According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony will use Gaikai to stream games to the next PlayStation game console. In the summer of 2012, Sony purchased Gaikai, a game streaming platform like its competitors OnLive, GameTap, and Gamefly. These cloud-based gaming companies stream games from remote servers so players can download titles for their console, rather than use an optical disc. With the PlayStation 4, Sony still intends to sell new game titles on optical disks, but older game titles will be available through Gaikai. Gaikai will allow PlayStation users to play games on company servers.
Gamers have lamented, rightfully so, that with each new generation console old games can’t be played on the new hardware because of backwards compatibility problems. When only certain PS2 titles could be played on the PS3, Sony set up a website so that players could search compatible older titles to match the newest console. If Sony chooses, maybe Gaikai will stream PlayStation titles over other devices such as Macs,PCs, tablets, Androids, and iOS.
This streaming may jump the hurdle of backwards compatibility issues and players would be able to download games they didn’t purchase previously. However, some predict that gamers might not like the expense of PlayStations Premium Network subscription. Premium features include appealing enticements such as member-only demos. Kotaku reports, “the most attractive premiums are full title trials, which give the user one hour access to full PlayStation 3 games and free access to PSOne Classics, PSP minis and premium themes.” Ubergizmo cautions that in order to avoid blackouts, PlayStation Cloud will need many data centers close to customers. Lastly, expect streaming games to have more or less user feedback and degraded images based on the quality of your internet connectivity.
We'll find out more information about the PlayStation 4 and the new controller when Sony holds its meeting on February 20th.