Sony revealed its new platform for streaming PlayStation games over the internet at the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s called PlayStation Now, and at launch you’ll be able to play games on a PS4 or PS3 game console without buying a disc or downloading the game first.
Support for the PS Vita handheld device and 2014 or later model Sony Bravia TVs is on the way, meaning you might not even need to buy a game console to stream PlayStation games. And according to an image posted on the Sony blog, it looks like support for phones and tablets is also on the way.
Update: The Verge reports that while PlayStation Now will eventually support phones and tablets, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to play games using touchscreen controls. You’ll need to hook up a DualShock controller.
Sony doesn’t even plan to limit the service to Sony devices, so you could use internet-connected devices from other companies to play PlayStation games.
The technology behind the service comes from Gaikai, a game streaming company Sony acquired a few years ago. By integrating game streaming with its PlayStation products though, Sony is the first major game console maker to announce support for streaming games over the internet.
NVIDIA is working on similar technology for streaming PC games to a computer, NVIDIA Shield, or other device using what it calls Grid Cloud Gaming.
There are some inherent challenges with this sort of service. You need a fast internet connection with low latency. Not only is video streaming to your device, but every time you try to move, shoot, change a camera angle, or do anything else in a game you have to send a command over the internet to a remote server, have that remote machine calculate the next move, and send it back.
In order to speed up transfers, you might see lower-resolution graphics, among other things.
On the other hand, game streaming opens up new possibilities. You don’t necessarily need the latest gaming hardware with a high-end graphics chip because a remote machine is actually doing all the heavy lifting. And not only can you play games without purchasing a physical disk or downloading a huge file first, but you can also rent games or pay for a subscription service to access a library of games, Netflix-style.
Sony plans to open the initial beta program for PlayStation Now at the end of January. The service will roll out more widely in the summer of 2014. There’s no word on how long before you’ll be able to stream games to your phone or tablet though.
via Android Police