It was always hinted at that games like The Last of Us or God of War would be available to play on the PlayStation 4 in some capacity. A lot of gamers were curious how this would work given that the PS4's architecture is practically the complete opposite of the PS3 and is not capable of backwards compatibility. Well, Sony revealed their backwards compatibility streaming service for the PS4, PS Vita and network enabled mobile devices, and it's called PlayStation Now.
Forbes' Erik Kain does a fine job of explaining how you can basically use a device to access the cloud streaming service and play old Sony titles.
PlayStation Now is built on the Gaikai streaming service and is Sony's first major step into cloud gaming.
Playing older PlayStation titles on your PS4, PS Vita or other internet-compatible device is an awesome thing. However, it raises the most obvious question of all: do I have to re-buy all my old games via this streaming service?
The short answer is: yes.
Kain reached out to Sony for clarification on the matter, and here's what he had to report...
“According to Sony, gamers who own disc or digital-based games will not have access to those games via PS Now free of charge.”
Hmm, see how that real journalism works? If something seems fishy, you ask the company about it.
Anyway, the PlayStation Now service will come in various pay-packages and subscription models. I imagine they'll have a standard monthly fee like Netflix and also offer various kinds of access based on library usage. Cloud streaming is a bandwidth-expensive venture, so I imagine there will always be some kind of perpetual pay-rate involved.
PlayStation's president, Andrew House, also mentioned that the PlayStation Now wouldn't just be limited to the Sony video game library, he commented that...
“Eventually the service will expand beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices, allowing users to stream PlayStation games on numerous other Internet-connected devices,”
That “all-digital future” says 'Hello'.
I'm torn on this, as things like the PlayStation Remix and being able to stream old PlayStation titles in high-definition seems pretty cool, but forfeiting the expenses you put into your existing library to pay more money to access some games you may already own seems like a step backward to me. That's just my opinion, by the way.
We also run into the problem of the longevity of the service. While Sony may have plans to keep PlayStation Now in operation until they go bankrupt, a lot of people will have no idea when that time stamp is. You're essentially paying a subscription fee for something that has a very finite lifespan attached to it. While a lot of Sony fanboys may be on board for this, it seems like something that requires a bit of skepticism going in until more details are unveiled.
Nevertheless, the PlayStation Now beta is set to get underway later this month and there are demonstrations of the streaming service featuring games like The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls. We'll keep you posted on when the PlayStation Now service will be made widely available to the public and in what regions.