I Only See 3 Obstacles to Sony’s Plan to Revitalize their Waning Video Game Console
January 11, 2014 - 10:00 am
PlayStation Now looks very well thought out:
•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
Easy to get to, available on any Sony platform, the ability to play across platforms — what’s not for a Sony devotee to love?
There’s been a lot of talk that the game console as we know it might be dying. Casual gamers are happy with iOS and Android, hardcore gamers build their own Windows (or even Steam) rigs, leaving a smaller and smaller fraction of the market to consoles like Xbox and PlayStation and Nintendo. (Nintendo might already be on the way out as a console maker. We’ll see.)
But even if the console age is waning, PlayStation Now might very well inject fresh life into it. I only see three real obstacles.
• The price. Unannounced.
• Broadband speed. 5mps “recommended,” but more is always better.
• Vita has yet to take off as a mobile gaming platform the way Android and iOS have.
Pricing is easy. If you don’t have enough buyers or renters, lower the price. There’s nothing really to be done by Sony about broadband speeds, but they can safely assume that eventually the situation will improve. And Vita… jeeze, just make it a cross-platform app already and let people rent and play games on the mobile device of their choice.
Sony’s problem is that sometimes they’re a hardware company like Samsung, making Android phones. Sometimes they’re a platform company like Apple, with PlayStation consoles. And now they’re kinda-sorta acting like a software company with PS Now.
Those are three different skill sets, and it’s difficult to master any one of them.
That aside, PS Now looks impressive on paper and I can’t wait to see it in action.