Sony announced its newest gaming platform at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday, PlayStation Now, a video game streaming service with no PlayStation required.
PlayStation Now will let subscribers rent and stream games to televisions, tablets and smartphones along with Sony devices like the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and handheld PlayStation Vita. The service is already up and running with a closed beta version launching in the U.S. at the end of January, and the full version set to launch by summer 2014′s end.
CES attendees in Las Vegas got to try out Now early with last year’s Sony PS3 hit “The Last of Us,” but eventual subscribers will have access to a range of titles, according to Sony.
PlayStation Now runs on cloud gaming technology Gaikai, which the Japanese manufacturer purchased in 2012. Using a cloud-based service opens up PlayStation Now’s capability on almost any device, as the actual processing and graphical output of the game is run on outsider severs while sending the video to the user’s device.
The device receives control input from the user and sends it back to the servers, making for a seamless gaming experience without the traditional gaming system hardware. Game progress will be saved and stored in the cloud.
Sony’s new streaming system also addresses backwards compatibility concerns many users have with the PlayStation 4, which doesn’t have the ability to run PlayStation 3 games. By using PlayStation Now on PS4, users will be able to play PS3 games on an otherwise non-backwards compatible system — assuming they want to pay to rent or subscribe.
PlayStation Now will debut on PS4 and PS3, with PS Vita and most of Sony’s 2014 Bravia TV models to follow.