As of May 20, PlayStation users on the PS4 platform can finally register for the beta test of Sony’s new PlayStation Now service. PS Now has been available to PS3 users since January, when the service was announced. Gamers on the more recent platform can now get their chance to sample this new service in preparation for the main launch sometime this summer.
Sony initially announced their new online streaming service at the Consumer Electronics Show CES 2014 in January. They said at that time that the service would be available in the United States for the PS4 and PS3 platforms first, with the PS Vita to follow after that. Sony said that most models of their BRAVIA TV line would also be compatible with PlayStation Now service, and that eventually, service would ultimately be available for all other internet-based devices as well.
This new service was built using cloud-based technologies created by Gaikai, the main competitor to the OnLive service used by Android, Apple iPad tablets, and various other online devices, such as TV, PCs and BluRay players. PlayStation Now would allow users to play a game across multiple platforms, taking a game played at home on a PS3 or PS4, and being able to continue it on the PS Vita outside of the home, in much the same way a person can access movies or music across different platforms. It would also allow users to stream full games to their platform. This would reduce the need to actually purchase the game in-store. Instead, users could log on, access the game remotely, and continue to play it wherever they may be, so long as they had a supported device available.
However, while Sony has been touting this new platform since January as being the next big thing for the PS4, users of that platform have been conspicuously absent from the beta testing process. Initially, only PS3 users had the opportunity to register for beta-testing, and that is reportedly set to expand as well. So the projected launch happening within the next few months, PS4 users finally have their shot at to test the PlayStation Now and see how this new service will work for them.
One highly anticipated aspect of the PlayStation Now is the hope for backward compatibility. With the initial release of the PS3, gamers were unable to play anything for the PS2, which continued to eat up platform and game sales for years after the PS3 hit the market. With games still being released now specifically for the PS3, users of the newer model are hoping that the new online service will give them the ability to access the entire panoply of the PlayStation catalogue. Currently, reports suggest that 19 PS3 games will be available for the PS4.
To get involved, gamers will need to register for beta testing. Once they have done so, should they be selected to take part, they will need a Sony Entertainment Network account and a Dualshock 3 PlayStation controller. A bit of patience may also be needed, as leaks from the PS3 beta test showed a lag in the loading times for some games.
Ultimately, however, current PS4 users will welcome the opportunity to test the PlayStation Now, even if it is just a select few. However, with the US launch of this new service set for sometime this summer, the rest of Sony’s gaming community should not have much longer to wait.
By Bryan A. Jones