: Editorial: The Future of PlayStation?

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Editorial: The Future of PlayStation?

What if the future of PlayStation was universal? What if you could play every single PlayStation 5 game on any internet connected device, such as your smartphone, television, computer, or laptop? What if you never actually had to purchase another dedicated gaming console again, because the console was any device that you already own today?

 

Can you imagine being able to play the latest and greatest PlayStation has to offer just by signing into your PSN account from your phone? To me, that level of portability sounds like some kind of pipe dream. And I suppose to an extent, it is. However, this technology is already here, and it has been for years.

PlayStation Now could very well be a glimpse into the future of PlayStation as a Service, instead of a traditional home console. I mean, just think about it for a moment here. PlayStation Now is a cloud gaming service where you pay $20 each month to access a large catalogue of PlayStation 3 and even PlayStation 4 games on demand, from either your PS4, or your home computer. This service has the potential of replacing hardware entirely, allowing for you to play your PlayStation software from any device. The main requirement, and limitation, is the fact that this service would require an always-on and stable internet connection for it to function reliably.

OnLive was the pioneer of cloud gaming, and they tried to create a universal gaming platform in 2010. The OnLive Game Service worked surprisingly well, and allowed for me to play Just Cause 2 from my laptop which, at the time, was incapable of running the most basic of games. But OnLive? It worked perfectly at 720p. I rarely if ever noticed any kind of lag, and was able to easily enjoy some of the top games at the time, on hardware and devices that wouldn’t be able to play them otherwise. To me, the whole thing felt magical. Just the fact that when I purchased a single game, I could take that game with me anywhere, without having to lug around heavy hardware or consoles. I just signed into my account, selected the game I wanted to play, and hit ‘Start’.

 

PlayStation Now could become a true force within the world of gaming, and it has the potential to even replace (or coexist) with modern consoles. I mean, when the next generation of PlayStation comes out in a few years, is it not far more enticing to play your games on your existing Smart TV, rather than going out and purchasing a brand new $400 box? What if your new 4K TV had a PS5 built right into it? To me, that’s a very convenient alternative to our current market of constantly buying a new console every 6 or so years.

 

If PlayStation Now is the future of PlayStation as a Service, which is the direction Sony appears to be taking it, would you sign up for it? The internet is constantly getting faster and more reliable with every passing year, so in the near future, the internet won’t be as big of a limitation as it is today. Cell companies are even working on 5G deployment, so in theory, something such as a virtual game console could work in the near future on modern and updated cell phone providers. The fact is, whether unfortunate or not, gaming is heading towards a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, so it’s really just a matter of time before Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo pulls the plug on traditional hardware generations, opting for a purely digital service.

 

So to conclude this article, and hopefully allow for me to finally go to bed, do you guys think that PlayStation Now is the future of PlayStation? Will PS Now, or a similar cloud gaming service, eventually replace traditional home consoles? Or do you think this is all just a bunch of hogwash? Let us know in the comments.

 
 
 

7/27/2017 Tyler Harvey

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Legacy Comment System (11 posts)


Masszt3r
Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 3:43:34 PM
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As someone said, I think it'll take take while mainly because of internet limitations.

I don't currently live in the U.S., but I've read and heard that internet prices are crazy, especially considering limitations, such as caps. There is a place for you in hell Comcast!

Anyway, another thing to consider, and this is something that is highly debatable, is that traditional consoles in a way force competition. I'm not sure competition would be healthy or existent if we threw away exclusivity. Like I said though, highly debatable.

As to hoping for a PS Now kind of future, I would like it because of backwards compatibility, but I'm sure these big companies would find ways to screw with us.

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slow and smart
Friday, July 28, 2017 @ 1:32:18 AM
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Coexist with modern consoles: no problem.
replace modern consoles:i hope it will never come to this,

-What about people living in a area with bad internet connection,bad luck?I don't think that every country worldwide will have good internet everywhere soon
-Now i can still buy me a physical copy of many games and sell it if i want to.
-Also,now if i buy a physical new game on the net,i can have some good deals because of competition between retailers,some new games are often about 20-25% cheaper then on PSN ,in this new situation with no competition there would be 1 price,take it or leave it.

Last edited by slow and smart on 7/28/2017 1:49:07 AM

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eric0113
Friday, July 28, 2017 @ 12:34:02 PM
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Hello!! I kept forgetting to come here when I sit on my computer >_< lol.

But yeah like people say, will it be the future? Probably. Soon? Doubtful. At least not with current prices. Internet providers already charge an arm and a leg for decent speeds, can you imagine if you have 2-3 people playing games on that? You're going to need a beefy connection. And then the price of the service, after a few years it adds up, but with physical copies, you buy and keep it. But I guess iff they went full out on it, they could lower the price, no? Since they would be spending nothing extra but in the servers to run the games. No more getting materials, designing, shipping, or anything besides getting the servers and sending the signal. But like how they are right now, they'll charge it like if they had to go through all the steps of a physical console release.
Either way, I'm sure it's the future, but we still have quite a way to go before it starts being the way we all game.

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wiiplay [Administrator]
Saturday, July 29, 2017 @ 9:00:19 AM

I was imagining more of an OnLive approach to this, not a subscription model. At least not like the current PS Now model.

Basically, Sony would charge a $60 yearly service fee, which grants you access to the cloud console. After you're given access, you can proceed to purchase games just as you do today, albeit without ever actually having to download them. You simply buy it, and a minute later you're in the game.

We're already paying $60 per year for PlayStation Plus, which is practically a requirement at this point to take full advantage of your PlayStation 4. People are also more than willing to "rent" game licenses, as shown by the growing use of digital software sales on the PS Store, like DLC and microtransactions, as well as full game purchases. It's unfortunate, but game ownership nowadays simply doesn't really exist anymore. Even physical sales are questionable, as in order to play most newly released physical games, you'll still need to connect online to download day one patches, content updates, and other services that may be required for a playable gaming experience. Fact is, we've grown very reliant on the internet, even if most people today don't realize it.

A purely cloud console / service will happen. Hell, OnLive did it back in 2010. So the question isn't so much if, but when. When will Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo release their own fully online game service? Personally, given as how Sony already has a cloud network in place via PS Now, I can definitely see Sony making the first move.

Let's face it, if you have a PS4, odds are very high that you also have PS Plus, and that your PS4 is connected online. You're already paying $60 per year just for the ability to play your games online, and socialize with friends. You're already a part of the digital ecosystem. All Sony would be doing is removing PS Plus as a network requirement for the so-called PS Cloud, and turning it into the console/service itself. Assuming that the average console generation is 6 years, you would end up paying $360 for your cloud console.

Personally, I would be more than happy to pay $60 each year to access a full cloud gaming 'console'. I'm paying that already just to play games online on my PS4, so I'd actually end up getting more than I am right now. My only concern really, and it's the concern that everyone else on here seems to be having, is the reliability of the internet itself.

In theory, all you would require is a basic 5 Mbps internet connection for this to work at 720p. 12 Mbps for 1080p, and 60 Mbps for 4k. The average internet speed in the United States is 50 Mbps, according to http://www.speedtest.net/reports/united-states/
While that's not quite the 4k speed, it's definitely enough for multiple concurrent 1080p sessions.
So the main limitation isn't the speed, but rather bandwidth consumption and network reliability. Most providers offer bandwidth caps.

Assuming you play at 1080p, and assuming it's a consistent 12Mbps, you'd end up using 5.4GB of bandwidth per hour. Now, let's say you're like me, and you spend 8-12 hours every day playing video games. (it's my profession, so I have an excuse)
At the max usage, I would consume 65 GB each and every day, for a total of 1.8TB of usage each month. This is of course assuming I spend 12 hours playing nonstop, or about 14 solid days of gaming every month. That's a bit of an extreme, and most gamers won't actually see numbers like that. But still, it could happen.

Even without cloud gaming on my workload, I use an average of 700 GB of bandwidth every month.

----

Er, honestly? I kinda forgot where I was going with this. Sort of got into the numbers game, and my mind went full nerd.

Point is though, cloud gaming is technically feasible, even with today's internet. The main issue is bandwidth consumption and reliability. The bandwidth issue can be resolved on the ISP side, and 'unlimited' bandwidth is becoming more and more common with most major providers. So that may not be an issue for much longer. But network reliability? Well, losing a few packets in a traditional online game means you'll notice lag, and likely get fragged because of it. However, when your entire game is online, that packet loss might mean the lack of character control for a second or two. When you press X to jump, only for the packet carrying that button press to get lost in transmission? Well, that means your character won't jump. At all. He'll just continue to stand there, doing nothing.

Personally, I plan to fully embrace the world of cloud gaming. I've got years of experience with web technologies, and strongly believe that the cloud is the future of gaming. So I'm a tad biased here with my opinion, and in turn, this article. But meh, it's an opinion piece for a reason.

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wiiplay [Administrator]
Saturday, July 29, 2017 @ 9:00:38 AM

Oh, and uh.. Welcome back, Eric!

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eric0113
Sunday, July 30, 2017 @ 1:10:55 AM
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Yeah, well I've been here, hehe. But I tend to forget this site when I'm not on my phone for some reason.... And the mobile site isn't that great on comments. I usually got here with the weekly email, lol.

Hmm... That's much less mbps than I thought was require... I mean I can barely watch a 360P video without buffer on my amazing 3 mbps connection. Can't imagine a game that has lots of input also. I tried playing The Crew from one of my cousin with share play, and he has great internet 100mbps with like 20mbps upload so from his side it was fine, but for me, it look so bad and the delay was pretty bad I kept turning the car way to late in a corner. I assume that the OnLivne would be slightly better, but when you can't get the internet with good enough connection, it's just not possible.

I do see the argument with hard copy vs digital. I mean most of PC is digital now, so I can see that. I don't think I've gotten a physical PC game since StarCraft II. But I think Steam generally puts better discounts on games than PS Store or xBox. I have never been swayed enough to get games digital on the PS4 because I can usually find it for a better price in a physical copy. But it is true, consoles are slowly turning into PCs, so it's bound to come where they will go digital too. Still there's still many more steps to go from digital delivery to cloud gaming, from what I think. And the main one being reliability, if my internet goes out, I can still play Steam games offline, but with cloud with the internet out there's no more games until it's running again. You could say "is it worth getting fuzzy for a few minutes to hours without gaming?" But that's the thing, people are used to being able to play even if the internet goes out, so even if it's a few minutes, it feels like it's a big mistake to go all digital since you can't do nothing at all until the internet returns.
There is pros and cons though to both. With physical, you have something you can trade/sell and get money back. You can play SP/Local MP without internet (if they made the game do that, since some think you need to be online for that..... annoying). But if it breaks/stolen you lose that item, and if you want to take it somewhere you have to pack everything and select a few games.
With cloud, you always have it there, can't break it, and I think one of the biggest benefits when they implement it more is you can play it anywhere, so if you travel a lot, you can have your whole library of games at your disposal.
But you need to have a good enough internet to play it, what if your account gets banned? You lose everything?!
Will it be the future? Likely. But I want to keep my physical items as long as possible, so it doesn't feel like I'm just throwing money for no reason xD

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wiiplay [Administrator]
Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 7:00:17 PM

"Yeah, well I've been here, hehe. But I tend to forget this site when I'm not on my phone for some reason.... And the mobile site isn't that great on comments. I usually got here with the weekly email, lol."

Not to worry, Eric! The email newsletter should be coming back pretty soon. I've already imported the email list, and just need to activate it. Which unfortunately costs a bit of money, as there's thousands of email newsletter subscribers. But no matter, we'll get that stuff sorted for sure. :D

"Hmm... That's much less mbps than I thought was require... I mean I can barely watch a 360P video without buffer on my amazing 3 mbps connection. Can't imagine a game that has lots of input also. I tried playing The Crew from one of my cousin with share play, and he has great internet 100mbps with like 20mbps upload so from his side it was fine, but for me, it look so bad and the delay was pretty bad I kept turning the car way to late in a corner. I assume that the OnLivne would be slightly better, but when you can't get the internet with good enough connection, it's just not possible."

OnLive actually only required 3 Mbps, but recommended 5 Mbps for 720p. Back in the day, I was able to play Borderlands on my friends 3 Mbps internet connection with no noticeable lag. The service either worked, or it didn't. And even though my friend had 2.50 Mbps at most, and 2.30 at worst, OnLive still worked perfectly well.
I was basing the speed requirements on OnLive's performance. Sony uses a different encoding method, since PS Now was based on Gaikai technology, not OnLive technology. Though the bandwidth should be roughly the same.

At this point, internet reliability and consistency is more important than raw speed. Even if you had a 500 Mbps connection, you could still experience lag with PS Now or OnLive.


"I do see the argument with hard copy vs digital. I mean most of PC is digital now, so I can see that. I don't think I've gotten a physical PC game since StarCraft II. But I think Steam generally puts better discounts on games than PS Store or xBox. I have never been swayed enough to get games digital on the PS4 because I can usually find it for a better price in a physical copy. But it is true, consoles are slowly turning into PCs, so it's bound to come where they will go digital too."

I've been a PC gamer for years, and am fully in support of an all-digital future. However, back before Steam became a thing, everybody saw Steam as this giant and super evil DRM. The same exact arguments we're now having with cloud gaming, we also had back when Steam was first introduced. People at the time would question the internet speed and reliability, saying it was usually faster to just go out to a store and buy a retail copy of a new release, rather than wait a day or two for the game to download over Steam.
Other people also questioned the forced nature of DRM, claiming that Steam was nothing but a giant Digital Rights Management platform, and that you never truly owned the games that you purchased. This is actually entirely true, even today. Every single game you own on Steam, you don't truly own. You're just acquiring the temporary rights to use the game licenses.
Also, if you were to get banned on Steam, you would lose access to your entire games library. All of the money you spent on building up your catalogue would be for nothing.

Same applies to Xbox and PlayStation. The digital games you purchase aren't truly yours to keep forever. They're just software licenses, with you essentially renting time with them for as long as the servers stay online. If you were to be banned from PSN or XBL, you would lose access to all of your purchased games, dlc, movies, and other content.

Now, we're all having this exact same argument in regards to cloud gaming. "My internet is too slow" - "I don't own the games" - "if internet goes down, I can't play my games" - "if the servers shut down, my games go with it"

It's really just history repeating itself. The fact is, all of the negatives we're listing right now, we listed 10+ years ago as well. Steam ended up proving that digital wasn't some kind of boogeyman. Now it's up to Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo to do the same with the cloud.

ps. my last PC physical release was Crysis Maximum Edition.

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eric0113
Wednesday, August 02, 2017 @ 2:54:38 PM

Oh good can't wait for emails and maybe more people will see this site again, but spending monies is never fun, lol.

My reliability with the internet tends to be good, mostly only needing a modem reset here and there. Sometimes it does take awhile to connect back onto the internet though. But I'm in a big city, so the infrastructure is likely kept up more than say in a rural area where there's only a few thousand people. It usually only goes completely down for a long time during a bad storm and the power usually goes with it.

Huh, I always thought Steam let you keep the games you had even if you got banned... maybe it's just their courtesy. Not that anyone wants to get banned, they're usually asking for it.

I still prefer games to be "physically" installed on the HDD than running from a server, seems like a waste to run a game from the cloud if you play it a lot. But it's also my bias to want to run games at the highest quality possible, and with 4K taking 60mbps that's a beefy internet needed to play a game and still let other people use the internet. Maybe having some sort of box at home and you install your most used games, so if the internet goes out they'll still be there. And then run less common games you play from the cloud, that seems something people will like more. And of course when you move around you could run all the games from the cloud. Wait....but then you won't get rid of the console, so it won't be going forward, haha.

But I'm guessing the 60mbps is full detail?? I'm only basing this on Netflix saying you need a 25mbps connection for 4K video. But that's compressed video and compressed audio too, that I think people say isn't even surround sound.

But of course in 10 years, we will all have moved to a full cloud world where you can play your PS4 games even on your smartwatch. Can't wait for that xD. So it's just a lot of people thinking it can't be possible right now.

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wiiplay [Administrator]
Saturday, August 05, 2017 @ 7:15:12 PM

"Huh, I always thought Steam let you keep the games you had even if you got banned... maybe it's just their courtesy. Not that anyone wants to get banned, they're usually asking for it."

Yes and no. Steam has different ban levels, such as being community banned, banned from VAC enabled games, and account banned. The most severe is having your account disabled entirely, which prevents you from logging in and accessing your games. This is a worst case scenario, but it can still happen.
The most common major ban type is being community banned, which means you cannot engage with the rest of the Steam community, like posting comments, adding friends, etc.
If your account is simply suspended, you can still access your games. If your account is disabled, you're out of luck.

"
I still prefer games to be "physically" installed on the HDD than running from a server, seems like a waste to run a game from the cloud if you play it a lot. But it's also my bias to want to run games at the highest quality possible, and with 4K taking 60mbps that's a beefy internet needed to play a game and still let other people use the internet. Maybe having some sort of box at home and you install your most used games, so if the internet goes out they'll still be there. And then run less common games you play from the cloud, that seems something people will like more. And of course when you move around you could run all the games from the cloud. Wait....but then you won't get rid of the console, so it won't be going forward, haha."

Whether I download or stream games doesn't matter much to me, honestly. I just want to play, so if the method of consumption enables for me to play my games, I'll be happy.

The 60 Mbps figure is mostly more of an estimate on my part, based on existing cloud and video infrastructure. Netflix requires 25 Mbps for a consistent video experience, and actually saves a fair chunk of video to cache. Assuming that a less compressed 4K video has a bitrate of 40 Mbps, we should add an additional 20 Mbps to that for real time interaction. Real time always requires a higher bitrate, which is why a 720p/3500 Twitch broadcast is more demanding than a 1080p/5000 YouTube video. So, a 60 Mbps bitrate for 4K streaming may not be entirely accurate, but it's a fair estimate all the same.



Though, in regards to the "box" thing you mentioned? My company is actually working on a cloud gaming console. Basically it's an Android-like TV box with cloud enabled functions. You install your games to the local machine, but with a cloud subscription, you can supercharge your games to run at higher frame rates and better graphics. This essentially allows for a very small and low powered device to run games at 4K and 60 FPS.

For example, a stock game without internet on this machine would run at "low" settings at 720p, and 30 FPS. By subscribing to the cloud network (think PSN or XBL, so a yearly subscription) you can then load in various assets to make the game run and look better. So that same game would now be able to run at 4K and 60FPS with a mixture of high or ultra graphic settings. It works by dynamically loading in assets and packages. Lighting, textures, NPCs, AI, physics, etc. Those are all rendered remotely and loaded into your game in asset chunks, creating a seamless experience. Since the character controller is handled locally, and all character interaction is local, you the player wouldn't experience any lag.
I suspect this box will be announced within the next two years, and a launch in 2020 or so. So stay tuned for that.

Anyway, I've actually got a very big change coming to PSX Extreme within the near future. Should be live before the end of the year, and some of our older readers may not... uh, like it. But it's required for the site to thrive in a more modern world.

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HANZ64
Thursday, August 03, 2017 @ 7:26:29 AM
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The digital games you purchase aren't truly yours to keep forever. They're just software licenses, with you essentially renting time with them for as long as the servers stay online. If you were to be banned from PSN or XBL, you would lose access to all of your purchased games, dlc, movies, and other content.

Now, we're all having this exact same argument in regards to cloud gaming. "My internet is too slow" - "I don't own the games" - "if internet goes down, I can't play my games" - "if the servers shut down, my games go with it"

^ And that is why I'm a pirate :D

(that still supports games that are worth supporting/physical medium only)

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eric0113
Thursday, August 03, 2017 @ 11:23:12 AM

Well damn. Well if it ever gets banned/servers goes offline, will be when I become a pirate for that game, haha. But when the servers goes offline they usually implement something to let you keep playing the game. Which I think all games should have from the get go, but they all want you to be online 24/7 to play a SP campaign. I mean, people who will pirate the game will pirate it anyway and will go around that, the 24/7 only hurts the people who want to play it legit. Or at least in general.

Yeah I can see all consoles starting as something as Steam with a yearly subscription and then everything transition to cloud gaming after awhile. But it's one thing I hate about consoles.... yearly subscription to play online, so I don't have PS+ all the time. That is until PC start charging, then I'll change my mind about it and have PS+ all the time then.

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