One of the biggest issues with the PlayStation 4 is its lack of backwards compatibility. By this summer, that's all going to change.
Sony announced PlayStation Now on Monday, a game-streaming service that will allow “classic” PlayStation titles to be played on current hardware. The new service will use Gaikai, a streaming company that Sony purchased and pushed as a core element of the PS4 experience.
The PS4 and PlayStation Vita won’t be the only consoles to use PlayStation Now. Smartphones, tablets and televisions will also be able to use the service.
PlayStation Now will be a subscription-based service, but no pricing has been announced, and it hasn’t been said whether or not it could tie into PlayStation Plus subscriptions. Players can choose to not subscribe and rent games instead.
The new service is expected to be rolled out sometime this summer, with a beta phase rolling out sometime in the coming weeks.
PlayStation Now seems like the real deal. Backwards compatibility is huge in the industry, especially with games like “Grand Theft Auto V” and “The Last of Us” still standing tall from the last generation. Plus, it’ll give me a good reason to toss the old PS3 up on Amazon for a quick couple of bucks.
Nevertheless, I’m keeping my hopes grounded for now. The service looks to focus solely on PS3 games right now, which is a great move to keep the previous generation relevant.
“Classic” games, as they put it, means more than that to me. I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect PSOne and PlayStation 2 games to make an appearance, and I’m sure they will. It’s a matter of timing.
One of the main reasons I bought a Wii years ago was due to the Virtual Console. The ability to play old school games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo (SNES) with the Virtual Console made it unique from the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now, the Virtual Console is lucky to see an update with games that are worth buying.
I hope PlayStation Now doesn’t fall into this same trap. I’m sure it has to do with licensing on Nintendo’s part, and I’d be interested to see if those same issues could plague Sony to some degree. Sony can’t limit itself to what it puts on the service, and it needs to listen to what gamers want.
The price will also be a huge factor for me. Given the unique nature of the service, I’d be willing to shell out another $60 a year for it on top of my PlayStation Plus subscription. That is, of course, if there are enough games available for the price of admission.