PlayStation 4 may stream games over the Internet, report claims

By on February 18, 2013, 2:00 PM

With the Wii U already on shelves and Microsoft's next-gen console imminent, Sony will be looking to set its PlayStation 4 apart from the competition. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, one such feature may be the inclusion of games streamed in real-time over the Internet.

In 2012, Sony acquired Gaikai for $380 million, a company who's claim to fame is streaming graphically-intense games from the cloud.  "Our technology is such that we can stream the world's most graphically rich video games and other content instantly to almost any device, anywhere," Gaikai claims. The PlayStation-maker may be leveraging Gaikai's game-streaming technologies for its own use in console gaming.

Cloud-based gaming brings a number of potential benefits to PlayStation 4 owners, although what we'll actually see remains unknown. Sony is expected to announce more details about its plans for streaming (amongst other things) this Wednesday.

The PS4's backwards compatibility with PS3 titles despite its anticipated architectural overhaul is just one possible example of the benefits of streaming. Other potential advantages include persistent game worlds, persistent progress saves, platform independence by way of virtualization (playing high-end games on any type of low-end hardware -- PS4 games on the PS3?) and on-demand-style gaming for ultimate convenience. Additionally, Sony and other game makers will likely be pleased by the natural anti-piracy effect which accompanies hosting protected content remotely.

Despite its perks, streaming also brings with it a few conceivable perils for gamers. With the disappearance of physical discs, gamers will also see the evanescence of both used games and local game rentals. By extension, borrowing, swapping and selling games may become tougher, if not impossible. Of course, any form of Internet dependency also comes with its own set of obvious drawbacks, not the least of which are availability and down times -- some people simply don't have access to quality connections or even broadband at all.

If all of this "cloud" talk makes you nervous, it's important to note that it won't all be streaming though -- Sony is still expected to incorporate a physical media drive into its next-gen console.




User Comments: 17

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Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Awesome if I don't have to:

1) Buy games I already own

2) Be a PlayStation plus member to use

Guest said:

The reverse engineering will never goes out of fashion

unable to boot from USB?

lets see what can we do...

(preinstalled with OS games are coming in 1, 2, 3, ...)

Meldarion1 Meldarion1 said:

Awesome if I don't have to:

1) Buy games I already own

2) Be a PlayStation plus member to use

Well what would you expect do think they were going to spend money on something just to allow you to stream games for free. If they require a PS+ subscription to stream games that would be great considering the advantages PS+ offers. And it obvious it will need sometime of subscription to stream games looks at netflix and other movie streaming sites and similar services like onlinve they require a subscription fee so GaiKai won't be an exception and it is a justifiable subscription if you think you need to stream games.

I would only be disappointed if they would make subscription obligatory for everyone if people who are interested in playng PS4 games online only

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Data Cap.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Another reason I game on PC online, no subscriptions, no hassle just hit the icon and play. The Ps is only good for media such as blu ray. Games, meh.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Aren't there still games that require subscriptions to play online on pc?

More people use wii's for media than ps3 anyway. Media may be what you would want to use it for but there are more games being purchased for consoles than pc. Probably always has been.

Guest said:

The PS4 MAY have legs too, well so I hear

DKRON said:

What if you only have like 20GB downloads, like use it up streaming a game in 10 mintutes

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I hope this is not the main feature of PS4...

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Interesting that they are looking at it... would be much better received if you could cache the stream as well...

1 person liked this | Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

It wont work. Period. I dont care what Gaikai 'claims' they can do. The average household internet is NOT fast enough to stream an entire game.

Download and Cache a game to play later. Definitely possible .. if you want to wait an entire day to download it.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I wish they would make it backwards compatible, If anything happens to my PS3 and they've stopped manufacturing it, in order to play any of the many PS3 games I have and cherish I'm guessing I'd have to re-buy them on PSN to play them on the PS4. I'm already afraid my PS2 is going to die. They should at least give you a code or something with your games so you can get a digital copy, make it unique to the disc, one time only use. At least with Streaming I hope they let you stream titles you own for free, not sure ill be able to benefit from that though with my Internet connection

Tygerstrike said:

Its all about business ppl. No matter what you as the consumer may demand, they will do what is best for their profit margin. PERIOD! The PS4 will probably allow for PS3 games to be played. The PS2 games will more then likely have to be purchased as a digital copy that would be stored on your system. Streaming ANYTHING is going to cost somewhere. Media is its own issue, games prolly wont stream well due to the random nature of player decisions in game. Besides all that, I expect to be able to pick up a PS3 as I dodged it when it came out due to its high price point.

rgreen said:

It wont work. Period. I dont care what Gaikai 'claims' they can do. The average household internet is NOT fast enough to stream an entire game.

Download and Cache a game to play later. Definitely possible .. if you want to wait an entire day to download it.

Streaming games has been "working" for a couple years now. The average household internet is plenty fast enough as long as the connection is stable.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Streaming games has been "working" for a couple years now. The average household internet is plenty fast enough as long as the connection is stable.

What sort of games are you referring to though?

Guest said:

Services such as onlive and gaikai have been around for a while. Basically, they work by having the software run on servers in a datacenter somewhere instead of locally on your console/PC/other terminal.

Then the image from the game is streamed from the datacenter to the client application on your PC (or other platform). So what your computer is doing is just taking your input data (mouse, keyboard, controller), sending it to the server and then receiving the output (image and sound from the game) back. The only thing you need to play is a subscription (most often, some services have differentiated pricing with a free selection, subscribers selection and then charge extra for AAA titles) and a platform capable of running the client program as well as a stable internet connection.

The good thing is that as long as your internet connection is stable enough, you can play modern games at high settings on "crappy" computers since the server in the service's datacenter is doing all the heavy lifting. The bad thing is you can't play without an internet connection, you have no access to the game files for copying saves or modding the game (where such is possible) and you are completely dependent on the functionality of the service to play your games.

In my opinion, the more ways are available to play games, the better. Some people (myself included) like building computer powerhouses to play games on a regular basis, some people just play games casually on facebook, some people want to play console games because of the simplicity (no installation, just turn on the tv and play) and some people want a mix of everything in between. Streaming games is a very good thing for people who don't want to invest a crapload of money in computers or consoles but still want to play some AAA titles now and then.

rgreen said:

What sort of games are you referring to though?

Gaikai had a bunch of different demos for popular PC games, even a couple MMORPGs. You could check out OnLive and demo most games they offer for free.

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