aNewDomain.net — Since Sony bought the online streaming service Gaikai for $380 million dollars 18 months ago, many have wondered and worried about how its investment would pay off. Other endeavors in the field of console streaming, like OnLive, have essentially failed — so how will the game giant’s gamble work?
It’s early 2014 — let’s take a look at what we know.
Chiefly, the new service has been branded PlayStation Now and will initially focus on the PlayStation 3 library of games. No pricing has been announced as yet, but the service is still scheduled for a 2014 launch. Sony has envisioned the service to be compatible with smartphones, tablets and its own TVs — not to mention their prior consoles via a DualShock 3 controller (the native controller for the PS3). The service will also likely require a subscription fee or utilize a rental system per title, but if and how that plan correlates with PlayStation+ subscriptions is still unclear.
Reportedly, the streaming service runs well. Those involved in the beta test have concurred, but, not surprisingly, the experience is greatly affected by available bandwidth and network congestion. Sony claims that a 5 Mbps connection down should suffice for the service, but holds that greater speeds will produce a better experience. Of course these tests are still very limited and contain a very small sample size. What remains to be seen is if PlayStation Now will be able to serve thousands or even millions of users simultaneously in real time.
A major concern, one that plagued OnLive, is content. Sony plans to offer its own first- and second-party titles, but what will prompt third parties to offer any of their recent games in the collection? According to industry watcher and analyst Michael Pachter, the shelf life of third party titles is two years — as viewed by the developer/publisher. This makes a great deal of sense considering that many games sell far past their initial release. Clear examples of this are games like Skyrim, Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto, where new console owners would be directed for a great gaming experience regardless of when they bought the console or when the game came out. Why offer your games to a streaming service when it still has a good potential to sell for retail dollars?
Sony does offer recent games for free in its PlayStation+ service, and if you poll the users of the service (myself included) the majority would tell you it’s a steal. The overwhelming value that PlayStation+ offers is second to none in the console world and it’s amazing that Sony can sway third parties to supply the pipeline with great and recent games (BioShock Infinite and Borderlands 2 come to mind). In fact, it’s such a great service that new users could potentially survive solely on it for fresh games, via the instant game collection, and never spend another cent outside of the subscription fee.
Do you think that Sony can overcome the technical and logistical obstacles ahead? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Demetrius Mandzych.
Based on the Jersey Shore, Demetrius Mandzych is passionate about tech and has worked in game development, programming, graphic design, 3D modeling and photography. Read all Demetrius’ consumer tech articles here on aNewDomain.net. Follow Demetrius on Twitter at @Redestium. On Google+ he’s +Demetrius Mandzych.