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'PlayStation Now' is Sony's streaming game solution
'PlayStation Now' is Sony's streaming game solution
January 7, 2014 | By Kris Graft




At Sony's CES keynote, Sony Computer Entertainment group CEO Andrew House highlighted PlayStation's role within the company.

The big video game news happened when House announced "PlayStation Now": the company's cloud-based streaming solution for video games.

Powered by Gaikai -- Sony's big streaming tech acquisition -- PlayStation Now will first deliver popular PlayStation 3 games to PS4 and PS3, and then to the Vita handheld. Eventually, it will stream games from all generations of PlayStation to a variety of platforms, House said.

Sony also said that most 2014 Bravia TV models will support PlayStation Now. Sony's plan for the service is to extend PlayStation Now across an array of devices, including smartphones and tablets.

"The accessibility of PS Now means, for example, that PS4 users in the living room can continue playing a game on a PS3 system in their bedroom," Sony said in a press release. "Or PS Vita users can enjoy instant access to a game wherever there's wi-fi connectivity, such as outdoors, then can switch to a supporting Bravia TV's big screen and play the same game after arriving home."

Users will be able to rent games by title or sign up for a subscription that gives them access to a wide variety of games. Community features like multiplayer, trophies and messages will be supported.

Here at CES, Sony will have Beyond: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us and Puppeteer playable via PlayStation Now on Bravia TVs and Vita.

The beta for PlayStation Now starts at the end of this month, with a full roll-out slated for this summer.


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Comments


Merc Hoffner
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Ok, this is seriously exciting, but so many questions. Does this apply to all digital purchased content? Does this apply to disc based content if you can tie the disc to an account? Will this support controller standards on alien platforms? Will you be able to play on multiple machines? Simultaneously? Will Sony open up dualshock on whatever app portal they make? Will Sony have to renegotiate deals for all legacy games (will they track down every PS1 game publisher etc.)? Will SD games run smoother? Will there be a subscription model? Will there be a browser version? If there were a browser version would they block access from the Xboxone, or the Wii U, or, hey, the PS3?

Above all else, do they have new latency solutions? Local data/compute centres? Local P2P processing? In hardware video encoding?

Finally, we see a plan emerging, for life after computing one-upsmanship. Is this effectively the PS5? Does this officially signal their future machines focusing more on the interface than on the silicon?

Simon Ludgate
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Does this mean you could buy a TV and not a console, get a subscription, and play every game Sony has?

That's not exactly the "death of the console" I was expecting.

Christian Nutt
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It sounds like you could buy a Bravia and play PREVIOUS GENERATION Sony games, or at least that's what is being implied. Also, "every" game is never going to happen, particularly the further back we get, as the rights issues get murky and companies cease to exist.

Camilo R
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If this is the solution to backwards compatibility, then can you play owned PS2 and PS3 games on a PS4 free using this service or do you still have to rent or sign up for a subscription?

Ron Dippold
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I suspect the service might be free with PSN+ but you will still have to rent or buy the individual titles you want to play, even if you already own them on disk.

Letting you play (for free) digital PS3 games you already own on PSN would fend off a huge poopstorm. There's little excuse for not doing that.

I'm not sure if the PS4 is capable of verifying PS3 disks. If it can, then you might just be able to insert the disk (every time) as proof you own the game. That would be fantastic and would mean they've delivered back compat as much as possible besides sticking a PS3 slim in the PS4 case.


E Zachary Knight
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I wouldn't see why they couldn't verify a PS3 disk. Both the PS3 and PS4 use a Bluray drive. PS3 disks already contain a verification mechanism that wouldn't require the ability to render graphics and audio. So it should be a simple software update for the PS4 to do so. But they would not be able to do the same for PS2 and PS1 games as the PS4 lacks lasers for those mediums.

Brian M
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Unless the discs are signed for a one time activation then I don't think this would work as one disc could be passed around to multiple users to gain the Now licence. This would cause a lot of problems for second hand discs as well.

E Zachary Knight
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Brian,

As Ron said, and I alluded to, you would have to insert the disk every time you wanted to play a PS3 game. That would be the only real way to do it without the fear you expressed.

Ron Dippold
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@Zachary: This is my hope! I just don't know if the PS3 has any special copy protection hardware that does something during the verification phase so I didn't want to say it's absolutely doable.

@Brian: That's why I think you'd need to do it every time you wanted to play for a physical game. The disk would have to be in the drive locally as a 'dongle'.

Mark Fronstin
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What is this going to do to my monthly bandwidth allocated by my internet cable provider? :)

Harry Fields
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consume it all!

Freek Hoekstra
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it's probably similar to netflix usage I would presume,
but if you game significantly more then it might be an issue I guess.

Nicco Wargon
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Probably lower it since you will no longer be downloading 15GB games from Steam that are uninstalled an hour or two later. :P

Chad Wagner
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The interesting part about this is, of course, if you can stream one 1080p experience...why stop at last generation games? The streaming will be the same in terms of load - so they should move onward to PS4, and even more advanced games (as OnLive keeps promising).

Nicco Wargon
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If that happens, Unity developers will not be able to participate due to the Unity Software License Agreement 4.x which has Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions.

http://unity3d.com/company/legal/eula

These restrictions apply to Amazon AppStream and other cloud gaming services. Hopefully, Unity Technologies will rethink this policy and allow developers to distribute their applications more freely, but today cloud streaming is a EULA violation.

Steven Christian
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"This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing Licensee Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device."

It seems like Unity Devs are safe as it would be the end user streaming from their own PS4 to another device they own.

Or am I reading Sony's announcement incorrectly?

Nicco Wargon
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PlayStation Now is both local streaming and server based. It allows users to stream games from:

* Different devices in their home - "PS4 users in the living room can continue playing a game on a PS3 system in their bedroom"

* Remote Game rentals and Netflix-style subscription service - "Users will be able to rent games by title or sign up for a subscription that gives them access to a wide variety of games"

The first will not break the Unity 4.x EULA, but the second definitely will.

Harry Fields
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The Video Stream is only part of it. Computationally, the overhead to render the streams for PS4 games could be very costly. 260 SP GFlops peak versus 1.8 SP TFlops peak. That's a lot more utilization out of what would presumably be some Kepler powered Teslas in the cloud data center. And those things aren't cheap. If you can deliver 24 or so concurrent sessions per K40, great, you can make back your money within 2-3 years if you can get 80%+ utilization of infrastructure. PS4 games, you'd be lucky to get 5-6 concurrent sessions per K40, so you either gotta' charge a whole lot more for that service or come up with an ingenious way of coming up with cheap compute performance. OnLive couldn't make the business model work. I don't know how Sony/Gaikai can do any better... unless they stick to previous gen games only.

wes bogdan
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Out with the $400+ boxes in with the ROKU sized pucks...though I'm expecting games from ps one,2,3 and psp all with trophies and yes if I bought digital games,dlc etc it should be simply part of my account and I'm for this being folded into plus as splitting the user base is stupid.

We'd see PS now without plus and plus without now it'd be horrible and confusing to most.

wes bogdan
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If I were Sony I'd raise plus by $10 and get everyone on-board because splintering my userbase again IS a stupid move...plus is $49 a year while xbl is $59 a year so if plus was $59 with PS NOW folded in when ms arrived with tbeir streaming if xbl went up $10 plus is still cheaper/better value.

Jarod Smiley
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But what if I don't want PS+ or really a Playstation for that matter? I just saw an awesome Bravia TV for $800, I want that because it comes with this "cool game streaming app"

For that consumer, it's not fair to lump them into a PS+ membership as they are likely more casual in their game purchases.

It won't be confusing, PS+ users will obviously get a discount, but the services should definitely be separated, it's really trying to create a new market, not get rid of the traditional console, PS4 games will likely not be streamed this entire gen.

wes bogdan
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That's fine for the sony tv owner but it would be smart to have don't own/want a PlayStation fine you can still pay us but I see no reason why a ps4 owner would want to split hairs and spinter the userbase'

Gamers are likely to respond as warmly as they did to x1 last may....I have to double pay just fold it in and get everyone.


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