CES 2014: Sony's PlayStation Now promises console gaming without the console
'PlayStation Now' will send data directly to smart televisions
Wednesday 08 January 2014
Sony has announced plans to make console-gaming possible without owning a console with the upcoming launch of PlayStation Now, a new cloud gaming platform.
Subscribers to the service will be able to play titles from Sony’s library of games without owning the relevant hardware. The product will launch in the US this summer and will be available on Sony’s Bravia range of smart TVs. There are plans to expand to a range of devices, including smartphones and tablets in the future.
Cloud gaming works by carrying out the computation necessary to play a title on a server instead of local hardware. Images from the game and input from a gamepad are streamed back and forth between the player and the server, although high-speed internet connections are necessary to carry out this operation smoothly.
Sony has not confirmed when the service will reach Europe, citing the “huge number of different [internet] providers and varying connection speeds” as a stumbling block.
“In short, we need a little more time to ensure a smooth and successful roll-out,” Sony noted in a blog.
The new subscription service will be integrated with other streamed media content including movies and music. Sony’s Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said that this was expected by “the new generation of digital natives,” who want to technology to “bend” to their will.
The move can be seen as part of a wider transition within the gaming industry away from the traditional revenue models of dedicated consoles. Some experts have predicted that the current generation of hardware, the PS4 and the Xbox One will be the last, and that gaming will have to find a new place on users’ many internet-connected devices.
Games available on PlayStation Now will include the critical and commercial success 'The Last of Us'
Despite this, the PS4’s release has proved to be a strong revenue stream for Sony, and the company has sold more than 4.2 million devices between 15 November and 28 December 2013. Rival Microsoft has sold 3 million units since its 22 November release.
Sony's Playstation now service would also offer a solution to backwards-compatibility, the problem of playing old games on newer consoles. Neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One supports older titles, but PlayStation Now could allow games to be streamed to newer devices, with even PS3 titles becoming available on handheld consoles like the PS Vita.
The introduction of PlayStation Now has been long expected after Sony purchased cloud-gaming company Gaikai in 2012 for $380 million (£232m). Previous attempts to offer consumer-friendly cloud gaming included the now-defunct OnLive, a former rival to Gaikai.
OnLive's failure has been ascribed to a number of factors, including the lack of exclusive titles and the need for top-speed internet connections. Sony has a solution to the first problem but the second may still prove a difficulty.
Tech site The Verge reported only a "slightly perceptible lag between button presses and the corresponding action onscreen" when they tested the service, but transplanting this experience into consumers' homes will likely prove a challenge.
In response to the news shares in US game retailer GameStop plummeted. Although the company's stock rose over 78 per cent during the last year, analysts are worried that the shops will go the same way as now-defunct video rental service Blockbuster, with brick-and-mortar stores replaced by online services.
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6 will function as 'mobile wallet' following Apple deal with Visa - reports
Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
Three quarters of the Ikea catalogue is CGI
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-Office D...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits, Training & Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# S...
£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...