PlayStation Now game streaming to begin closed beta this month

Today during its CES keynote, Sony announced PlayStation Now. The apparent culmination of its Gaikai acquisition, it will offer rentals and a subscription model to bring PlayStation games to various devices. A closed beta is planned for January.

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Today during its CES keynote, Sony announced PlayStation Now, the apparent culmination of its plans for Gaikai. It will offer rentals, or a subscription model to let you play PlayStation games on your smartphone, Vita, or Sony TV. The company claims that it will begin a closed beta by the end of January, with a full rollout planned by this summer.

According to the presentation, this will allow you to play games like The Last of Us and Beyond on devices ranging from recent Bravia TVs to a PlayStation Vita. Sony noted that it boasts 70 million Internet-enabled devices currently, but the functionality likely won't be available on all of them from the start. The PlayStation Blog explicitly mentions most 2014 Bravia models to begin with, but says it will expand to other devices afterwards. Sony's presentation also allowed for the possibility of PlayStation Now being available on other, non-Sony devices.

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  • reply
    January 7, 2014 9:55 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, PlayStation Now beta starts this month, streams PlayStation games across devices.

    Today during its CES keynote, Sony announced PlayStation Now. The apparent culmination of its Gaikai acquisition, it will offer rentals and a subscription model to bring PlayStation games to various devices. A closed beta is planned for January.

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      January 7, 2014 9:59 AM

      I would like to be part of that beta, seeing as I did not own a PS3. I'm really looking forward to being able to have a big back catalog of good games to play!

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        January 7, 2014 3:11 PM

        Same here. Any way to be able to play Last of Us on my PS4... would be great with me.

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      January 7, 2014 10:04 AM

      ORLY?

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      January 7, 2014 10:13 AM

      I wonder if this is signaling that the PS4 may be their last "console"...

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        January 7, 2014 10:31 AM

        Eh, someone still has to have a platform on which to release games, even if they're all sitting in data warehouses.

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        January 7, 2014 1:22 PM

        i don't follow. The PS4 so far has done great with its sales. Why would they stop selling hardware?

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          January 7, 2014 1:44 PM

          I don't mean they stop selling consoles tomorrow. But by the end of the cycle of the PS4 they maybe don't do another console since they could stream the games to your tablet, phone, TV, or whatever you still have kicking around.

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            January 7, 2014 2:10 PM

            hmmm possible. but i think they might still want to be the end point as well. As long as they can make money off of it....

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          January 7, 2014 1:59 PM

          If you don't need to buy a $400 console to play your games on, would you buy a $400 console to play your games on?

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            January 7, 2014 3:14 PM

            I think what he's saying, is that in 7 years when the PS4 is at the end of it's lifecycle... it wont be a $400 console anymore... it will be the console you already have, or the console you buy for $150 and stream Sony games to for the rest of existence.

            Who knows? I wouldn't say it's impossible. If they get the technology perfected and get a data center in every major region, it could possibly work.

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              January 8, 2014 7:00 AM

              That's certainly one interpretation. But if you don't even have to buy a PS4 to play PS4 games, would you? If it's just some network video stream that comes in to your television then why do you need a console?

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                January 8, 2014 7:10 AM

                Well yeah, that is also a strong possibility. TVs are getting more and more powerful. Sony is already working on that as well.

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      January 7, 2014 10:13 AM

      This is really cool, good to see them talking about it this early.

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      January 7, 2014 10:27 AM

      subscription model eh? DETAILS!

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        January 7, 2014 10:30 AM

        Yeah there are so many questions. Will I be able to play my currently owned games on this service without fee? Will the subscription give me access to EVERY game? Will every PS3 game be available or will they slowly roll them out one by one?

        Most of all I just want to play my backlog of PS+ games that have been sitting there on my PS3. If I could play those games on my Vita in bed that would be amazing.

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      January 7, 2014 10:33 AM

      Get that lag under control man otherwise later for the service.

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        January 7, 2014 1:54 PM

        Laws of physics stop this from being all that enjoyable.

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          January 7, 2014 3:15 PM

          The laws of physics could also make it work. If this takes off and becomes viable, they would just need to build more data centers so people would always be reasonably close. Onlive works pretty damn well when you are close to the data center and have decent bandwidth.

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      January 7, 2014 10:34 AM

      I don't like this. If all games are streaming in the future, how in the hell will we play stuff like Super Meat Boy, Street Fighter, racing games, etc. You can't have any lag with stuff like that. Games are just going to get easier and dumber.

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        January 7, 2014 11:16 AM

        I see you're employing the jump to conclusions mat.

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          January 7, 2014 11:29 AM

          If games have to start compensating for input lag stemming from wireless connections and variable bandwidth, games are going to have be easier.

          Trying to play Street Fighter 4 with someone on a wireless connection was a nightmare. If Street Fighter's gameplay was designed with that being the default set up, it would be a completely different game, and not nearly as exciting.

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      January 7, 2014 10:41 AM

      so this is basically just like OnLive with the same huge amount of input lag, right?

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        January 7, 2014 11:13 AM

        I've used Onlive and done remote play from a vita to a ps4 4 hours south of Santa Rosa, and the remote play streaming is superior to Onlive. I don't notice an input lag.

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        January 7, 2014 12:58 PM

        I used both Gaikai and Onlive and the one thing Gaikai had going for it at the time was less latency than Onlive had. Regardless, it was easily playable. My Vita remote play over internet has been stellar, so here's hoping.

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      January 7, 2014 10:46 AM

      Input lag says NOPE.

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        January 7, 2014 11:14 AM

        Again, I've used Onlive and done remote play from a vita to a ps4 4hours south of Santa Rosa, and remote play is superior. No noticeable input lag.

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          January 7, 2014 11:48 AM

          so you are comparing local wifi remote play with onlive?

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            January 7, 2014 12:01 PM

            You didnt read what he wrote. It isnt local.

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              January 7, 2014 12:42 PM

              Oops my bad, missed the "south or santa rosa" part lol

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        January 7, 2014 1:35 PM

        Depends on the game. There is many games where input lag doesn't matter like XCOM.

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      January 7, 2014 10:52 AM

      More thoughts:

      http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/7/5284730/playstation-now-hands-on

      The input lag is of course there:

      For our demo, we first booted up God of War. The game's loading time left a bit to be desired, but once it was running, things went on without a hitch. Yes, there's a slightly perceptible lag between button presses and a corresponding action on screen, but we still managed to slay numerous enemies in God of War's brutal style without it being a problem.

      The Last of Us was just as impressive. In terms of graphics, the experience isn't perfectly on par with what you'd get from a PS3, but Sony emphasized that everything will depend on your bandwidth. When you start PlayStation Now, it will perform a connection check and warn you if your session will be hampered by slow data speeds. We noticed some visual artifacts on screen, but the opportunity to play full-fledged PS3 game on a TV screen sans any console should make up for that in the minds of many.

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        January 7, 2014 11:39 AM

        In terms of graphics, the experience isn't perfectly on par with what you'd get from a PS3, but Sony emphasized that everything will depend on your bandwidth

        So basically it takes the one thing that's good about consoles (a consistent experience) and throws it away.

        When you start PlayStation Now, it will perform a connection check and warn you if your session will be hampered by slow data speeds

        Oh good, I wanted to play this game but thanks to a bunch of factors out of my control (damn neighbors downloading Linux ISO's) the game is going to look like shit tonight.

        Yes, there's a slightly perceptible lag between button presses and a corresponding action on screen, but we still managed to slay numerous enemies in God of War's brutal style without it being a problem.

        So, just like OnLive, it works great as long as you choose to ignore the parts that suck.

        I really wish people would just give up on this idea already.

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          January 7, 2014 1:02 PM

          Luckily people like you don't run things in the technology sector. If people gave up on things this easily we wouldn't be where we are today. If you want this to work for you, start bitching at Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, ISPs to fix things on their end. They're holding up the future.

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            January 7, 2014 2:02 PM

            We've been bitching at them for years. They practically owned the FCC and now that they don't, they've made it far less effectual.

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            January 7, 2014 2:10 PM

            So instead of coming up with some sort of PS3 emulation solution and allowing a one-time download of games to be played on every device and using the cloud for saved games or something, we should instead focus our resources on making video of a game fit through a series of tubes pipes we don't own which are subject to a large number of factors outside of our control, not the least of which is that they're controlled by companies with a vested interest in "holding up the future" (i.e., Time Warner Cable doesn't care that you can't stream Netflix because they have no competitors in your area and they have their own movies on demand service).

            There's a lot of reasons that no company has successfully done this and none of them are that no one's thought of it yet.

            Cloud gaming is a myth perpetrated by people who don't understand technology or the laws of physics or who could potentially turn a profit on the backs of naive investors (i.e., the guys who made Gaikai cashed out, and I'm betting that was OnLive's plan all along but it didn't work). The only things worse are the apologists ("hey if you ignore the input lag and shitty graphics this is cool!", "hey this sucks right now but surely if I keep paying for it they'll fix it some day, right?")

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              January 7, 2014 2:46 PM

              Yeah, we got it the first time. You're an old man who can't see the future.

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                January 8, 2014 6:45 AM

                And "the future" = not playing games you "bought" when Sony decides they don't want to stream them anymore. Methinks you're the one who can't see the ultimate future of what they are creating.

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                  January 8, 2014 8:37 AM

                  That's the same problem all digital distribution systems share but the benefits far outweigh the possibility that'll happen anytime soon so I don't worry about it. If it happens then whatever, at least I got a bunch of use from it in the meantime.

                  You're stuck in a paranoid world reserved for everyone afraid of new things.

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                    January 8, 2014 10:04 AM

                    That's not a problem with "all" digital distribution, only digital distribution models that try to slide the ownership back over to the publisher's side. There are plenty of benefits to digital distribution. I buy them. There are plenty of benefits to streaming. I've used it, we're all aware of those benefits. But there are definite cons to it. Your future is shittier on many levels than the present, or even the past.

                    We'll see who's stuck in what kind of world when Sony kills the service, when publisher X Y or Z doesn't want to allow your favourite game on the service while it is still ongoing, or any other number of issues that this model will bring with it. The kind of issues that stand between you playing your games.

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                      January 8, 2014 12:03 PM

                      I honestly don't see how my future where the games are available is shittier than the future where they're not but go ahead and keep telling yourself that. Without the streaming solution, PS3 games wouldn't be on PS4 at all.

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              January 7, 2014 3:14 PM

              Yeah when I think of naive people who don't understand tech I think sony.

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            January 7, 2014 3:41 PM

            Streaming games that need responsiveness 100% of the time doesn't really make sense, you can't "buffer" a game like you can Netflix or Youtube.

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              January 7, 2014 4:24 PM

              Not all games require the kind of responsiveness you're talking about.

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          January 7, 2014 1:15 PM

          for people who care about the difference, they can buy a PS3

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          January 7, 2014 2:13 PM

          No one is forcing you to get this or even like it. Relax.

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          January 7, 2014 3:11 PM

          Really handy that you're not being forced to use the service.

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      January 7, 2014 11:08 AM

      I'd rather subscribe and download the games. If they could figure out how the PS4 with cloud could handle the emulation that would be more impressive.

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        January 7, 2014 11:14 AM

        I'd rather buy the games and just be able to stream them.

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      January 7, 2014 11:23 AM

      All things being equal, I'll always prefer downloading a game to streaming it.

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      January 7, 2014 11:44 AM

      This is quite a killer feature. If you get a PS4, you get access to most older PlayStation games - how awesome would that be.

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        January 7, 2014 12:16 PM

        Particularly if they were to include this subscription into the PS+ subscription. PS+ is already a great value, that would knock it out of the park.

        Also, hopefully this will scare MS into doing something about streaming and backwards compatibility as well. The Games for Gold program has only gotten better since it started, and that is mainly because of the competition from PS+.

    • Ziz legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
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      January 7, 2014 11:48 AM

      Did they announce their VR headset?

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      January 7, 2014 11:59 AM

      When will then be Now? Soon.

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        January 7, 2014 2:15 PM

        V A L V E ' D

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        January 7, 2014 3:00 PM

        Playstation In A Little Bit doesn't sound as cool.

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      January 7, 2014 12:08 PM

      How many decades will it take to scale this outside US & UK?

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      January 7, 2014 1:20 PM

      I'm pretty confident in this working well. Gaikai did the remote play tech in the Vita, and I was really impressed with how well that could work over a random open wi-fi network to play AC4 on our PS4 that was 400 miles away. It's certainly going to lose something in the compression, and there will be some input lag, but I think that most console action games already accomidate fine for that. You're probably not going to be playing Ikaruga over streaming, but for your third person action games or RPGs, it'll suffice just fine.

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        January 8, 2014 6:55 AM

        Ikaruga is the kind of game I would expect to work great with this. It's any game that you play against a human opponent that is going to be impacted.

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      January 7, 2014 2:54 PM

      Will this be in Canada at launch?

      Because Onlive and Gaikai never did become available in Canada.

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