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SpielerDad avatar 7:58 PM on 01.11.2014  (server time)
The Future is Now, Playstation Now

Sonyís marketing plan seemed pretty simple with the launch of PS4. Announce powerful new hardware. Keep mouth shut. Let competition stick foot in mouth. Contradict competition. Win the next-gen before it even starts.

Pretty slick plan as far as Iím concerned. As someone who gets to watch marketers ruin iconic brands everyday, Sony did something very smart. They muzzled their marketers before they said or did something dumb. Sony didnít have to do much to garner favor with gamers, Microsoft and Nintendo served it up to them on a silver platter.

You're welcome.

Even then, I was curious if Sony had anything up their sleeves, a dagger, if you will, to give the final deathblow. I really couldnít blame them if they decided to rest on their laurels at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised when they announced Playstation Now at CES.

It was inevitable that Sony was going to announce at some point what the fruits of †labor were from the acquisition of Gakai. I, and Iím assuming many others did not realize how impressive those fruits would be.

Simply put, Sony will be providing their back catalog of PS3 and eventually PS2 and possibly PS1 titles on a myriad of Sony connected devices. The heavy computational lifting will be done remotely on servers and streamed to the PS4, PS Vita, as well as smart TVs. Reaction coming out of CES from folks who had the opportunity to try out the service was well received. It looks like Sony may have a hit on their hands, but I do have my concerns.

People who tried out the service at CES said that the graphics were very impressive, if not a little ďwashed outĒ. Perfectly understandable given the nature of the service, but as someone who has been programmed as a gamer for the past 30 plus years, graphical fidelity is important to me.† If I had to choose between a disc or downloaded based God of War and a streamed version of it, with slightly degraded graphics, I would lean towards the disc/download version. Now, heavily discount it, or give it to me for free where I pay a subscription fee, and I may reconsider.

Another point of concern is lag. Those at CES said that they could not see any perceptible lag, but they werenít playing anything that I would call fast twitch. Itís my understanding that they were testing out The Last of Us and God of War. Itís also safe to say that Sony had a nice high bandwidth fat pipe (teehee) connection going over to their booth, ensuring optimal conditions.

A few milliseconds of lag may not be a big deal for many games, but what about multiplayer and shooters where a few milliseconds could mean a missed hit. Now thatís a big deal as far as Iím concerned.

Mouth breathing nerd ragers, ASSEMBLE!

My last concern, and this may be a complete non-issue given the circumstances, is Sonyís track record with their online services. The PS3 is a great console, but PSN was pretty abysmal. I cringed when I would get a message telling me there was a software update, which occurred all the time. Not only were there constant updates, but they also took a long time to download and a long time to install. I also had multiple instances where updates bricked my machine. It got to the point where I stopped updating unless is was absolutely necessary.†

Suffice it to say, this was never an issue with my Xbox 306 and Xbox Live. There is a difference however in this case. Gakai is doing the heavy lifting on this, and Sony is just footing the bill. Not a bad setup if you can get it.

All in all, Iím excited about Playstation Now. I truly believe that this may be a small step towards how the future of gaming may look.† I look forward to the possibility of not having to buy expensive hardware, and having the games out in the ďcloudĒ where they can be streamed into my living room. Who knows, perhaps this will be the last generation of consoles as we know it. If not, the click is now ticking.

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