PlayStation Now has been in open beta for Sony consoles and televisions for quite a while now, but when it was first announced it was suggested that we'd see the service on plenty of other devices as well. In 2015, we're going to start seeing the service being its full rollout.
Sony announced that the service will be made available on Samsung Smart TVs in the first half of 2015. Users will be able to download it as an app from the Samsung Smart Hub, but will need to have a PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller to be able to play any games.
PlayStation Now offers users the chance to stream PlayStation 3 games for a rental fee, with plans to expand its library to include other PlayStation consoles further down the line, as well as offering subscriptions in addition to one-off rentals. It's a clear attempt at a Netflix-like model, and it's easy to see how that's an appealing concept for Sony, given the popularity that Netflix has accrued in recent years.
However, PlayStation Now has had something of a rocky road to travel over the course of 2014. In the wake of its first beta release, industry analyst Michael Pachter labelled the service a 'joke'. While the idea for the service might seem ideal for gamers, the reality saw many recent third party titles omitted for fears of a negative impact on sales, not to mention pricing being a contentious issue.
That being said, PlayStation Now could still be able to reach new audiences previously inaccessible to Sony. Buying a console to have access to these games is an irrefutable barrier to entry for some — simply having them available to rent via an app readily available on your television set might be just what's needed to broaden the scope of who the gaming audience is.
It also has to be said that it's a rather impressive advance for anyone who remembers renting video games in years gone by; the thought of having access to a wide library of titles that are available instantly — without even having a console to play them on, no less — is quite amazing.
And, if it's a success, Sony won't be the only ones to offer something of this ilk. While Microsoft was initially cold on the idea of game streaming, calling it 'problematic', technology outlet ZDNet reported earlier this month that the company's 'Arcadia' team are hard at work producing a similar service for Xbox games. And given the Xbox functionality built into Windows 10 - that would be a smart way for Microsoft to bridge the gap and get serious again about gaming on PC. They keep saying they are, after all.
Streaming will be an integral part of an all-digital future — and it might well be on track to hit the mainstream sooner that expected.
Playstation Now is currently in Open Beta for the United States and Canada, and is accessible on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation TV, PlayStation Vita and select Sony television sets. An international release and support for Samsung Smart TVs and other devices is scheduled to arrive in 2015.
Source: Game Informer