At CES 2014 in Las Vegas early this month, Andrew House showed off what Sony Computer Entertainment has been working toward since the unveiling on the PlayStation 4 last February. In 2012, Sony bought cloud based service provider, Gaikai, for 380 million dollars and promised something huge in the future. Nothing else came out about this service for the rest of the year about this acquisition until now. “PlayStation Now” is what gamers like myself have wanted from a console backwards compatibility was taken out of the first model of the original PlayStation 3. Although I love the idea of PlayStation Now, I do have some gripes about the service and questions about what’s to come with this new service.
After a great year of marketing and also catching fire with core gamers, some that they supposedly lost during 7th generation, Sony finally snapped out of la la land and has reverted back to the old school PlayStation 2 days. PlayStation Now is a cloud based gaming service that will allow users to stream PlayStation games on their PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and many other entertainment and portable devices, such as the Sony Bravia TV line, iOS, and Android devices later down the pipeline. Even though this does seem like a fantastic service for somebody looking for an answer to backwards compatibility within their systems, I do have some gripes about the service that Sony needs to address in the coming months before PlayStation Now’s launch in the summer.
Sony’s ups and downs last generation really hurt them financially as we saw with many employee layoffs, first party studios getting axed, to Sony selling buildings, so it’s safe to say that the company is trying to save as much money as possible. At CES, some of the presenters didn’t give any price points for the service – only stating that there will be two pay options to use the service. One is a subscription based fee like liken to Netflix and Hulu Plus. The second being that you have the option to simply rent the game you want to play through the service. Sony is in need of money, but if they don’t set this service at a reasonable price, it will turn off some hardcore gamers. If the price point is reasonable, like Netflix’s 7.99 per month, gamers of all genres and ages will hop on board.
2. Latency and Resolution Issues
It was confirmed that the new service will have some lag or latency issues, but that it will be minimal – which is a good thing. However, this could still be a potential issue due to the 5mb mandatory internet speed required to use the service. Even in 2014 there are still some terrible internet providers out there that do not provide internet speeds up to most gamers’ standards. It has also been stated that Sony has been using fully upgraded and customized PS3’s as servers for the service which seems logical, yet quite interesting that you use a 7 year old console to power a next generation service like PlayStation Now. Sony also mentioned the resolution for games will be in 720p and not full or standard 1080p like gamers hoped. In my opinion, it really shouldn’t matter. Most of today’s games are upscaled anyway and are not full HD. On the topic of multiplayer focused games and games modes surrounding online, so long as the game has minimal lag, I feel this wont be much of an issue.
Down below is a video of PlayStation Now in action from fellow YouTuber and journalist “Malik4play” from Nerdist.com demonstrating the minimal latency issues that I believe will be resolved from alpha build before release.
3. Game Choices & Third Party Support
Sony has stated from their presentation that there will be games from the PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 on the service, but did not state which games they will choose for the catalog at launch. At CES, Sony showed off God Of War: Ascension, Beyond Two Souls, and The Last of Us. My gripe about the catalog is whether or not there will be a variety of first party games at launch other than those featured on the PS3. Honestly, that’s what I want to play. I need my Crash Team Racing or Golden Axe for my third party fix and maybe even some older gems from the PlayStation catalog that diehards like myself to experience again. These oldies could also show the new generation of gamers what Sony’s brand of great first and third party titles where all about. Another question I have is, how strategic will Sony be in choosing what games are featured in the PlayStation Now library? Will it be like present day PlayStation Plus in which there are new games being added to each Sony platform? Only time will tell, but I cant wait to find out what the launch line-up will be in the coming months.
4. PlayStation Plus Integration
At CES it was confirmed that this service would be separate from the already popular PlayStation Plus service which has been gaining ground with gamers and steadily pushing Microsoft to attempt a similar reward system on Xbox Live with “Games with Gold”. I’m still hoping that Sony does do something special for those with PlayStation Plus memberships, but it may not be plausible as Sony is trying to get out of the red financially. One can only hope.
In conclusion, PlayStation Now seems like a great idea on paper, borrowed from another game streaming service called OnLive, but the real question is, will this form of cloud gaming be successful on consoles? That has yet to be seen, but as a Sony fan and a fan of gaming in general, I truly do hope that this does work for the company. This may not be a pure answer to backwards compatibility, but I feel it’s probably as close as we’re going to get. Cost, game resolution, latency, games featured at launch, and PlayStation Plus integration are my main concerns, but in the coming months, Sony will be giving those inquiring more answers to these unanswered questions.
Do you think PlayStation Now is a good move for Sony? Do you have any concerns? What possibilities are you most excited for?
Now lets here from you guys, what do you feel?