Yesterday at CES, Sony announced the imminent beta testing of its much anticipated cloud-based game-streaming service. Called PlayStation Now, the re-appropriated Gaikai cloud streaming service would allow gamers to to play PlayStation games beamed off of servers on the internet.
It’s coming to the US later this month by way of a closed beta roll-out, and in future will let gamers play a wide range of PlayStation 1, 2 and 3 games which they can rent. Additionally, gamers will also be able to pay for a subscription that will let them “explore a range of titles.” It’s quite probable that this subscription is separate from PlayStation Plus.
speaking rather hyperbolically, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai affirms that “The tethers that have constrained consumption for decades… soon dissolve.”
It will, for one thing, finally make the PS4 very nearly backwards compatible .
When the streaming system first launches, it’ll be available on PlayStation4 and PlayStation3, but Sony’s said PlayStation Now will soon be coming to the Vita as well, along with support for a range of 2014 model Bravia TV’s and eventually smartphones and tablets as well. That all sounds quite lovely – except we may never actually get it.
Sony’s said it’s “not quite ready to confirm launch plans for PAL territories” yet, because broadband penetration is apparently quite an issue. Sony recommends a 5Mbps connection, but latency here is more important than speed, so we’d need local servers and datacentres – which I just don’t see happening.
“When it comes to broadband provision, Europe is a considerably more complex region, with a huge number of different providers and varying connection speeds from country to country. In short, we need a little more time to ensure a smooth and successful roll-out.
That’s in Europe. Here in South Africa, things are quite a bit different. though things are changing, and the internet landscape in this country is a damned sight better than it was just a few years ago, I’m not sure we have the speed or the bandwidth necessary for internet streaming of games.
Hell, some days, I can barely stream a video from YouTube. I really have to wonder just how well game streaming – which depends more on latency than speed, really – will work when, or more than likely if, it ever launches here.
Last Updated: January 8, 2014