PlayStation Now will stream PS3 games to Android tablets and smartphones in the future

by: Chris SmithJanuary 7, 2014

playstation-now-ces-2014-1 The Verge

Sony at CES 2014 unveiled a new PlayStation-related service, one that many users may enjoy in the future, without actually having to purchase a PlayStation console.

Dubbed PlayStation Now, the service will rely on Gaikai cloud gaming technology to stream PS3 games to a variety of devices including Sony’s PS4, PS3, PlayStation Vita and 2014 Bravia TV sets but also to non-Sony devices and, most importantly, to smartphones and tablets.

Since games will actually run in the cloud, users will only require a decent mobile connection to play supported titles on Android devices, and Sony will probably offer an even better experience to flagship smartphones and tablets that are getting more and more powerful in terms of internal components.

However, the service will launch in beta in the U.S. at first – at the end of January – and will be limited to consoles and Sony TVs. Sony plans to roll out the service by the end of the summer, at which point U.S. gamers will be able to rent or subscribe to the service, which will offer cloud game saves as well as online multiplayer support, trophies and messages.

It’s not clear when PlayStaton Now will launch in Europe, where Sony says it has to work with multiple Internet service providers to ensure a decent service for the end-user. Also, it’s not clear when tablets and smartphones will get access to it, but we certainly expect it to happen in the near future, starting with Xperia top-shelf devices.

In the video above, you can check out The Verge’s hands-on preview of the PlayStation Now service, which shows that game play is rather decent on a Bravia TV set that’s connected to the Internet, and we can only assume that it’ll get even better in time.

  • Jayfeather787

    Awesome article. Hopes this comes soon. My friends would love this, and would have another reason why Android is the best. Also small typo in 2nd paragraph at the end where is says “… to smartphones and tablet…” Should it be tablets?

  • Joshua Hill

    Why would you announce streaming of PS3 games now when Nvidia have announced the K1 which will be powerful to render PS3 titles??? No need for streaming!

    • Joshua Hill

      To the downvoter, I hope you enjoy streaming games which you never own and one day the owner decides you can no longer play the game you thought you’d payed for. Streaming is for suckers!

      • Tjaldid

        a 50GB game???

        • Joshua Hill

          I’m not sure what you mean. More explanation please?

          • Tjaldid

            Some of the games are HUUUUUGE in file size

          • Joshua Hill

            Some PS3 versions are ‘HUUUUUGE in file size’. That doesn’t mean Android ports of those titles will be 50GB.

          • sergioosh

            They have to be if you want to preserve the quality. If you don’t preserve the quality, then what’s the point in having powerful hardware?

          • Joshua Hill

            The Android version of GTA: San Andreas is approx. 2.4GB, The Android version includes higher res textures and so better quality. The PC version was approx. 3.6GB and a PS3 port of the PS2 version was 4.2GB.

            Can you explain why ‘They have to be if you want to preserve the quality’ because that doesn’t correspond to my experience or the example I just stated?

          • Tjaldid

            it was made for PS2 in 480P this is 720P with allot more detail and character animations

          • Joshua Hill

            And what res was the ps3 port or the pc version?

          • sergioosh

            Increasing resolution does not mean bigger textures. If you strip game from textures, movies and all sounds you’ll reduce it’s size few times. Even models do not take up as much data as textures.

          • sergioosh

            Sure, it’s a good example, but it doesn’t make it right all round. Still, from what I’ve heard their main focus was on updating models and adding effects, not including better textures. Also, they could’ve used better compression algorithms to all content. I know it’s all speculation, but you also cannot prove they did use better quality textures unless you extract the data and compare it side by side. Moreover, 2.4GB is a lot of data for a mobile device. Take new Nexus 7. Having 16GB would mean sacrificing almost fourth of whole storage space (not all 16GB is available to user). And that’s only one game… and we’re talking about PS3 games, right?

          • crackinthewall

            Android phones have 1080p display now, some PS3 games are not even using the full 720p resolution available and they’re still huge.

          • guest

            the memory is gonna be a issue but now sandisk also released a 128gb memory card

      • sergioosh

        I beg to differ. Streaming and virtualisation are more popular than ever and still grow. Look at tablets… they don’t have much storage space, because a lot of the content is streamed.

        • Joshua Hill

          Different content, you’re talking about music or video streaming, not game streaming.

          • sergioosh

            Content is content. How is that different? If they claim they can keep input lag to a minimum and have comparable quality to games rendering directly on device, then what’s the problem? If there’s a possibility to play games you like on your mobile device I don’t see a reason why should you complain. Companies will choose either way and it’s not up to you to decide. If they release something what you like and you wish to consume that good and willing to pay the price it shouldn’t matter how will it work as long as it works. Read license agreement before purchase and then decide if you want to pay for it or not. Nobody forces you to buy anything.

          • Joshua Hill

            You’re trying to make a case for the increased popularity of music and to a lesser extent video streaming correlating to what will happen with game streaming with absolutely no analysis of how the two models are similar or analysis that trends in one will be similar in the other.

            Where did I complain?

            Where did I try and decide for companies?

          • sergioosh

            Video streaming to a lesser extent than music? Are you sure? What
            about Youtube? From what I see in my surroundings people tend to keep
            music on their devices like ipods (purchasing them and transferring to
            device is NOT streaming), but they tend to watch videos directly on
            Youtube and other portals. Yes, I’m trying to make a case for increasing popularity of streaming content to games. What’s wrong with that? Sure, there are more issues with that than video and music streaming, but it’s not impossible to overcome them. Game streaming has a long way to go and also most probably won’t replace games rendered directly on device similar to how Youtube did not replace TV.

            I do not know what you think. What I write is based on your posts, and so far you seem to prefer producers to port the games and render them directly on a mobile device instead of streaming. I’m not saying you’re complaining or trying to decide anything for anybody. What I wrote is that if someone offers you content, which you would like to purchase and it’s available on the platform you want it on, is the first thing you do is to say “why can’t you do it the other way?” ?

    • sergioosh

      You’re forgetting it’s different hardware. PS3 is PowerPC, while Tegra K1 is still ARM.

      • Joshua Hill

        No, I wasn’t forgetting that. What makes you think I was?

        • sergioosh

          You made it sound as if power was the only reason PS3 games are not released on mobile devices.

          • Joshua Hill

            Assuming you want to port an existing title to a different platform with similar quality then making sure the hardware is roughly equivalent or greater is obvious. So once again I repeat my question.

          • sergioosh

            Hardware being equivalent doesn’t make porting easier and (what’s more important) profitable. Assuming there’s an easier (cheaper) way to make some content available on different platform why would you bother porting? It’s easier to protect against piracy with streamed content too. Until PS4 and Xbox ONE, consoles were technically very different devices to PCs. Porting games is not that easy, and depending on many factors can even be challenging. Of course it can be the other way around (like for example games based on Source)
            Also, you should notice that the capabilities of K1 were only presented on Unreal4 engine. It most probably was optimised for K1, so that doesn’t mean you can get similar performance in other 3D games/apps.

          • Joshua Hill

            Completely agree. Unfortunately none of that supports you’re statement that I was forgetting about the ‘different hardware’.

          • sergioosh

            I thought you meant your first question, i.e. “Why would you announce streaming…”
            I already replied to your second question. When you asked about why would you stream instead of rendering directly on a device when it’s powerful enough to do it you made it sound as if power was the only reason why should you choose one over the other. That’s why I pointed out they are different platforms, which complicates it further.

          • Joshua Hill

            You didn’t point out that they are different platforms exclusively. You did so by accusing me of forgetting that.

            So far you have provided no support to your accusation of my forgetfulness. Hopefully your initial response was just a poorly chosen choice of words.

          • sergioosh

            Well excuse me sir for hurting your pride, but I’d like to point it’s a figure of speech. If all you saw within my post was me accusing you of forgetting anything, then you totally missed the point I tried to convey.
            I beg your forgiveness and I promise to be as literal as possible from now on to avoid any misunderstandings.

          • Cole Raney

            Do you think every game developer of every PS3 is going to port it? That takes time and money. Plus, very few devices will have the tegra k1 for a while. That means almost all developers (probably all developers) won’t feel it is worth the time and money. You can forget about emulating them for quite a while. I’m not sure phones can even emulate PS2. Meanwhile, ALL smart phones have the ability to stream, making this issue less complicated, and actually feasible.

    • Aestivalis

      I also dislike game streaming, because internet on my country is still slow as hell.

      However, I never think a PS3 title can be ported to Android without sacrificing quality. In general, content will need to be reduced because of storage issue.

      Take a look at PS2 & PSP, many people considered both have equal horsepower. Lot of PS2 games have been ported to PSP in past. Some are identical (ex: Tekken 5, Way of Samurai), some have reduced content/less video/less voice acting (ex: Persona 3, Ys Naphistim), while others have more feature in PSP version (ex: Disgaea).

      On ps2 & psp, storage difference is not much an issue, dvd 4.3gb vs umd 1.8gb. Even small, developer already have lot of headache when porting to psp. See Persona 3 developer story about porting to psp couple years back.

      While on ps3 case , we’re talking about bluray 25-50gb, vs internal storage capacity on most android phone (8gb if you have no sdcard, 32gb in mid-end with sdcard, 64gb on flagship phone). I’m sure developer will have 10x more headache to port ps3 title to android.

      Other issue is the game engine. If game company use multi-platform game engine like Unreal or Unity, porting to other platform should be a breeze. However if company use in-house game engine, it will be extremely difficult to port, even between 2 machine that have equal horsepower (like ps3 & x360).

      Believe me, porting program between different hardware architecture is a nightmare, even for skilled programmer/ software engineer.

    • Christian Koch

      are you that simple minded? Just because enough hardware power is available, does never mean that it will be used. Modern PCs could probably render almost every console-game, but still, they are not ported.

      Why is that? Because the game developers do not want to port it. They simply think it is too expensive. Hardware power is only a secondary constraint.

      Plus, I wonder, even if they port the games: Most PS3 titles are way too big. The average PS3 game would take around 20GB (I would guess more, but anyway) and even if you optimise it to half the size (which is very hopeful thinking) there are still 10GB, way too big for most android devices. How are they supposed to solve that?

      And ultimately, Sony wants to make the PS4 more attractive, selling independent ports does not make sense for that…

  • John Doe

    This is Awesome News! and will add to PS4’s game list even tho they must be streamed games! Take that Xbox One .. lol

  • raj

    SONY has clearly upped the ante

    Their mobile division is finally doing good, with their waterproofing and dust proofing and followed by contemporaries(read as Galaxy S4 Active)

    Their wearable devices have been noticed and followed by contemporaries (read as Galaxy Gear)

    Their camera modules are used in most of the devices in the market today like iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, Oppo N1 etc

    Their Xperia Z1 Compact is on the way to turn the fate of Mini versions and establish that “Mini” doesn’t mean “Stripped down versions of the Original flagship”

    Their Lens only NFC enabled camera’s are a thing to look forward to

    Their Xperia Z Ultra has caught the imaginations of people and manufacturers are not afraid to cross the 6″ category screen size

    Combining all their services into a One Sony strategy, clearly has paid off

    Looking forward to more cool and clean devices and ideas from Sony!!

    • sergioosh

      by “Lens only NFC enabled cameras” you mean Sony QX10 and QX100? They’re already on sale. I’ve seen one in retail store in December..

      • raj

        Edited to make my point clear ;-)

  • Juxxize

    looks good but if you already own the PS3 game you wish to stream will you have to buy it again to stream it ? because if so that’s abit cheeky.

    • If you have the PS3 game then you should still have the PS3. Why would you need streaming?

      Here’s hoping you haven’t sold the PS3 yet.

  • asd

    This is extremely useful for people like me who did not own any last game console

  • Michael Duclos

    Way for fools to muddy the waters. I recently subscribed to PS Now. It works great. Video quality is top notch on both PS4 and Vita. Lag is only rarely noticeable but still very playable during those rare brief moments. You are not buying the games. You pay roughly $15 a month for an evolving catalog of games, with an option to rent most games outside said catalog. It is more like a flat fee rental service for games instead of video with the YouTube premium channel model bolted on for additional content. That being said, on the technical side, it will be able to be used on integrated hardware like TVs without adding expensive computer hardware inside. Said hardware can be brought to next generation games as Sony upgrades their end, without need for device upgrades. I find it a wonderful option for my ps4 and Vita without need to have additional clutter. I have already found some gems I probably would have never bothered to rent, much less buy, that I used my unlimited instant access and clicked on out of boredom and ended up really liking. Such services definitely have a place. Ownership isn’t one of them. That is for boxed games.

  • tom

    best 9 dollars a month I’ve paid .