Way back in February 2013, when Sony first announced the PlayStation 4, they talked a bit about their partnership with the streaming company Gaikai. With the power of the cloud, Sony said, we'd all be able to stream PS1, PS2 and PS3 games.
But things have changed. Today, those vague plans have coalesced into the form of PlayStation Now, a streaming service that lets you play... PS3 games. And only PS3 games.
For fans of retro games, that's kind of a bummer. Sony's got an impressive catalogue of PS1 and PS2 games — some of which are already playable on the PS3 and Vita — and while their streaming infrastructure is a great first step, the thought that they might only use this program for last-generation games is a little depressing.
So during a chat with Jack Buser, senior director for PlayStation Now, I asked what had happened those plans for PS1 and PS2 games on the service. The answers were... well, there were no answers.
Schreier: When you guys first announced PS Now, you announced that it wouldn't just be PS3 games, but it'd also be PS1 and PS2 games. Is that still something you guys are planning to add to the services?
Buser: Currently for open-beta on PlayStation 4 we're going to focus on PlayStation 3 games. This will be integrated into the PlayStation 4 in the US and Canada. In terms of devices that will support PlayStation Now, we'll then be expanding from PlayStation 4 and applying the open beta on PS3, PS TV, PS Vita. And then the ultimate vision of PlayStation Now is to support a wide variety of devices.
Schreier: Well I don't mean devices, I mean, the games that you'd be able to play.
Buser: During the open beta launch on PlayStation 4 we'll be focusing on PlayStation 3 titles. We don't have anything specific to announce at this time.
Schreier: The reason I'm asking, and kinda pressing you a little bit on this is because at first it was announced that it'd be PS1/PS2/PS3, and then I remember there was a rumour somewhere that you guys had changed plans about that. I know that a lot of my readers are big fans of retro games, and like the idea of being able to play all these old games on their fancy new PS4s, so I'm hoping for some clarification there.
Buser: One thing I wanna stress is that we're in the early days of the beta. We're gonna launch in open beta on PlayStation 4, we're gonna focus on PS3 titles. One of the things that's really exciting about that is that there are a lot of people that are gonna have PS4 that are new to the PlayStation ecosystem. We believe that the PlayStation 3 has a rich catalogue of titles, and we wanna make sure we make that catalogue available to people who are new to the PlayStation ecosystem via PlayStation 4. Again, we're in the early days, and it's all about the beta testing community to give us feedback — what kind of content do they want to see on the service, what kind of features, and on and on. I really encourage folks to give us that feedback on what they want to see in the future.
So if you're wondering what happened to those streaming plans for PS1 and PS2 games... well, so are we. PlayStation Now will enter open beta and be accessible to all PS4 owners starting tomorrow.