It seems as if Sony will be heavily investing in game streaming throughout the next console generation. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has had a lot to say on the subject during a recent Investors Presentation. Ryan begins by touting the 5.6 million users who utilize PS4 remote play on PC, MAC and Smartphones (sadly no mention of Vita of course). Ryan also cites these users as the emerging trend and “one of the concrete reasons we feel the move to streaming is upon us.” Remote Play is set to make a return on the upcoming PS5.
Streaming is really nothing new to Sony having been heavily invested in it for a while now with the purchase of Gaikai back in 2012 and the eventual roll out of PlayStation Now. With 700,000 subscribers PlayStation Now has been a huge learning tool for Sony on how to handle the future of streaming. According to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, PlayStation Now has taught Sony "what kinds of games fit the needs of people who subscribe to such a service. We intend to strengthen content catalog, including AAA titles, and are working to make those improvements." PlayStation Now has been continuing to roll out to new data centers and countries over time and the plans for the future will include leveraging 5G technology and new cloud services to continue providing a “Seamless” experience. One could assume the recent partnership with Microsoft to utilize Azure is one of these strategic moves.
At this point in time, PlayStation Now is the longest lasting proven game streaming platform and a key service for Sony moving forward. As we move into the next generation however, the competition is set to be fierce. Google Stadia, Project xCloud, Nintendo and even Walmart have their eyes set on capitalizing the mass market. Thankfully for now each of the three big console makers are still supporting physical media with the upcoming PS5 and Next Xbox set to have disk drives. But it will be interesting to see if streaming becomes the unstoppable force so many are claiming or if network infrastructure will prevent it from seeing mass adoption. I know from my own experiences with the technology that latency is a killer. I really hope that it will be at least another 10 - 15 years before it becomes the primary way for us to receive our preferred method of entertainment. What do you all think about the future of gaming potentially shifting to a streaming only model?