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Sony exec details PlayStation Now cloud gaming service

By John Gaudiosi

Video Game Reviews

5:30 PM EST, January 22, 2014

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Sony used CES 2014 to unveil just what it's been working on since acquiring Gaikai for $380 last year. PlayStation Now, which will launch later this year, will allow gamers to play a large library of past PlayStation console games without needing a console. Jack Buser, senior director of PlayStation Digital Platforms, explains how the new cloud gaming technology works in this exclusive interview.

What's happened with Gaikai since being acquired by Sony?

Now, we're all part of one big happy Sony family, part of the PlayStation family, in fact. We've just announced today PlayStation Now, which allows you to stream a wide variety of PlayStation 3 games to connected devices. We've announced it will be supported on PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, PlayStation Vita, as well as 2014 Bravia TVs. In the future you can imagine that this service would be supported on consumer electronics devices from other companies like connected TVs, smartphones and tablets. With such a wide variety of PlayStation 3 games, this is just such a fantastic way to play your titles. We have a demo here running on an Internet-connected TV. There's no game console. Just connect to the cloud and you're streaming your games right to the TV.

When it comes to the games, do you guys have a library or number of titles that will be available at launch?

We've announced that the service will launch this summer but we haven't said anything specific about the games themselves, other than that there will be just a vast library of titles from PlayStation 3.

The plan moving forward, though, would be to also incorporate older titles as well from earlier PlayStation devices, right?

Well, you can imagine that PlayStation has a rich variety of titles across a number of platforms. Our heritage is amazing. So we've just announced PlayStation 3 games, but you can imagine who knows some day in the future.

What role do you feel that streaming will play, especially since the PS4 is not backwards-compatible for people that have a library of PS3 games?

We've announced a couple of different models that Playstation Now will support. It will be a subscription model as well as a rental model. And it will be supported on PlayStation 4. So if you would want to rent a Playstation 3 game on your PS4, you could do that using the service. PlayStation Now is amazing because it's a cloud-based streaming service, so it's not just limited to game consoles. If you bought an Internet-connected TV with the service you could be playing games on it.

When it comes to PlayStation Now, will it go beyond games to include entertainment?

Today we've announced just games. We're going to start with PlayStation 3 games and who knows where we'll go from there.

Can you explain how the technology works?

This is game streaming. Essentially what we have is a cloud-based infrastructure. That's where the games live, and they're streaming down to your local device and you have a controller on your Internet-connected TV or on your game console, or someday in the future maybe a tablet or a smartphone, and you're interacting with the cloud. There's no game console here. So the game is streaming down the way you would stream a movie, except you're actually playing it. It's amazing technology. Playing is believing, as we say. It's like you're playing a local copy of the game.

Can you talk a little bit about the background because Gaikai went around setting up data centers around the world to combat latency issues for gaming?

This system was built for playing games and obviously that means that latency cannot be an issue. What's wonderful about Playstation Now is you can play multiplayer games against people on the cloud as well as people who own disc-based copies of the game. We've designed this system for gamers to play games.

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