Hands-on with PlayStation Now: Everything we know so far

Sony's PlayStation Now will stream PS3 games to the PS4, PS3, Vita, and 2014 Bravia TVs initially, and both rental and subscription plans will be available when it launches this summer.

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LAS VEGAS -- Just an hour after Sony announced PlayStation Now at its CES 2014 keynote address, Sony was showing off the streaming gaming service on the show floor.

While details were scarce during the announcement, a Sony representative was able to clarify a few key facts about PlayStation Now:

  • Both rental and subscription plans will be available
  • PS4, PS3, Vita, and 2014 Sony Bravia TVs will be supported initially, expanding to other platforms in the future
  • PS3 games will be supported at launch, with nothing to announce regarding older, back catalog (that is, PS2, PS1) games yet
  • Games will stream at 720p resolution
  • Games can be saved in the cloud, letting you pick up your saved game on another device later
  • Multiplayer is supported between players using PlayStation Now, as well as the ability to play against people who are playing using a disc
  • 5Mbps broadband connection recommended

There's also no official game lineup announced yet, although Sony was demoing "The Last of Us," "God of War: Ascension," "Puppeteer," and "Beyond: Two Souls" at its booth. Sony also wasn't ready to announced whether you'll need a PlayStation Plus account to access PlayStation Now.

Sony had the PlayStation Now service working at its booth on a Sony Bravia TV and Vita, and I had some hands-on time playing "The Last of Us" and "God of War: Ascension." Overall, latency was pretty good. Gameplay for the most part felt responsive, with only a few occasions where I noticed some slight lag.

Image quality takes a bigger hit, and sharp-eyed gamers will notice the softer image quality and compression artifacts right away. Still, after playing for a few minutes, the latency and image quality issues faded pretty quickly, with both hitting the "good enough" threshold for me to get engrossed in the game.

In all, it's an impressive rollout for Sony's streaming gaming ambitions that started with its Gaikai acquisition in 2012. PlayStation Now is scheduled to launch this summer, with a beta program starting in the US at the end of January.

 

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