Sony announced at CES Tuesday that a new streaming service, PlayStation Now, will bring PlayStation, PS2, and PS3 games to a variety of devices in 2014. The service will stream games to the PS4 and handheld PS Vita, as well as other devices like HDTVs, tablets, and smart phones.
None of this comes as a surprise. Sony purchased video game streaming company Gaikai in 2012. PlayStation Now is simply a new public brand for a cloud-gaming product we’ve been hearing about for some time now.
Having old PlayStation/2/3 games available on your TV without a console at all sounds great, so long as you have the internet connection for it. It certainly expands Sony’s gaming reach and transforms other Sony products—phones, TVs, etc.—into video game systems overnight.
One question that remains is whether your own catalog of PSN games will somehow be recognized by the service and “credited” somehow to your account, or whether you’ll have to pay twice. I’ve reached out to Sony to see if they have any comment.
The PlayStation Now closed beta begins at the end of this month, and the service is expected to begin rolling out sometime this summer. CES attendees will be able to play Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us and Quantic Dream’s Beyond Two Souls on Sony Bravia TVs at the show.
Sony’s Andrew House also noted that there will be multiple payment models for the service, including rentals and subscription plans.
House also discussed Sony’s upcoming live-TV streaming service, which blends the concept of TV and online-streaming and allows users to watch TV on just about any device, from the PS4 to an iPad.
Sony has similar plans for PlayStation Now.
“Eventually the service will expand beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices, allowing users to stream PlayStation games on numerous other Internet-connected devices,” Sony said in a press release. That’s an interesting business strategy, effectively shifting Sony’s game business away from hardware and toward a service model.
Could there come a day when you could stream all your PS3 games to your Xbox One?
Shifting from hardware to entertainment services is a risky but perhaps inevitable move. PlayStation as a universal service might have greater reach than PlayStation as a hardware brand, though given the early sales success of the PS4 it would appear there’s still a real market for gaming hardware.
It does make you wonder if we’ll ever even see a PS5, however. If PS Now works as well as advertised, the next Sony console might just be a subscription and a controller.