If there was one thing that annoyed people during the hype for the Xbox One, it was that it oddly lacked what would seem a pretty basic killer app; namely the ability to use it as a DVR. Sony, apparently, has no such concerns, and they’re adding that, in addition to confirming their game streaming service, PlayStation Now.
PlayStation Now is pretty straightforward, but the most interesting part is that you won’t need a PlayStation, eventually, to play the games on it. Here’s the relevant part of Sony’s press release:
SCE’s vision for PS Now is to enable users to instantly enjoy a wide range of full games on the Internet-connected consumer electronics devices they use every day. The accessibility of PS Now means, for example, that PS4 users in the living room can continue playing a game on a PS3 system in their bedroom. Or PS Vita users can enjoy instant access to a game wherever there’s Wi-Fi connectivity, such as outdoors, then can switch to a supporting BRAVIA® TV’s big screen and play the same game after arriving home.
And that’s apparently going to extend to how you watch TV. Details are thin on the ground, but the PS4 will receive a streaming video service, according to Engadget:
…Sony’s launching its long-rumored IPTV service, as a cloud based offering with both live TV and video on-demand that personalizes itself for the viewer. According to [SCEA President Andrew]House, it will be able to pause and resume viewing across multiple screens, including on Sony’s connected devices like the PS4, and third party hardware including the iPad. There aren’t a ton of details yet, but it will start testing later this year.
If this sounds a little familiar, that’s because a cloud-based, live TV DVR-type service already exists, by the name of Aereo. And it’s not the only cloud-based DVR out there, although the broadcast networks have been fighting the concept tooth and nail since it would essentially mean the end of retransmission fees. Sony could be in for a few entertaining visits to United States courts to get this idea out there in any meaningful sense.
It’s also not clear whether this service will play nice with, say, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, or the host of other services that use the PlayStation brand as a platform to stream stuff at our eyeballs. That would, of course, be the ideal scenario, but it seems unlikely every service will go along with it.
But it’s still pretty intriguing, and it also shows that the streaming video arms race that began in the last generation shows no signs of slowing down. Now to see how Microsoft responds.