One of Sony's hottest video game drawcards is the new cloud streaming service dubbed PS Now. The Gaikai-based platform will allow gamers to access classic PlayStation titles on their tablets and smartphones, including recent titles such as The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls. It sounds quite nifty on paper but anything touted as 'game-changing' often turns into little more than a gimmick. Here's our two cents' worth.
Imagine a streamed gaming service that gave you instant access to the best PlayStation games across every console generation. Now imagine you could play these games on a multitude of non-PlayStation devices, ranging from mobile phones to your smart TV. That's the idea behind PlayStation Now, which will be making its debut sometime in the US summer. (No Australian date as yet.)
The below video was taken at CES 2014, where Sony's Andrew House explains the main principles behind the new service:
According to House, PS Now will "eliminate traditional barriers to gaming". In other words, it removes the need for a physical console, with games beamed directly to a host of non-PlayStation devices, including phones, tablets and smart TVs. (Naturally, the service will also support the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.)
The obvious catch here is that you're going to need a Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4 controller to actually play the games. If you own a PlayStation controller, chances are pretty high that you also own the console it belongs to. Just sayin'.
Sony's pledge to capture a whole new audience of PlayStation virgins is therefore a bit suspect, but what does it offer existing gamers? Personally, I have zero interest in playing games on my tablet via a Dualshock controller — a feat which seems to require at least three hands.
Having access to a back catalogue of classic PlayStation games is a lot more intriguing. However, if you just want to play old games on your new console, surely this is something the PlayStation Network could handle on its own? When you take away the "whenever, wherever" aspect of the service, PS Now's strengths become less evident.
Then there are the obvious concerns surrounding Australia's sluggish internet speeds. Streaming high-definition PS3 titles is going to murder most people's connections (assuming we actually get the service before NBN 2.0 rolls out in decades to come).
All in all, we're still a bit hesitant about the PS Now service but anything that puts classic games into more people's hands is nothing to sniff at. Hopefully we'll end up seeing some eclectic old-school titles to go along with the usual suspects. Bring on Robotron X!
What are your thoughts on the PS Now service? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!