At CES Sony finally took the wraps off of the newly re-branded version of the Gaikai  video game streaming service and called it PlayStation Now. Sony’s CEO Kazuo Hirai was quick to say that while the initial launch of the service was limited to customers with Sony products, the eventual plan for PlayStation Now was to have it available on devices like iPads as well as Android devices that aren’t made by Sony.

According to the PlayStation Europe blog post

PlayStation Now will allow you to:

  • Play video games instantly across multiple devices, similar to the way you might stream TV, movies, and music.
  • Stream full games to all of your compatible PlayStation devices including PS4, PS3, and PlayStation Vita as well as non-PlayStation devices, beginning with 2014 BRAVIA TV models and expanding to numerous other internet-connected devices.
  • Always play the most updated version of your game. With games hosted in the cloud, you can take your game with you – just log in with your Sony Entertainment Network account on a compatible device and your games and saved progress will be easily available.

Some of you may remember that Sony acquired Gaikai mid-way through 2012 for around $380 million. Gaikai had, until then, created the technology behind streaming high end video games. The service works by rendering the game on remote servers (in the cloud as the cool kids would say) and then streaming the visuals to you. It effectively allows you to play almost any game on almost any device as long as it could input the correct controls and has enough bandwidth to stream the images back from the servers.

PlayStation Now will enter a closed beta for PS3 console owners in the US before the end of January and will then be fully released sometime in the middle of the year.Unfortunately we won’t be seeing it any time soon in South Africa though with Sony saying that “we’re (they’re) not quite ready to confirm launch plans for PAL territories.” just yet. The reason Sony gave for the delay was that “Europe (which is a PAL region like SA) is a considerably more complex region, with a huge number of different providers and varying connection speeds from country to country.”

If Europe is going to prove a challenge for Sony with varying broadband speed and, more specifically, latency times then South Africa will be a tough nut for them to crack. While we have made great strides forward in the last few years in term of both broadband penetration and speed, we still have quite a way to go before we can say that a significantly large group of people will be able to meet the recommended 5 Mbit/s or faster connection.