PS Now, the cloud gaming service that’ll let users play PS3 and PS2 games on devices other than Sony’s gaming consoles, is coming to Sony Bravia televisions and more on June 30th.
Sony announced the preview release date for PS Now on its televisions earlier today, noting that purchasers of select televisions released this year and 4K displays will be able to play classic PlayStation 3 games without the need for an actual console. That’s great news for Sony television buyers.
Unfortunately, June 30th won’t mark PS Now’s final release on Sony’s displays and televisions. Sony says that’s just when it’ll begin letting users test the service as part of a wider pilot program. It’s not yet clear what noticeable differences there will be between this and the final version of PS Now launching later this year. Sony does note that “PS3 game titles covering a range of genres” will be available to users though the program.
Announced at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this past January, PS Now is really a re-imagining of what gaming can be. PS Now let’s users play games on their own terms, provided they have a decent internet connection. Many Sony television buyers will only need to purchase a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controller to use the game streaming service. Buyers of other televisions will need a small receiver like the PlayStation TV box that Sony said would be launching the United States later this year for $139.99.
Users simply connect to Sony’s PS Now service and play their favorite games. Instead of purchasing games flat-out, Sony seems to be positioning PS Now as a video game rental service. For example, today’s press release mentions that Sony will have more to share about PS Now game rental rates when the service enters its pilot program.
At CES 2014 Sony showed four different games running on PS Now: God of War: Ascension, Puppeteer, Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us.
By getting rid of expensive hardware costs up front, Sony is leap frogging both Microsoft and Nintendo. Playing either of those companies’ games require an expensive hardware purchase up front. So for example, Microsoft only offers casual buyers the Xbox 360. It still costs $199.99. Thankfully, Microsoft began giving Xbox Live subscribers two free games for $9.99 a month.
Gamers and industry insiders are very excited about Sony introducing a new way for users to get their hardcore gaming fix. Of course, excitement is one thing. Whether users are comfortable with merely renting games is another. All of this relies on PS Now actually being usable too. PS Now will require users have a decent internet connection at all times. Without one the experience will definitely take a hit since button presses might take more time to register on Sony’s servers if a user has a bad internet connection. Some users might even need to relocate their television and plug it in directly to their router if their wireless connection isn’t reliable enough.
Today, PS Now is only available to test on the PS4, but when it launches it’ll be available on Sony smartphones and tablets too. PS Now will also come to Sony’s PS Vita handheld gaming console, giving users access to PS3 games when they’re not in front of their television as well. Sony says it’ll make PS Now available on smartphones too, though users will need at least a DualShock 3 controller to play. Sony will also use the service as a way to add backwards compatibility for PS3 games to its PS4 console.