Last June, Sony forked out loads of cash to buy Gaikai, a company with cloud gaming technology that was very similar to the now sort of defunct OnLive. Not many details of Sony's plans were revealed at the time beyond Gaikai potentially being the solution to the lack of backwards compatibility between the PS3 and PS4. Well, that all changed moments at Sony's CES keynote.

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PlayStation Now is a new service that will stream Playstation games to the PS4, PS3, PlayStation Vita, TVs, and… Tablets and smartphones. The Last of Us via PlayStation Now is currently playable at CES, and Sony plans on launching a closed beta at the end of the month with a full roll-out scheduled by the end of the summer.

Cloud game streaming has had a dramatic history on iOS. Anyone who has been following TouchArcade for a few years now will know that I was (and still am, to some extent) a massive proponent of OnLive. I thought the service was great, and was super excited when they announced plans for an iOS release. I even have a controller, which was the first Bluetooth analog iOS controller, which worked on my private iPad build of OnLive, years ago.

Despite being, per OnLive, totally ready to go, Apple never approved the OnLive app that worked with the controller… And as such hopes for the service coming to iOS dwindled away. If you want to see just how well a cloud gaming service like this can work with iOS, check out our story An In-Depth Video Preview of the iOS OnLive App, Moments Before my Build Expires.

Sony has seemingly been intentionally vague regarding which tablets and smartphones PlayStation Now is coming to, but, I really hope it doesn't suffer the same fate as OnLive on iOS.

[via The Verge]

  • Himmat Singh

    I presume it will be limited to PlayStation certified Android phones/tabs. Which of course includes most all of Sony's devices, and a few others (like HTC).

    • Matt L'Heureux

      You might be right but it would be an incredibly poor business decision. It's not like Sony would need to double development for both iOS and Android platforms for each game. They'd need only to develop a single app for both platforms that is compatible with the remote cloud server. Apple represents half the tablet and smartphone user base, more importantly, they represent the half that actually pay for apps. As a Sony shareholder I'll be quite upset if this is rolled out on a limited basis (assuming it isn't blocked by Apple or others for whatever reason).

      • Himmat Singh

        Well, Sony's phones/tablets aren't the best of sellers, so I guess this is one of those moves to boost their position. I doubt they're seeking to make more money from game sales...rather they just want a bigger marketshare by giving more value to their customers. As such, I'd rule Apple out right away, and they'd probably just keep it for their own Android line.

      • pcburcham

        Really excited reading this article and I hope iOS is indeed a part of Sony's plans, but your post makes too much sense to get my hopes up.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        Strong point. I agree.

      • themostunclean

        I'd hope they wouldn't. It would be nice to see Sony mobile gaming not flop for once. Considering Apple blows away android in the number of people actually designing, buying and playing games on their platform it would be an incredibly stupid decision to limit this service to just their line of phones. Wouldn't be the first one though...

    • Onikage725

      On the Playstation blog, they mention eventual support of non-Sony devices.

  • vane

    This sounds better than it's actually going to be for us mobile users. As has been said only a few if us are likely to be able to use the service. Could be great for PS3 and Vita gamers though.

  • Boris Nguetie

    Pleaase can someone explain me this and that onlive thing? I just dont understand the concept of cloud gaming. What i have in mind is too good to be true. How does it work like? Do you just have to open the app, buy CONSOLE GAMES, and play them on your tablet??

    • Adams Immersive

      Yes--although IAP policies (Apple gets a cut) might make OnLive use the Amazon model: you might BUY the stuff from the OnLive web site, and then the iPad app would show your purchases ready to play.

      It does sound too good to be true: you'd expect massive lag. And apparently you do need a good Internet connection for it to work. But in the right conditions, it can look good and play with very minimal lag. I wish VNC desktop apps would license whatever streaming tech OnLive has!

      Sharpness suffers--like any compressed video, fine text can get hard to read. But OnLive has their NON-gaming product in the App Store, and I've found it useful: it gives you MS Office remotely running on a Windows box. And they used to have a spectator-only game app as well. Those are enough proof of concept for me.

      One other caveat: these games lack touch controls of course. So special touch controls have to be created per-title by OnLive. (MFi controllers could help of course.)

    • Earth Vs. Me

      Cloud gaming works like Netflix and Hulu, but you're streaming games instead of movies or TV shows. You're playing games directly from the distributor's servers, and just using your device to display the stream. It's an amazing thing.

  • Shadowking2214

    If this is happening I'm gonna be playing The Last Of Us and Fallout 3 a lot more,I assume it'll pick up my saves on my ps3

  • metalmandave83

    After being let down by Apple with the OnLive service, I won't be holding my breath. I'd love to see this, but just like the author, I was pissed when it didn't come to iOS. Was there ever a statement about why Apple didn't allow it with OnLive?

    • Adams Immersive

      I don't think there was any clear statement: nothing I ever saw indicated that Apple had a problem with OnLive per se. If it's an approval issue (do we even know that much? I forget) then for all we know it could be something entirely technical, like use of a private API or something. Or even OnLive losing their developers (took another job, got fired, whatever). With OnLive struggling, I can easily imagine even a small setback becoming hard to surmount.

      As long as OnLive doesn't offer IAP through a non-Apple method, I don't see why Apple would object any more than they object to other "competing" apps like Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, etc. Plus, lots of developers rejected by Apple have "gone to the people" to explain why, and in some cases, Apple has evolved their policies for the better. If Apple is the barrier, I don't see why OnLive wouldn't just say so--UNLESS talks are still going on privately.

      I'd be interested to know the real story. Maybe we never will. Or maybe Sony will get their way and OnLive will follow after :)

    • Ian Buckley

      Apple would not approve the iOS app because purchases were made within the Onlive environment, not via an Apple run store. That's a no-no for Apple, they want their cut...and it wasn't a point Onlive was flexible on for obvious reasons. If Onlive had a pure subscription business model cloned from Netflix that outcome would likely have been different.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      I think originally, the problem was with Apple -- they wouldn't allow in-app-purchases without taking a cut, for the same reason you can't buy Kindle books from the Kindle app. Onlive had major financial problems and almost completely disappeared. Their current setup is much smaller and if you look at their game catalog, they aren't offering nearly as many titles or specials as they did in their boom years. Nearly all of their best titles have been given away to Playstation Plus users.

      Onlive works great on Mac, Windows, and Android.

      Cloud gaming can still happen, and I'm excited about Nvidia Grid and Playstation Now. They're bigger, healthier companies with many more resources, big game libraries, and millions of users.

      I'm sure there will be people pissing on this service (just as there was with Onlive) because of online caps or platform hatred, but I think this is a great step forwards. I would love it if they'd do a MMORPG or something that needs a lot of computer power and storage.

      I'd be a little surprised if it runs on Apple stuff anytime soon though.

  • rewind

    The tablet and smartphone being projected do not look anything like apple products. They seem to be intentionally, overly rounded pictures to give us a hint that they aren't talking about iPads and iPhones.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    Wow, super cool. Though I too highly doubt this happens on iOS. Even if Sony did want to make this move, I can't see Apple approving a similar service they've already denied. It's one thing I don't like about Apple, being so closed to things outside their services.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    I guess I'm wrong..unsurprisingly. I read this on Kotaku which was stated in the keynote:

    "In addition to PlayStation platforms, most 2014 U.S. models of Sony's BRAVIA® TV*2 lineup will support PS Now. Eventually the service will expand beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices, allowing users to stream PlayStation games on numerous other Internet-connected devices."

    Of course Apple could still not let it happen unless it's something you do by visiting a website?

    • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

      It's just a matter of corporate bribery.
      While you could see Apple saying "No", another thought might be, 'Does Apple really want PS3 games on Android devices ONLY?' And maybe Sony gives them some % of all sales.
      I'll tell you this -- I've been playing Borderlands 2 on PS3 for the past month -- and it's a great game. And it's significantly different than playing an IOS game, even a really good IOS game.
      So I'm confident they can get it done. (Not sure they WILL get it done, but I won't lose sleep over it -- I'm far more concerned about Fukushima triple nuclear reactor meltdown, war & secret govt destabilization in middle east over false reasons (truth = OIL), and NSA spying. You know, reality stuff. Despite all the marketing & $$$, you know, gaming is NOT reality.)

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        BL 2 is a great game. What is this reality stuff you speak of? We need to ignore all that jibber jabber and focus on what's really important, gaming.

        I kid. In honesty, this NSA has me super paranoid. Now I'm hiding all of my crops, and keeping my NWO plans under cover..for now.

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        If Apple wasn't getting paid to support PS3 games on iOS, why would they care?

        You know where this would be cool? AppleTV.

  • bigE1669

    Wow, my Vita might actaully get game play time now.

    • ZarieoZ

      Yes, I actually got a vita last month & I did that knowing that there are only 10 games or so that I'd wanna play (maybe more if I look at the old psp store. Still dissapointing though. now to think that I can actually play the real uncharted or black flag....etc. now that's a service that I'll definitely gladly pay for.

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Vita remote play with a PS4 works really well too. I think the Vita is is just coming into its own, and I hope they keep that around for a long time.

  • worldcitizen1919

    The biggest problem will be lag. There's no cure for it except to dumb down graphics and sound quality and make games using very simple detail that can be fully downloaded and played as opposed to streamed. But I think Sony are not looking at streaming as much as trying to get a 'Sony Store' app on iTunes.

    What Sony is really looking to do here is use their app to sell you Playstation games on your tablet that's all. Sony is trying to use iTunes to sell their own games. A move Apple would be very reluctant to approve. Would Sony approve the iTunes Store app on their Playstation Store???????? No way.

    • Bliquid

      Mate, i think you got it all wrong. They are already selling their games on iOS with their Playstation App.
      This is Cloud gaming we're talking.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      No. With enough network speed and bandwidth, a streamed game can play as well as a local one. If you can get SuperHD Netflix on your connection, you can do Onlive at 1080p on a big screen. If you can do that, you can do this.

  • Alexythimia23

    One thing you can take to the bank, is guaranteed you will without doubt see onlive or a form of onlive, and playstation version come to ios, the real question is how long its going to take to get here. Why? Ios and tablets in general are becoming more powerful to the point where console games are already trickling into the store, the only logical step eventually will be that we will see streamed gaming come to our shores, its just a matter of time so unfortunately we just got to wait. Sucks not knowing though lol

  • dboyz

    Trust me, real gaming only takes place on console/PC

    • Alexythimia23

      What is your definition of "real gaming"? Lol what do you think kotor, san andreas, max payne, deux ex are to name a few?? These are real games so when you say "trust me" er..... Id rather not lol

      • dboyz

        yeah, but IMO the experience still far from gaming on console & PC, I was once also highly enthusiastic on mobile phone/tablet gaming but gave up after several months as there are a lot of limitations (esp. on battery side), still I don't know as a gamer, I just don't feel the "gaming realm" from these devices =), well this is just my point of view (experiences based on my iOS, Android, PC, Consoles)

      • Alexythimia23

        Everyones gaming experience is different, but you gotta accept "real gaming" is already here, thats not wishful thinking thats stone called fact as per the games i mentioned earlier. You name a game you like and chances are you have a very similar experience already on ios. The fact is that gaming WILL mature to the point where even your so called real games will be an everyday thing on tablets and even phones, you cant stop progression mate the gaming wheels will keep on turning. Hell as little as 10 years ago you would have never even imagined we could be playing kotor and max payne and so on, on a phone!!! As everyone played snake!! So its pretty obvious where the gamings heading, a universal gaming experience for any device!! Lol

      • Galenmereth

        Playing a game on dedicated gaming hardware with actual controls is still superior. Battery life, ease of use, loadtimes - playing Mario Kart 7 on a 3DS, for example, had no iOS or Android equal. Not even close. As much as I love iOS gaming, it's far from as enjoyable or polished as playing on my 3DS.

      • Alexythimia23

        I think you are missing the point?! Were not comparing?! And im not saying it is superior at all, simply that real gaming is here and going to get better and better, you can enjoy your gaming rig and console more but thats not going to stop the evolution of tablets and phones to catch up and play the same games you are playing now on your pc or console. You might not like to hear that, and other fanboys of particular hardware might think it cheapens their gaming experiences just because their faivroute games can be played on a inferior mobile phone or tablet (airquote) but thats what is going to happen and as for me i cant wait and yes i prefer to play on a mobile device then a stationary machine attached to a plug socket, but thats my preference, peace out lol

      • dboyz

        I absolutely agree with this, if this Playstation Now is successful, then "real gaming" is valid on these devices (mobile phones,tablet,pablet etc), hopefully the gaming experience will be the same as console/PC gaming =)

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      I don't trust you, I don't share your definition of "real gaming," and the definition of a console or PC is always changing.

      iOS devices may be little, but they can play great games. Real games.

  • Super Blue

    Onlive is cheap . Was bought for 4 million and plays ok so so , but still a great idea. Now sony online cloud gaming was bought for almost 400 million they will not waste that money on just android no they won't apple is were the money is at and they all will compete ..... Sony is getting in to game app and want to be on the apple and play store so ..... Why won't they won't put there games on the same market don't make any cents also onlive went bankrupt bully up that why apple pulled out .... Then they came back and I guesse apple was good with them I guess!!!!!

  • mothman99

    This could be amazing if done right. I'd love to play games on a PS4 and resume them on my android tablet. Sony could do something cool and include a code for a Playstation Now version with every game copy (like with the UltraViolet DVD codes that give you a digital version of the film).

  • http://www.friv2friv4.com/ Friv 2 Friv 4

    Considering Apple blows away android in the number.

  • Boris Nguetie

    Will this be available for canada along with usa?

  • zxcvbad

    This likely won't be supported on ios, apple refused to Onlive in the past, I believe this will be refused too, especially because apple wants to sell games on their own and have a cut. Sony wouldn't care if it will be refused as there are millions of android/playstation users worldwide