When we compiled our list of missing features from Sony’s next-gen console, we didn’t even bother mentioning the lack of backwards compatibility. Gamers have known for quite a while that both the PS4 and Xbox One would launch without any features that allowed us to play PS3 or Xbox 360 games, so we had all come to accept that reality and move on. However, now that Sony has announced the PlayStation Now service (previously known as Gaikai), excitement for the upcoming feature is starting to grow.
Now that the service has been demoed at CES 2014, potential subscribers have a better idea about PlayStation Now’s internet requirements and what the service’s interface will look like. This week, Sony is releasing a few more details that are likely to pique the interest of the more tech-savvy PS4 owners out there.
In an attempt to ensure that PlayStation Now delivers a console-like experience (and not a lag-filled mess), the company has created brand new PS3-powered hardware to power the service.
According to sources at Eurogamer, the new custom-designed hardware will feature eight console units built into a single server rack. That’s a serious amout of power to live on one motherboard. The server farms supporting the PlayStation Now service will be populated with racks full of this new hardware.
There’s no doubt that in order for the service to succeed, players will have to be able to experience a lag-free experience while streaming system-intensive games like The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls and God of War. The power of eight PS3s certainly sounds like a solid foundation to reaching that virtually lag-free goal.
Before creating the new hardware, Sony had experimented with placing retail PS3 units in its data centers. The initial tests made it clear that this method would demand far too much space and power, so the company produced the 8-in-1 prototype instead.
If Sony’s cloud-driven streaming service delivers a quality experience, it will likely be one of the most exciting developments in the video game industry this year. With many gamers currently cluttering their entertainment centers with three or four consoles, it would be a major selling point if Sony could offer a high-quality previous-gen experience on the PS4 and other devices.
Do you think PlayStation Now subscribers will be able to count on a lag-free experience or is it too early to say? Sound off in the comments.
PlayStation Now is aiming for a summer 2014 launch.
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