Sony just announced more details about it’s upcoming streaming service Playstation Now at the 2014 CES show in Las Vegas. But before I dive into that bit of news, does anyone remember Gaikai?
A few years ago Gaikai was founded partly by Dave Perry (of Shiny and Earthworm Jim fame) as a game streaming service that streamed select AAA titles directly to your browser via YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. Because all of the content rendering was done on a remote server, even gamers with slow PCs could play, provided they had a fast enough internet connection. Needless to say, I was enticed by the idea of playing games without having to upgrade to the latest video card.
By the time I was ready to try the service for myself, Gaikai was purchased by Sony in 2012 for $380 million USD, cancelling any further plans for Gaikai and PC game streaming, and making me cry big sad man tears. My initial frustration over this acquisition, however, turned into intrigue when Sony announced last year at E3 last year the ability to stream PS3 games on the PS3, PS4 and eventually the Vita.
Now that the PS4 is out, Gaikai is a major factor in giving Sony a possible edge over the competition, first in allowing PS4 streaming to the Vita.
Today, Sony announced a new service called PS Now that will allow streaming “starting with PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4, and expanding to PlayStation®Vita, BRAVIA TV’s and other Sony and non-Sony devices”. (http://us.playstation.com/playstationnow/).
Here’s the announcement video
As an owner of a Vita, PS3 and soon PS4 I’m very excited at the prospect of streaming games. People may complain about not being to own the games, but I see several factors that may win more people over:
- Sony consoles space is very limited unless you upgrade the storage media.
PS4 games average 20-40 GB of space each. The average PS3 HDD fills up pretty fast as well. PS Vita memory cards are proprietary and cost an arm and a leg to upgrade. Streaming content would alleviate this issue somewhat.
- How many times have you wanted to try a game out, but didn’t feel like waiting for a huge download to finish just to play it?
PlayStation Now will soon position itself among other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which also allow streaming content from a multitude of different devices.
- Streaming PS3 and PS2 games on the VITA!
The only problem here is the controls. I’ve used the Remote Play feature on my VITA to stream God of War HD from my PS3 and the only problem is that the Vita lacks buttons on the thumbsticks and two back triggers. This can be a pain to remap to the back and front touch screen, and doesn’t quite match using a ps3 controller. And don’t get me started about playing these games on a tablet device. Touch screen controls are poor replacements for the tactile feedback and precision needed on console gaming.
- Sony will give you the ability to stream on one supported console, and continue on another.
Online multiplayer also looks to be an included feature.
With Playstation Now, Sony seems ready to succeed where others have failed (Onlive comes to mind). My only concerns with the new service are 1) pricing and 2) latency and 3) interface (we need something more like Netflix).
If Sony can nail down these issues, I see a great future for PlayStation Now. What do you think? Please leave comments below!