As the Sony conference on February 20th is approaching, more and more “confirmed rumors” are pouring in on many websites. Today the Wall Street Journal announces that they got confirmation from “people familiar with Sony’s plan” that the PS4 will embed technology allowing it to stream PS3 games.
I say “duh”. Anybody who’s followed the gaming industry for the past couple years knows that this is happening. Was anybody in the gaming industry expecting that Sony bought Gaikai last year for nothing? Any gamer who’s tried Gaikai’s competitor service Onlive knows that the technology is very close to be ready. And by “ready”, I mean “mainstream” ready. Technically, Onlive already works, and the only thing it was probably missing so far was a better business plan and maybe exclusive contents, which led to its restructuring a few months ago.
I’ve seen Onlive work flawlessly on a tablet connected through Wifi, and on a phone on the LTE network here in Tokyo. Sure, Street Fighter IV players will not necessary like the minor added latency, but I have no doubt that this is where gaming is headed, and that Sony already has good plans to improve a system that already shown it is operational. I am also sure that Microsoft, and, who knows, maybe Valve, Google, Apple also have plans around this.
Streaming games tomorrow sounds as natural to me as using Netflix or Amazon Instant video to watch movies today. This is why I am not surprised at all when WSJ says the PS4 will be able to stream PS3 games. I could have written the same thing myself 6 months ago.
The real interesting question here is not “will this happen?”, but “how much will it cost?”. Will it be an “all you can play” service like Netflix (or, to some extent, Playstation Plus), or a traditional “you buy the content, but it is hosted on our platform” scheme?
Most likely, details about this service will be announced on the 20th, let’s wait and see.