The Potential Future of Playstation’s Past

Image by Flickr User: insidethemagic
Image by Flickr User: insidethemagic

Ever since Sony acquired Gaikai from David Perry back in June of 2012, there has been speculation as to what the consumer electronics giant will do with the streaming service.  First thought to be a sort of upgrade to the Playstation 3, then assumed to be a cloud media server for the PS4, Sony’s president has come forth in a recent interview with more details on future plans.  Shuhei Yoshida spoke of an, “ultimate goal to bring Playstation games to all devices,” and “going from hardware to something closer to a service, regardless of the device.”  He goes on to say that the PS4 would remain the center of their focus, even when considering other hardware avenues.

Sony is certainly not the first company to make a go at streaming games or a cloud-based service.  Companies like OnLive and GameTap have been in the business for years.  But these comments from Sony’s president could have huge implications for the future of gaming.  Just imagine if Sony moves outside of their proprietary consoles and becomes a video game company based mostly on a streaming service.  With a robust catalog of titles to pull from, Sony could create a sort of Netflix for video games: a flat monthly fee to play hundreds of classics from the Playstation 1, 2, and 3.

There are plenty of hurdles in such a move.  As Microsoft found out earlier this year with the “always online” debacle, not every consumer has access to a hearty internet connection.  On top of the headache that is server maintenance and running a smooth streaming service, most of the games that mark Sony’s rise to fame are third-party titles, so negotiations and licenses must be taken into consideration.   But if all of these challenges could be met, Sony would make quite an impact on the gaming market, and potentially earn piles of money in the process.  The bottom line to consider: just how many players would be interested in such a service and how much are they willing to pay?

Just speaking for the GIMMGP Headquarters, I know of at least two players would pay a good amount to stream dozens of Playstation games.

-Chip, Games I Made My Girlfriend Play

6 Comments

  1. Hatm0nster says:

    I usually think of myself as open-minded when it comes to games but I’ll admit that I’m not when it comes to things like digital-only and game streaming. While such a service would be a nice answer to the backwards compatibility question, I’m just not the sort that wants to rely on hosted servers to play games or to have to pay a monthly fee to do so. I don’t want to worry about connection interruptions, and I don’t want to be unable to play a game 5 years from now simply because it wasn’t popular enough to support on the servers.

    In short, I’m for the existence of this sort of system, but only if I can have my offline boxed-copy too.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I completely agree with you. I don’t want monthly fees. I don’t want to potentially never get to play a game again. It is indeed a great way to play old games (though, I’d prefer to actually own those, too, but that is already an option if I choose), but I want it to still be possible to own games.

      I don’t like having our control taken away, and if we want to play a game, we’re at the mercy of a company to allow that. I sure hope owning games doesn’t go away. (And I wonder how that will affect the game stores. They may have no choice but to go back to selling older games, if new ones can’t be bought anymore.)

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  2. Vitosal says:

    I don’t mind it and i think it’s a great way to play the older titles but for me, not going to work. My internet is very shitty and slow, and gets disconnected often. Not to mention the power failures i have. Which also could corrupt downloads if a big file comes down which happened the other day with LBP: Kart Racing. I do prefer owning physical copies though. Aside from missing DLC….

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I prefer owning physical copies of games, too. I would rather pay more to own a game (and I have). It’s good for playing older games, though, as this may be more convenient, especially when some old games are rare or cost $100 for a cruddy, used copy.

      Yeah, bad Internet and power failures would indeed be a problem. If games become like this, how can people without a good Internet connection get to play anymore?

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      1. Vitosal says:

        Which is why I am firmly against it. It’s a cool idea but not going to work here in south Africa’s shitty backwards development. Still could be worse I guess

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  3. duckofindeed says:

    I agree with Hatm0nster. This is best for backwards-compatibility, but I want the option of hard copes of games, too. I mean, I play video games daily, but I go for a long period of time without playing a PlayStation game (5 years once), as I have Nintendo and XBox consoles with plenty of games, too. I don’t want to pay a monthly fee all the time, whether I play PS games or not (plus we’ll likely end up with a monthly fee for XBox games, too, which I may just not play anymore). Yeah, games cost a lot, but at least once I buy it, that’s done. I paid however many dollars for “Jak 3”, for example, 9 or so years ago, and ever since, that game has been free to play. It’s mine, and it’ll never cost a cent again, except for electricity.

    And Netflix only has certain things available. If a show you want is no longer there, you’re out of luck for however many months it takes to get it put up again, unless you want to pay an extra fee to have DVD’s sent to your house, which may not even work, as these things get in terrible condition with so many users and with being mailed from place to place. Is that what Sony plans on, or will all games be available online at all times? (And yeah, what Vitosal said. What if my Internet is down or myself or the site are having technical issues, and I don’t get to play when I want?)

    In short, I’m not happy with the way games are changing so much. We’re losing more and more control, and it’s getting to the point where we no longer own our games. (It’s getting to where we no longer own anything we pay for, it feels like.) I know technology is changing, but I don’t think it always improves on the value of products. Now you spend money on a temporary service, not a product that may last for life. (I’m so excited about “KH3”, and I hope it doesn’t end up being something I’m not allowed to own. At least I’m allowed to keep the other “KH” games, I guess.)

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