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PlayStation (Games) Cloud Sony Games

Sony Announces Game Streaming Service 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-everything-can-run-crysis dept.
You may remember Gaikai, a company built on the idea of cloud-based gaming. The idea was that a remote server would run the game and stream all graphics and sound to a player's device, which would allow underpowered or obsolete machines to run modern, graphically demanding games on high settings. In 2012, Sony purchased Gaikai. Now, they've announced at CES that their cloud gaming tech (dubbed 'PlayStation Now') is just about ready for the public. CES attendees will be able to try it out, and Sony will begin a closed beta test in the U.S. later this month. Full release is planned for summer. It will first support streaming to PS3s, PS4s, and certain Sony TV models. Later, it will expand more broadly to various non-Sony "internet-connected devices." Players will have the option to rent games or to subscribe for continued access. Forbes reports, "According to Sony, gamers who own disc- or digital-based games will not have access to those games via PS Now free of charge."
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Sony Announces Game Streaming Service

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:15PM (#45893341) Homepage Journal

    "Always play the most updated version of your game." Remove version control from my hands and I'm not sure I'll be happy with that. I've played a few games where the next version was, IMHO, inferior in some aspect I valued.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      In all the honesty, steam largely removes version control from you as well, and few are complaining in the long run.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Some complain though. Steam has screwed stuff up in the past, with loud outcries from players of a game suddenly discovering new bugs or limitations. I always make sure to disable auto-update of games so that updating is in my control. I think the last official update for Fallout New Vegas added a major bug which is only fixed through unofficial mods (the overpowered legion assassins).

        Then there's some weird stuff, game makers doing the equivalent of "director's cut" by changing content after the fact.

    • Especially given Sony's record.

  • by lesincompetent (2836253) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:16PM (#45893355)
    Don't you just love the constant creeping neofeudalism everywhere?
  • who trusts them?
  • The ultimate goal: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:25PM (#45893425) Homepage

    "Pay per shot".

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      "Pay per shot".

      Sony will team up with the NSA and they'll be watching how you shoot and what you shot.

    • Arcades died (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:44PM (#45893583) Homepage Journal
      If video game publishers want pay per view, why don't they bring back arcades?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why bother paying for useless brick & mortar when the customers have nice comfy homes?

        • For the same reason that leading manufacturers of computing devices get their products into Best Buy and Walmart instead of selling only online. Showrooms have value.
      • Because this is better. They don't have to pay rent on an arcade. They don't have to pay for much of the machinery. They get to deal in bits, not atoms, and that's always cheaper.

    • Yep, it's DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kunedog (1033226) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @09:24PM (#45893827)
      Imagine if the Ubisoft always-on DRM were an inherent, unremoveable aspect of the game system rather than just something tacked on to a few individual games after the fact, such that Ubisoft couldn't even begrudgingly neuter it in a patch. Well, this is even worse than that would be.

      The game doesn't even run locally. All you get is streaming video/audio and all the lag you'd expect (including controller lag), which is a recipe for disaster in North America (before you even consider data caps).

      Let's say you're lucky enough to have a 30mb/s connection. Why would you want to use it to transfer your game's video instead of, uh, a DVI cable, which is capable of 4 Gb/s? The people who developed DVI apparently understood that that 1920 x 1200 pixels w/ 24 bits/pixels @ 60Hz results in bandwidth well over 3 Gb/s. The people who push this stuff seem very, very confused (at best).

      Some people consider IPS monitors unsuitable for games requiring fast reflexes (i.e. FPSes) due to their double-digit response times. Internet latency is often worse and certainly more unpredictable than LCD monitor response time, and with this tech it applies to audio and keyboard/controller/etc input too.

      Those of us who know anything about bandwidth and compression and (especially) latency can see the enormous technical obstacles facing a service like this, and no one has ever done anything to explain how they intend to solve them. Onlive did everything they could to lock out independent reviewers with NDAs and closed demonstrations. A friend of mine described it as the gaming equivalent of the perpetual motion scam, and IMO that's spot on (except that it would still have the draconian DRM issues even if it worked perfectly).

      Streaming games appear designed from the ground up to benefit the game publishers and fuck the customers, exactly what you'd expect from any DRM system.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Remember what happened when Microsoft first announced the Xbone with the always on DRM?

        How Sony crucified them over offline play, easy sharing, used games, etc?

        And then go an announce the PS4 will never do that?

        Well, Sony was right - the PS4 won't do it. They'll put games on their streaming service which do the same thing. Minus the ONE USEFUL feature that the Xbone initially offered - the ability to sell/transfer a game license to someone else! (I.e., used game sale - sure they allowed for the possibility

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Pay per shot".

      We already have that. They're called Casinos.

      A big part of the problem is that game makers (and most companies in America) are for-profit. Their whole existence is to create profit for the owner/shareholders.

      If we switched to a "break even, do what you love because you love it" model, there might be some changes...

    • by firex726 (1188453)

      Old CEO did make a comment about having players pay per bullet if they could.

      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.354961-EA-John-Riccitiello-thinking-about-charging-money-for-bullets-in-games?page=1 [escapistmagazine.com]

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      Shouldn't have sold off your old favorites only to repurchase them later.
  • Who would bother to ask Sony if they could play games they purchased free of charge? I would be surprised if Sony allowed that- the whole idea of this is a new revenue stream.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Who would bother to ask Sony if they could play games they purchased free of charge? I would be surprised if Sony allowed that- the whole idea of this is a new revenue stream.

      1. Set the hook

      2. Reel them in

      ...

      Profit!!!

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      All they need is a horde of younger players who love the idea who will shout down any older person who dares to object. That's how we got to the state where DRM is accepted and applauded in video games, so the publishers are now just squeezing tighter.

    • by MachDelta (704883)

      You're missing context. When the PS4 was first announced, one of the questions people had was "backwards compatibility?" to which Sony replied "Not natively, but just wait for our streaming service!" Thus, it was widely speculated that, to both fulfill a fan feature wish AND bootstrap a new service, Sony would support adding previously-purchased games to your streaming account.

  • by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:28PM (#45893463)
    I wonder if I can use Gaikai to play a game I've always wanted on my PS3 called "watch a fucking MKV file"
    • Other than YouTube WebM, which major legitimate video provider uses MKV? I thought it was used for format shifting, copyright infringement, and infringing format shifting [tvtropes.org]. If video providers have embraced Matroska since I last checked, please clue me in.
      • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @09:11PM (#45893739)

        MKV has some amazingly useful and underutilized features. Everyone is (or should be) familiar with how it can do multiple audio/video/subtitle streams. It's chapter functionality is also really nice. The best and neatest thing is it's ability to pull in a separate file for a chapter. So instead of having 30 different TV show files each with the same opening and closing scene, you have those two scenes as separate files which are mixed in on the fly.

        Data deduplication is a wonderful thing.

      • Copyright infringers use mkv because it is arguably the best container format with the fewest restrictions. They have no reasons to use inferior products. The people who follow the rules are stuck with the shit that microsoft, sony, and apple feed them. They are designed to lock people into proprietary technology in order to secure revenue. These formats are designed to restrict rather than empower people.

        • Copyright infringers use mkv because it is arguably the best container format with the fewest restrictions.

          I would call not being able to be played on consumer electronic hardware a serious restriction. I sometimes believe that the pirates use MKV just out of a sense of "leetness" rather than actual features. Not withstanding that a lot of pirates are Russian and well it's called "Mastroska" for a reason.

          • I would call not being able to be played on consumer electronic hardware a serious restriction.

            Yes it is, but mkv still has fewer restrictions than other container formats

            I sometimes believe that the pirates use MKV just out of a sense of "leetness" rather than actual features.

            Being an open standard is definitely an important feature, aside from being leet. Mkv is not just *an* open video container, it is the most prominent and widely used open video container format.

            Being an open video container means that it is easier to for 3rd parties to develop applications that support these files. This is good for healthy competition and consumers. This is not good if you are a big company trying to solidify you

    • Mortal Kombat V? Thats the best one to stream. Mash any button and get a randomized video, no lag.

    • simply convert to mp4?
      • My time is valuable, so instead I just run a DLNA server that transcodes video on the fly. It would just be more convenient if PS3 supported mkv natively.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I wonder if I can use Gaikai to play a game I've always wanted on my PS3 called "watch a fucking MKV file"

      You can use PS3MediaServer to "watch a fucking MKV file", but it will require your PC to be on and transcoding. Works on other players as well, including the Xbox 360. And it's free. Happy new year.

      • Thats exactly what I do. But when I go to my friends hosue, playig an mkv file is a bit more elaborate than just throwing it on a thumb drive. I either have to set up ps3media server at their house on one of his computers (if it's fast enough), or bring my own computer, or transcode the file.

        I have this computer (a PS3) that is fast enough to play 1080p video. It's cool if I can stream it video from another computer, but I sucks that my *only* option is to have another fast enough computer for playing m

  • It was the first version with the "Nightmare" skill level, as well as not having yet removed the swastika room. Many, many little changes were made to Doom up until v1.9, which was the final one.

    If I put in my pressed CD of Tomb Raider for Saturn today, it will run *exactly* like it did back then. Any bug fixes and changes that they made (and they did do it, a lot) later is not for me. Half-assed nostalgia sucks. I want the real deal, exactly like it was back then.

    Streamed gaming is just wrong, just like "t

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:43PM (#45893575)

      It was the first version with the "Nightmare" skill level, as well as not having yet removed the swastika room. Many, many little changes were made to Doom up until v1.9, which was the final one.

      Aha I just played through Doom 1 and I was damned sure when I lowered that particular patform that it formed a swastika and was confused by its slightly different shape. I wondered if I misremembered it. Thanks for clearing that up.

      As for streamed games relative to versions that ship has sailed. Steam only sends you the latest version, and sure you can disable updates but what does that really get you exactly? You can't easily go backwards or install an old version later, and you usually need the new version to do any kind of multiplayer.

      And the same stuff applies to disc based console games too. Sure you have the disk... 1.0 but if 1.2 was the best and 1.9 is the current... you have 1.0 or 1.9... good luck ever getting 1.2 on your xbo?? or ps??.

      Even so I dislike intensely streamed games for many scenarios. But it might not be all bad for certain competitive genres if the lag is reduced enough -- as it can dramatically reduce cheating.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "first support streaming to PS3s, PS4s, and certain Sony TV models".

    So, essentially streaming current gen Playstation quality games to your home, without requiring you to purchase any Playstation hardware!? Sony is going to 0wn current gaming console wars and truly bring high-end quality gaming to the masses if Playstation Now takes off!

    I can imagine this being integrated in to all sorts of non-Sony devices (mobiles, tablets, low-end laptops etc) as you would only need to port the 'thin' Playstation Now c

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      "first support streaming to PS3s, PS4s, and certain Sony TV models".

      So, essentially streaming current gen Playstation quality games to your home, without requiring you to purchase any Playstation hardware!? Sony is going to 0wn current gaming console wars and truly bring high-end quality gaming to the masses if Playstation Now takes off!

      I can imagine this being integrated in to all sorts of non-Sony devices (mobiles, tablets, low-end laptops etc) as you would only need to port the 'thin' Playstation Now client to get the games to work.

      Building the hardware, packaging it, distributing it, dealing with customer service, returns, etc. Is probably wearing on them. They're still going to have some issues with support on non-Sony hardware, though only supporting a limited list of standard drivers and hardware is a time-honored tradition.

      • by swilver (617741)

        More likely, they fear the $50 quad core android sticks with quite decent 3d specs that you can just plug into the back of your TV. Add a bluetooth controller, and game away.

  • So Sony considers the PS3 and PS4 to be "underpowered" hardware, eh? :P :P :P

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      So Sony considers the PS3 and PS4 to be "underpowered" hardware, eh? :P :P :P

      Would you rather sell your game to 250 million (or more) potential gamers or only those who bought your hardware?

      The timing of this is intriguing.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:40PM (#45893547)

    ... let's just say that right now, this is all just marketing to cover up the fact that game ownership is being undermined and taken away and they are feeding the dumb half to the population PR to shove it down their throats.

    • by aiadot (3055455)
      It's the ultimate DRM. The only way to make a pirate copy of a cloud only streamed game is to rewrite the game yourself, to hack in their file servers or to physically steal one of their servers hardware with the copy. And cloud gaming is just the tip of the ice berg. Eventually everybody will have a 100Mbps+ low latency networks. It may take another decade or two but I'm sure it will happen, at least in the developed world. And when that happens, local computing machines, such as consoles and computers(and
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Eventually everybody will have a 100Mbps+ low latency networks. It may take another decade or two but I'm sure it will happen, at least in the developed world.

        Everybody, meet Rural America.
        Rural America, meet Everybody.

        "Everybody," for values of everybody that are less than 100%

    • ... let's just say that right now, this is all just marketing to cover up the fact that game ownership is being undermined and taken away and they are feeding the dumb half to the population PR to shove it down their throats.

      The delivery model is shifting. So what? I have a large DVD / Blu Ray collection; most of which gets watched maybe once or twice. Much of it is available on Netflix so I don't even bother to rip my DVDs since it's easier to stream it than rip it. They only rips are of older shows that are not available for streaming or stuff I want on my iPad to watch while traveling. I'd be happy to be able to d/l it from Netflix and have it viewable for some period of time before I need to reverify an account; in fact tha

  • Latency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adiposity (684943) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @08:42PM (#45893573)

    I have a hard time believing they can overcome the latency problems to my satisfaction. If you can play Frogger on this service than that's some pretty darn good latency.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      There is some leniency available here. A lot of TV's have latency in the range of 40 to 80 ms, which doesn't seem like an unreasonable target for a service spitting out a constant UDP stream. Even if it's not 100% as responsive, it would probably still be more than good enough for most games.

      The real question is how they plan to sell this kind of service when so many ISP's are moving towards metered service.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Some games will be ruined latency. But then there are others, like Final Fantasy, where you only press a button every five minutes anyways.
    • It's a very tight engineering challenge. But IMHO, its doable.

      At 30/60fps your looking at a window of 40/30ms respectivey between frames.

      I don't own a console but in what format flame wars I stumble upon. Many console games running at 30fps seems to be a common complaint.
      So, assuming that many console gamers are used to such low fps gaming. Lets use 30fps for our math here.

      That is 40ms between frames to receive the next one, get it decompressed and pushed to the fame buffer.
      A cursory google for Gaiki press

  • If you think that running everything about your game on some server and your computer only acting as some sort of display for it, ask anyone who got the original Final Fantasy XIV where Square Enix did exactly that and collect a few thoughts on how great an idea that is.

    Hint: It was so great an idea that Square Enix pretty much trashed the game, redid it from scratch and just recently re-released it, about 2 (or was it 4?) years after its original release.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:23AM (#45896877)
    will not be over rent vs buy. People have already demonstrated they will pay a monthly subscription if it gives them easy access to a broad range of interesting content; Netflix is a prime example of people's willingness to pay. The real battle will be over data use. Streaming services push bandwidth use up dramatically and as they become more popular ISPs will look for ways to make money off of the increased usage. ATT has already fired a first shot with their "content owner pays for data use" model they just announced. As more content becomes available via subscription look for ISPs, especially those that are cable providers, to look for ways to recoup money that is lost as people jump from cable to streaming content. I could even see the cable companies adding Sony's service as a package deal much like they have HBO and other premium channels, the only difference is what device uses the content.
  • Yes, it's "the ultimate game DRM" but, realistically, it's unlikely to displace conventional means of distribution. Two main reasons for this. Firstly, latency and bandwidth will inevitably be issues for many consumers, and publishers will lose money if they cannot also offer their games as disks or digital downloads. In other words, for a lot of people this will just be unplayable. I doubt it would ever work satisfactorily for FPS games. Secondly, for next gen and (particularly) PC titles, streamed graphi

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