LAS VEGAS: JAPANESE ENTERTAINMENT FIRM Sony unveiled Playstation Now at CES, a cloud-based streaming service that aims to change gaming as we know it.
Sony will launch Playstation Now this summer as a subscription service that will allow gamers to stream Playstation titles to smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4) and handheld PSP games consoles.
The firm hopes that Playstation Now will introduce the world of gaming to people who don't own games consoles, while providing dedicated Playstation gamers with access to game titles they played on previous generation consoles.
We caught some hands-on time with Playstation Now on the CES show floor in Las Vegas to see if it really can revolutionise gaming.
At the moment, Playstation Now is still in the early stages of development, so we were unable to try it out on a smartphone or tablet. Instead, Sony was showing off the service as a nifty way to play Playstation 3 (PS3) games on the PS4 console, and as a way to play new game titles on the PS Vita.
Although its feature set is still somewhat limited at present, the Playstation Now service is perhaps more impressive than what you might expect.
Despite struggling to find a decent internet connection anywhere in Las Vegas, we saw the PS3 title God of War: Ascension running smoothly on a PS4 console.
There was none of the lag typically associated with gaming streaming services, and the game, which was being shown off on a Sony Bravia TV, looked vivid and full of detail, with Sony boasting that Playstation Now retains 99 percent of a game's graphics quality.
There was a bit of a lag loading up the game, however. Once the title was selected, we found ourselves staring at a blank loading screen for a couple of minutes, but this could be because the service still has some bugs, with Playstation Now set to launch in beta in the US later this month.
We also caught some hands-on time with the same God of War: Ascension game on a PS Vita. We were even more impressed by this small screen version than the PS4 gameplay, with the title immediately feeling like a PS Vita title, and the controls seeming to work seamlessly, despite it originally having launched as a PS3 game.
When Sony launches Playstation Now later this year, it will offer users the choice of renting individual titles or a subscription payment model. The firm also told The INQUIRER that those signing up to play big-screen games on their smartphones or tablets will need to hook up a Playstation Dualshock controller.
There's no word on pricing yet, and Sony also has yet to announce whether original Playstation and Playstation 2 (PS2) titles will be available on the service.
However, on first impressions, we're fairly won over by Playstation Now. As well as offering a nifty way to bring backwards compatibility to the PS4 and despite still being in the early stages, the service is impressive, both in terms of graphics quality and gameplay, and it seems to offer an all around smooth experience.
Check back later this year for our full Playstation Now review. µ