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PlayStation Now: Sony's Gaikai service to launch this summer

PlayStation Now: Sony's Gaikai service to launch this summer

Tue 07 Jan 2014 5:46pm GMT / 12:46pm EST / 9:46am PST
BusinessOnlineTechnology

PS3 games will soon be playable anywhere, and Sony is also preparing a cloud-based TV service

During the keynote presented by Sony boss Kaz Hirai at CES today, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House took the stage to finally reveal the latest plans for the company's Gaikai-based cloud technology. A new cloud-based games service called PlayStation Now is entering a closed beta later this month, and the expectation is that a full roll-out will happen this summer. House said it "marks a new era of streamed gaming that eliminates traditional barriers without compromising the quality of gameplay."

PlayStation Now will, according to House "in the long term, provide instant access" to games from the previous generations (PS1 through PS3), and "equally important, the service will introduce the world of PlayStation to even non-console owners via smartphones, televisions and other devices - soon, playing your favorite PS3 game on a tablet will be a reality."

Sony is demoing PlayStation Now on Bravia TVs and the PS Vita at the booth at CES this week. House said that Sony is "paving the way for gamers to play whenever, wherever." In terms of business models, House said PlayStation Now will let gamers rent games by specific title or people can subscribe, "getting additional value" while exploring a range of titles. It sounds similar to PlayStation Plus, but Sony has yet to clarify if it's going to be tied at all to that service.

In addition to the PlayStation Now cloud gaming service, House briefly talked about a cloud-based TV service, which Sony is currently building up, with plans to test out the service in the US later this year.

28 Comments

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
What about my disc based games. I would be happy if I can pop in a pS1, pS2 or PS3 game and have the PS4 emulate those earlier consoles through online emulation.

I dont like the idea of streaming games to my console. it will take up just so much of my internet bandwith I use for other things including multiple people in my house use it simultaniously. And streaming a 20GB - 30GB games does not make sense to me.

I also want to know if I can play any games I have purchased on PS3 PSN.

Finally i just want to know if I can play the game s I already have or do I have to purchase them again? which i wont do. Its probably more cost effective to keep my PS3 around.

If I have to pay to play games I already own or repurchase my games again, then Im keeping my PS3.

And it may sound stupid, but I like the idea of having my own copy of the game. Id rather pay to have ownership of each individual game, than pay for a service that lets me play any game I want. Id like to have that option.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 7th January 2014 8:05pm

Posted:9 months ago

#1

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

314 206 0.7
It'll be interesting to see how they fair on pricing and with the control methods on tablets.

Posted:9 months ago

#2

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
Soon the horror of streamed gaming latency will be known to all.

Posted:9 months ago

#3

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

201 1,101 5.5
Popular Comment
Sony has just won the console war. I know there is a lot of cloud gaming nay-sayers, but if it didn't work properly this time, Sony wouldn't be making such a bang about it.

So, we will eventually have Playstation on game consoles, handheld consoles, TVs, tablets, even mobile phones. Sony-made as well as other manufacturers. The number of Playstations will be like ten billion. I wonder what Bruce has to say about that.

Posted:9 months ago

#4

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
So, we will eventually have Playstation on game consoles, handheld consoles, TVs, tablets, even mobile phones. Sony-made as well as other manufacturers.
No mention of PC, though, or did I skip over that? :p

Posted:9 months ago

#5

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
. I wonder what Bruce has to say about that.
Cloud gaming across multiple devices is something I have predicted many times.
With tablets being the main device.

Posted:9 months ago

#6

Lindsay Cox
Unity Developer

28 48 1.7
Popular Comment
Tablets won't be the main for this, the control system would be rubbish without a game pad and I am not gonna carry a phone/tablet and controller everywhere and that set up is just pants. I know there are accessories but still. I reckon as this is mainly for home use so it will primarily used on TVs, Home Consoles and the Vita mainly

Posted:9 months ago

#7

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Popular Comment
Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Yeah, the select few with perfect connections will LOVE this. The rest of us? Not so much. Until that crap gets evened out all over so we all have the same connection speed any hour of the day. That said, masterstroke on Sony's part. I'll let the tablet-heads suffer with their lag and funky snap on controllers and/or fingers blocking screens of assorted sizes. I'm still not getting rid of my old PS3, though...

Posted:9 months ago

#8

Martyn Hughes
Managing Director

10 0 0.0
I'm interested to see how bad the latency is.... our game is a very fast twitch multiplayer football (soccer) game, and anything over 150 - 200ms degrades the experience... adding additional latency with something like Gaiki is going to degrade the experience even before the users own latency is taken into account...

I assume this will be the same for all fast twitch games, including all the popular FPS franchises...

Posted:9 months ago

#9

Joćo Namorado
Project Manager

52 23 0.4
@ Rick
"And streaming a 20GB - 30GB games does not make sense to me."

Actually, with game streaming it doesn't matter what size the game files are since those files never leave the server. You just get a video stream of the game. That will take up about as much of your bandwidth as watching a Youtube video. Latency and connection stability are the main factors here.

Cheers!

Posted:9 months ago

#10

Neil Young
Programmer

300 378 1.3
The inclusion of bravia tvs is interesting. It's hardly surprising that a smart TV is enough for this, but they won't normally have the controls. A dualshock 4 would make sense, with the touch pad used for general smart tv controls. Might we see one bundled with bravias soon? Or maybe a retail bundle that pairs the controller with codes for some nostalgic classics?

Posted:9 months ago

#11

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

876 1,274 1.5
Popular Comment
Given the "quality" of my internet connection at home, I object to the phrase "playable anywhere"

Posted:9 months ago

#12

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

448 419 0.9
Sure, internet connections are not great for everyone, but why not provide the service for those with privileged access?

All they need is a killer app that could not be experienced by any other technology. This could work wonders for multiplayer as well providing they really can deliver their theoretical lag on the best fibre connections. No more dead reckoning and no more cheating, plus you have complete control over the hardware. It's a complete dream, judging by their theoretical lag that is lower than current consoles can achieve.

Just imagine a war game with 1000 opponents? You couldn't do that with normal connections.

Think of what the Rage engine could do with even more power? Larger levels, more powerful processing of AI, more connected worlds. I think there are far too many amazing possibilities with cloud gaming providing the lag is low enough.

Posted:9 months ago

#13

Richard Browne
EVP Gaming and Interactive

103 117 1.1
@Lindsay ; the controls won't be rubbish because you'll have a dualshock paired with whatever device you're playing on. I believe this was confirmed today . . .but anyone reading GI.BIZ in June 2012 knew this . . .

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-01-the-rise-and-fall-of-sony-part-2

Posted:9 months ago

#14
I'd hold on and see how it pans out before making comments such as "Sony just won the console war".. As it is at the moment PSN+ is just a clone of XBL, and PSN Now is not something that everyone would use. Sony TV's are not known for being cheap and not everyone has a PSP or PS vita.

Anyone remember the media / industry hype around the console killing "Onlive" service and how that panned out due to the latency issues..?

I'm also not sure that gamer's who have already got a game on PS3 will want to buy / rent it again just to replay it on a portable device, TV or PS4. cannot see that going down too well..Not something that i'm interested in and cannot see me using it really.

Most peoples broadband will not be able to keep up with the 10 - 12 day downloads of PSN or XBL bought games while simultaneously streaming of PSN Now games..

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pete Thompson on 8th January 2014 6:32pm

Posted:9 months ago

#15

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

275 127 0.5
@Greg: "Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth and latency. Yeah, the select few with perfect connections will LOVE this. The rest of us? Not so much."

Sony wont care and neither will the users. As a show and demoroom for PS games it will be perfect. For the market that deems the latency to be acceptable it will be just perfect. For the people that dont care about bandwith and deem the latency acceptable it will perfect. For the people that that care about such things, well they are just as happy to buy the digital/retail copy.
Its a win-win situation, no one is losing out, its just more choice....

Posted:9 months ago

#16

Aristotel Digenis
Lead Audio Programmer

10 18 1.8
It is as if people believe their bandwidth/latency won't improve in the future as fibre (or other tech) rolls out to more homes

Posted:9 months ago

#17

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Aleksi: Oh, I well KNOW Sony won't care and neither will the people with those always speedy connections. As I noted, this is a masterstroke on their part. Unfortunately, it's also a case of "haves and have nots" because here in America (and this is an answer to Aristotel above), that fibre and other tech aren't rolling out as fast as they need to be because there are companies that want their piece of that pie and need to figure out how to overcharge people for it across multiple states (among other reasons)...

Eh, we'll see... I guess it would be insane to suggest a game company also become a high speed service provider because they help set up those connections that people will need to use to get that speedy service they want us all to have. It might help to have some crazy like that at some point. PlayStation Double Plus?

Posted:9 months ago

#18

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Look at the end of the day im all for new ideas and new technologies and ways to play. The one thing I like about this "Playstation Now" thing, is that its not introduced as a replacement or to take over or keep me from playing the way I like to play. It just offers and alternative approach for peolple who can enjoy it, but it leaves room for people who still enjoy other ways to play. I dont like streaming stuff on the net period. I like running things locally and I like owning stuff.

Despite having seen the entirety of a series like "Arrow" on netflix, I still went out and bought the first season on BluRay. And this is knowing full well I can watch the series anytime on Netflix. I am hoping SONY, also provides products that cater to people like me.

So far my thoughts on playstation now is if it doesnt offer backwards compatibility with my old games for free.... cuz in my mind I already paid for those games, then the service isnt for me. However if the service offers some sort of cloud based hardware emulation, and it can run PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSN games on my PS4, even though its cloud based emulation, its better than nothing. But if not I really have no use for it. Ill just keep my old PS3 and problem solved.

Again, its not something that interferes with how I enjoy playing games, and none gamers can enjoy the entirety of the playstation games collection, so its good for people who dont play games and dont own a console. Im not for or against it, but for people who can use it and find use for it, good for them. Me.... Ill simply hold back on it, until I get a better sense of what this service/feature will bring.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 8th January 2014 11:34pm

Posted:9 months ago

#19

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
Popular Comment
Keep in mind, OnLive was available everywhere too. It still hit a maximum of 300K users. I warn all you that game streaming is bad. Sony getting behind it doesn't make it magically fixed. It just doesn't work well, and no, it's not just about personal connection speed. It's about distance to servers and the nature of the speed in which we perceive input.

It may work better than OnLive did, but we'll be a long way from flawless, and users are not going to be wild about the idea of only "renting" or "subscribing" to games.

Posted:9 months ago

#20

Gregory Hommel
writer

91 53 0.6
These devices will require a Dualshock 4. This truly excites me. I am still nervous about the prospect of being charged 5-10 dollars for old games or even worse, a rental system. Although, my relationship with Sony over the years gives me hope that this will be released at a great value.

Sony is well known for offering up freebies to bolster support for their products and services. The best of which has to be PS+. Since subscribing about two years ago I have received hundreds of dollars worth of great games, hundreds of dollars worth of not-so-great games, discounts, extra hardware and software features, special consideration during DRM disputes, amazing value.

I truly hope Playstation Now ends up being another feature added to PS+. I would pay more to have all those games at my fingertips. I already quite enjoy remote play on the Vita. I have a horrible internet connection at my place of employment. According to Comcast speed tests I get 3MB down and 1.5MB up. At home I get 15MBdown and 9MB up. I am able to play BF4 any Killzone: Shadowfall on my Vita from work and while there are periods of total degradation, it is mostly enjoyable.

Streaming should be more stable than the above mentioned set-up. Especially with two average connections. Given all these experiences there is no doubt in my mind that Playstation Now is going to be a technical success. Hopefully the price of entry will allow it to also be a commercial success.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gregory Hommel on 9th January 2014 1:06am

Posted:9 months ago

#21

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Oh, Nicholas, I agree with you 100 percent. I just give Sony props for doing it for at least, the few who CAN get it running. As noted, I'll bet that it works great in-house and at press events (where it should), but it'll hit and miss based on connections at homes all over. I gather Sony will be checking stats on usage and monitoring comments as people check in and hopefully tell the unvarnished truth. For some of the pickier gamers who buy in, "mostly enjoyable" just won't be good enough because they don't understand that this service (as good as it sounds in print) is basically another big beta test that's going to evolve over time...

Posted:9 months ago

#22

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

201 1,101 5.5
I think that from the Sony's side, this is mostly the investment into the future. It is not going to be huge right now, but it could be huge in five years' time. It is the only way for Sony to make PlayStation ubiquitous. They won't get their fortunes back on TVs, or phones. Bold plans with their best-known product are the only way to become the Sony that once was.

Seeing where internet connections were five years ago and where they are now... in five years PlayStation Now could be just great for almost everyone, with the purists still buying boxes, and the casuals just paying 50$ a year and have an access to huge amount of games on their TV.

Posted:9 months ago

#23

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

275 127 0.5
hmmmm. Why is it that I get the feeling people think that this service is taking anything away from anybody? its an option. Try before buying. its not like even sony is expecting this to be a replacement for anything at this time.

Posted:9 months ago

#24

Anthony Gowland
Lead Designer

193 646 3.3
users are not going to be wild about the idea of only "renting" or "subscribing" to games.
Do you have any info to back that assertion up?

Posted:9 months ago

#25

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

314 206 0.7
If playstation now can reach a much wider audience instantly and it does what they claim, then indies (and everyone else) will surely want to tap into that much larger demographic as opposed to thinking about the smaller audience on PS4, surely? Sony would be pulled in this direction as well if its a great success and the growth is in fact in the console free future, I presume. The message just seems to be a bit less about PS4 and the pros of buying the new hardware, at a time when the PS4 needs to show it is worth the outlay and that it can be competitve at different price points to attract more consumers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 9th January 2014 2:38pm

Posted:9 months ago

#26

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Anthony Straight from Sony themselves: "We want to offer you choice when it comes to how you want to access content on PS Now, so you will be able to rent offer a subscription that will enable you to explore a range of titles."

Notice not only are "renting" and "subscribing" the only options Sony mentions, but there is also no mention of any way to use a currently owned PS3 disc to access the PS Now version of your game.

Source

Posted:9 months ago

#27

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