Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
Posted by drew10 on Jan 9, 2014
Playstation Now!

Playstation Now!

Sony has finally unveiled it’s long rumoured game streaming service at CES 2014. Called Playstation Now, the service will allow users to access Sony video games without the need for dedicated hardware like the PS4 console itself.

In much the same way that the failed Onlive service delivered its content, Playstation Now will store all of it’s titles on a server and stream them to various devices like Sony Smart TV’s. It is a move that is set to excite and upset in equal measure. The service is set to roll out in America in the Summer but Europe and particularly the UK may prove far more tricky. The amount of ISP’s and the difference in internet speeds may prove to be a huge stumbling block over here. To stream a game of a PS4 quality in 1080p would require a very fast internet connection speed, something that not all homes in the UK are currently receiving. One of Onlive’s major failings was the quality of the stream and compression rates meant games looked distinctly lower resolution than their console counterparts. Lag was also a big issue on slower connection speeds and this is an issue Sony would need to address.

There are some positives to this idea though. For one it will address the issue of backwards compatibility with all back catalogue games stored in the cloud and accessible at any time. Games owned could be played on many differing devices at the same quality in various locations and certainly shelf-space and waste would be reduced. The other bonus would be the fact that the hardware used could be infinitely more powerful than what we see in our homes and as such more impressive games. Plus the need to shell out £400 every few years for a new console would be gone.

Equally though there are those who are sceptical about the service and what it holds for the games industry as a whole. Certainly the high street games stores will be looking worryingly at how the service is greeted. The announcement alone caused US retailer Gamestop’s shares to fall by over 9%. The lack of physical media would mean the end of the pre-owned market and no competition for prices anywhere. This would set a dangerous precedent that would see inflated prices that remain high no matter the age of a title. This has already been born out on PSN where games that you can pick up for a tenner in the shops still retail at full price on the Playstation Store. It has always confused us that there has never been an price incentive for consumers to purchase the digital copies of the games. You remove the packaging, manufacturing and shipping costs but still charge the same price? I price-drop in digital versions of games may go some way to convince consumers that this really is the future.

For sure this model is the one the industry has been moving towards for some years and it seems that for all of Sony’s bravado and blustering about pre-owned games and physical media at E3 that we could all soon be forced into getting our games from the cloud.

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