At CES 2014 yesterday, Sony announced its brand new streaming service called PlayStation Now which will allow consumers to play a back catalogue of PlayStation titles on a variety of devices. Across the web there were many incorrect reports that the arrival of PlayStation Now later this year means that the PS4 is now backwards compatible with PS3 games.
Just to clarify: PlayStation Now does NOT make the PS4 backwards compatible with last-gen titles. During an interview with IGN where John Koller, VP of of Marketing for SCEA, stressed that PlayStation Now is actually an alternative to backwards compatibility.
“For a PS4 consumer, someone who has just bought a PS4, there’s been a lot of talk about no PS3 backwards compatibility”, said Koller. “This is not the answer to backwards compatibility but it does allow you to have the engagement with a great line-up of titles that maybe you didn’t get to experience on PS3”.
PlayStation Now will actually be a subscription-based service allowing users to stream specifically-chosen PlayStation games on numerous devices, including PS3, Vita, Bravia TVs and certain smartphones. Users will also be able to rent games seperately.
Sony has also recommended a 5MBPS+ connection for PlayStation Now to ensure low latency levels when it launches first in North America this summer.
“In our internal tests, users with this bandwidth or greater have been enjoying a low latency, high-quality gaming experience. PS Now tests your connection of each game and optimizes for quality if you are above the minimum requirements. We strive to make the gameplay experience feel as if the game is being played locally on their device – fast and responsive (including for FPS and games with twitch mechanics). The Closed Beta will definitely provide a great opportunity to test the experience with gamers with varying connection speeds and our developers will, of course, be working diligently to optimize the service based upon the feedback we receive from the community,” said Sony’s Matt Harper via the PlayStation Blog.
PlayStation Now will go into closed beta at the end of January and is expected to be released in North America in the summer and then slowly rolled out worldwide.