Sony has made a massive announcement. We’ve expected some sort of video game streaming option to allow fans to play older games (instead of making their latest console, the PlayStation 4, backwards compatible) for some time now after the announcement that they had acquire streaming service Gaikai. Now the company has made things official, announcing PlayStation Now.
Details will surely be coming as time goes on, but for right now, here’s what we do know: they’re aiming very high. Basically, PS Now will offer gamers the ability to play previous generation PlayStation titles—PlayStation, PS2, and PS3—on not just their consoles, but on various platforms. In fact, you’ll eventually even have the option of using the service to play full PlayStation titles on non-Sony devices, such as your smartphone or tablet. Yikes.
Continue reading for more info, including a chunk of the press release Sony sent out, and top see a video of the announcement.
The plan is for PlayStation Now to begin its beta program by the end of this month, and for the service to officially arrive sometime this summer. It first will be available on Sony platforms like the consoles and PS Vita as well as most 2014 Sony BRAVIA TVs, and then eventually spread out to non-Sony internet-connected devices, including tablets and smartphones. This means, if all works as described, you should be able to play Game of the Year favorite The Last of Us at home on your PS4, and then pick up wherever you left off on your smartphone later. Sorcery, I tell you!
There will also be options: Sony says that you can pay for a subscription to the service if you will play a lot, or, if you prefer, you can rent specific games instead.
Additionally, the games offered will include PlayStation Network features such as multiplayer, trophies, and messaging as well.
Here’s part of Sony’s press release:
In addition to PlayStation platforms, most 2014 U.S. models of Sony’s BRAVIA® TV*2 lineup will support PS Now. Eventually the service will expand beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices, allowing users to stream PlayStation games on numerous other Internet-connected devices.
SCE’s vision for PS Now is to enable users to instantly enjoy a wide range of full games on the Internet-connected consumer electronics devices they use every day. 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. 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.
PS Now will offer choice to gamers with how they want to access content. Gamers can rent by title for specific games they are interested in, or they can choose a subscription that delivers additional value with the ability to explore and play many games available across a wide variety of genres. In addition, the service will support many popular PSNSM features such as online multi-player, Trophies, and messages.
“We are thrilled to deliver entertainment experiences only possible from PlayStation through our new streaming game service,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “PS Now will allow users to engage in the world of PlayStation, whether they’re existing fans or have never owned a PlayStation platform.”
During the 2014 International CES held in Las Vegas from January 7, attendees can visit the Sony booth to have a hands-on experience with the PS Now service for the first time ever. Attendees can enjoy four blockbuster PS3 titles, BEYOND: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us and Puppeteer from SCE Worldwide Studios, on PS Vita or BRAVIA® TV.
Prior to the official launch, SCE will begin a beta program on PS3 systems in certain regions of the United States from the end of January. Additional information about PS Now will be available at http://us.playstation.com/playstationnow.
And if all of this wasn’t enough, Sony even plans to offer streaming live television, as well as DVR functions that you’ll also be able to use on multiple platforms.
PlayStation Now is truly an ambitious project for Sony. And if it works, it could—for lack of a better term–be a real game changer. The question is…will it work?