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Screaming for Streaming: Sony’s bold vision of the future
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Screaming for Streaming: Sony’s bold vision of the future

Video games have always pushed technology forward (well, video games and the porn industry to be exact, but that’...

Screaming for Streaming: Sony’s bold vision of the future

Video games have always pushed technology forward (well, video games and the porn industry to be exact, but that’s a different topic). And while the move to the cloud has all but finished, one medium has lagged behind due to its scale and ambition. We store our documents and photos in the cloud and we stream our favourite movies in HD from services like Netflix and Amazon...yet we still play our games locally, still install them locally and still store them locally.



Gaikai tried to change all that when it introduced the concept of streaming games - a dedicated server and processor farm that crunches even the most hardware-taxing blockbusters and streams the gameplay directly to your TV and controller. Sony, in a very prudent business move, bought the company and made the technology exclusive to the Playstation ecosystem.


But Sony is no newcomer to streaming. Starting with PS TV, which launched in Japan in November last year, PlayStation enabled streaming of PS3 and PS Vita games and content to all screens in your household. And although PSTV is set to launch on the western market later this year, Sony envisions it as a vessel for a much more ambitious project using Gaikai’s revolutionary technology - PlayStation Now.

 

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PS Now won’t be on the same scale as Gaikai from the onset, though: Sony’s taking it nice and slow. Currently in closed beta, PS Now enables streaming of Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 titles to your PS3, PS4 and PS Vita...and very soon, your Sony Bravia TV. You rent the games on a per-title basis, and nothing is stored locally: every shot, every jump and every button press is streamed to and from your console or TV set. Needless to say that this requires some really fat pipes - bandwidth is still a precious commodity in many underdeveloped countries. Although the feedback from the closed beta has been mixed, Sony assures gamers that a 5Mbps connection is all that’s needed to use PS Now. The proof will be in the pudding once PS Now launches in the US on July 31st.

 

Streaming is poised to change how we consume our content the same way the Cloud changed how we store our data. After Netflix, Amazon and HBO GO, Sony seems to have its finger on the gamers’ collective pulse - and their pockets. By buying video game streaming service Twitch TV in a billion-dollar deal, YouTube already made a point of how big the gaming industry’s about to get. Now it’s Sony’s turn to usher in the new age of media consumption. Let’s just hope our internet connections can handle it.

 

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