Sony Announces PlayStation Now

Earlier this year at the Consumer Elec­tronics Show (CES), Sony unveiled its plans for PlayStation Now. As a game-streaming service based completely in the cloud, Play­Station Now could redefine backwards ca­pability.

Speculation of Sony’s plans first arose in 2013, when the company purchased a streaming service named Gaikai. Since then, Sony has expressed their desire to bring hun­dreds of titles from its backlog to Now. These include everything from PS1, PS2, PS3 and even PS4 games. This would exponentially expand the current and next-gen consoles’ catalogs of games, but what’s even more surprising is the platforms that PlayStation Now will be available on. The PS3 and PS4 are no-brainers for this functionality; how­ever, expect to also stream this dense library of games to the handheld PSVita, and even smartphones and smart-TVs.

Considering the streaming service’s heavy reliance on Internet connection, Sony might hit some rough bumps early on. If the results are as disastrous as the online launch­es of last year’s “SimCity” and “Grand Theft Auto Online,” it may scare away potential users. Sony is committed to making a bril­liant product, though. A 5Mbps or higher Internet connection is recommended for op­timal use (which is below the household av­erage), and impressions from demo booths at CES were overwhelmingly positive. On top of that, they have already started a closed beta to test the service.

Unfortunately, Sony has yet to comment on specific pricing for PlayStation Now. However, it’s been stated that you’ll be able to rent or buy titles individually, or pay a subscription fee for access to a larger pool of games. Games included in the service haven’t been announced either, but the afore­mentioned demos showed “God of War: As­cension and The Last of Us,” among others.

If all goes well, Sony could reinvent what backwards compatibility means. In the past, replaying old titles has been a thorn in gamers’ sides. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 aren’t compatible (in most cases) with PS2 or Xbox titles. The PS4 and Xbox One, likewise, don’t natively support the previous systems’ games.

Enter PlayStation Now. Not only would PlayStation owners have nearly any title they want at the click of a button, but even those who don’t own consoles could catch up on the history of gaming. It’s a simple so­lution to an age-old problem, and one that every gamer has to be cheering for. As the beta rolls on, we’ll hopefully see if PlaySta­tion Now is everything it promises to be.

 

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