europe may not actually get to play anything on PlayStation Now until 2015. If you have been following technology for a while, you will know how easy it is for these things to slip, and Sony have form with this kind of thing with the travesty that is PlayStation Home still being in beta, where is has been treading water since 2008.
A quiet closed beta announcement would have been far wiser, with real announcements closer to the real launch.
However, PlayStation Now will probably become as important to Sony as PS Plus will be, as it will allow the company to move the emphasis away from expensive hardware onto older software that will hold its value forever. You will probably be playing PS4 and Vita games on the PlayStation 6 using PlayStation Now in the decades to come.
Let’s hope they get it right.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.