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CES 2014 Hands On: PlayStation Now

CES 2014 Hands On: PlayStation Now

Sony unveiled PlayStation Now at this year’s CES and had a little taste of it on the show floor. Here’s what I discovered while giving it a whirl.

In case you have missed the announcement, Sony has announced PlayStation Now as a new video game streaming service coming to the PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and Bravia TVs in the near future. Think of it along the lines of OnLive or the PC game streaming feature from GameFly but aimed at PlayStation games and at Sony products solely. That is the general gist of things but here’s a bit more of a break down for you.

  • The service will offer both rental and subscription plans
  • At launch only PS3 games will be supported at launch and their Key Note mentioned PS1 and PS2 titles, but the PR here has been coy about that.
  • Son is looking to support the PS4, PS3, Vita, and 2014 Sony Bravia TVs
  • Sony is planning on expanding to other platforms in the future
  • It is claimed that the games will stream at 720p resolution (See Below for more)
  • Like PS+ members already get, games can be saved in the cloud
  • Games saved to the cloud can be continued on any of the above devices
  • You should be able to play multiplayer against anyone as usual and not just those of PlayStation Now
  • It has a recommended 5Mbps broadband connection but I am sure higher will be needed for best performance

Now that is out of the way, let me continue on with my experience with the service. Well if you want to call it that…

So first I was hoping to see how the actual service navigated and loaded between titles. God Of War: Ascension was already booted up so I decided to ask how to swap to The Last Of Us just to see how the transition occurred. Just as expected it dropped me out into a PS Store kind of set up after a minute or two of waiting for GoWA to shut down and then selected TLoU. Then more waiting but not as long as the normal wait for the game’s loading screens but that is a different review altogether. After about two minutes of PS Now waiting and three of TLoU I was finally playing the game with the Dual Shock 3 controller hooked into a Bravia TV.

Why is it important to note that? Well I was really hoping to be able to say, “Look at me playing one of my GoTY titles with a PS4 controller with PlayStation Now” like every other news outlet was doing with the PS Vita. But no. I will say that for the most part the experience was the same as loading up the game’s disc in my PS3 but with one major fault; poor resolution.

This is one of the things that killed OnLive for me and I hope this will not be the case for PlayStation Now. I originally enjoyed TLoU on my 6 year old HDTV which still managed to show off the amazing work of Naughty Dog so I figured that this nice and shiny new 2014 HDTV would blow my mind. I might as well have been playing it on a standard definition TV to be honest though. This could have been due to the PlayStation Now still being in beta. It could also be that on the CES show floor there was an under 5Mbps connection. What was visually obvious though was that this could not have been true 720p resolution as promised. This could easily kill this stopgap for backwards compatibility for the PS4.

That’s also right; this isn’t the solution to all of us PS3 disc owners and the Sony reps made sure to emphasize that point. Especially since you get no bonus to having owned the games in physical form before PlayStation Now. Well maybe outside of gaining access to all of the DLC and such, but no one could answer that question for me during my time. Also couldn’t get the answer if Trophies carried over from Disc based to PlayStation Now based gameplay. That could be a great selling point for some of the hunters out there who want to double up on trophies, but it hasn’t been confirmed one way or another.

In the end we still need to realize that this is in beta still and there are details that are still not defined so PlayStation Now could be great for people who can’t afford to physically buy games on disc or digital and don’t have access to any service that can still score them games that have been out for under a month or two. Looking at you Red Box and GameFly. We’ll see though. Also, as I get updates I will bring them to you and hopefully I’ll get some more answers during CES.