Sony has announced PlayStation Now, a cloud-based system that promises to do for home gaming what Netflix did for movie rentals.
Games will be streamed from the company’s servers and will eventually do away with the need for an expensive console under your TV set.
Initially it’ll only be available on Sony’s 2014 smart TVs before rolling out to Sony devices including the just-released PlayStation 4, the last-gen PlayStation 3 and Sony tablets and phones.
The long-term plan is that other non-Sony connected devices will be able to tap into PlayStation Now, in the same way that you can get Netflix, Lovefilm, Now TV and others on a multitude of devices.
Launch titles haven’t been confirmed yet but we can expect some classics from the PlayStation back catalogue which stretches to almost two decades.
Other details such as controller support, game save states and customers profiles haven’t yet been revealed. But if the idea of streaming games like God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us to your TV isn’t interesting enough, then this probably isn’t for you.
Sounds good. So, when is it coming to the UK?
The short answer is, we don’t know yet. Sony has announced that trials of the service will take place in the US this month, with a view to launching a full service by Summer 2014.
As for gamers on the other side of the pond, we’ve got a wait on our hands. In a blog post, SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe)’s Fred Dutton says: “When it comes to broadband provision, Europe is a considerably more complex region [than the US], with a huge number of different providers and varying connection speeds from country to country.
“In short, we need a little more time to ensure a smooth and successful roll-out.”
This echoes previous comments from Sony. SCEE’s president and CEO Jim Ryan, last year described Europe’s broadband situation as a ‘speed bump’.
Gaikai, a company which provides technology for streaming high-end games, was bought by Sony in 2012.
While many countries in Europe such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Estonia enjoy speeds above that of the US average, that’s not the case everywhere. In Italy, superfast broadband is currently available to roughly 20 per cent of the population.
By contrast, 73 per cent of the UK can currently get access superfast broadband, according to the latest figures from Ofcom.
While broadband connectivity continues to improve in the UK, it could be the case they we need to wait for other countries in Europe to catch up before Sony commits to a region-wide launch of PlayStation Now.