Everything we know about PlayStation Now so far

Sony's online game-streaming and rental service runs in 720p and is coming to PS4, PS3, TVs, and more, but we still have a lot of questions after CES 2014

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Sony announced the upcoming PlayStation Now service at their CES keynote address, and we got some hands-on with the system at the show. The service will allow users to stream a selection of PS1, PS2, and PS3 games to both the PS3 and PS4, as well as the PlayStation Vita, Sony 2014 Bravia TVs, and even mobile and tablet devices.

Here are the facts we know so far about PlayStation Now:

  • You’ll need a PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 to play the games on TV and tablets. PlayStation 4 will use the DualShock 4.
  • You’ll still be able to earn trophies like you do in current PS3 games.
  • Multiplayer will also work just like it does on PS3. You can play against other people who are playing the disc-based version of the game.
  • No games have been announced for the service, but the CES demo features four games: The Last of Us, Puppeteer, God of War: Ascension, and Beyond: Two Souls. It's a good bet that those four titles will be available when the service goes live.
  • There will be a “Netflix-like” subscription service available as well as individual game rentals.
  • Games will stream at 720p (though performance will depend on your own bandwidth limitations).
  • PlayStation Now games will allow you to save your progress to the cloud, so if you start playing on your TV, you can pick up where you left off on any other supported device.

What don’t we know yet?

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  • How much it will cost.
  • How (or even if) this will tie into your PlayStation Plus subscription.
  • How stable the service runs in a “real world” setting. The CES demo stations Sony had set up were running through the PlayStation Now network, but we don’t know exactly how far away those servers were located from the convention. And it’s safe to assume that a lot fewer people are currently plugged into the in-development network than there will be when it goes live.
  • When it’s coming to TVs or the rest of the world.
    • The beta program is set to start in the US at the end of January, and the final version should roll out on PS3 and PS4 sometime in June. The release date for Vita and Sony Bravia TVs is sometime in 2014. Sony had no details on when the service would get worldwide distribution.

How well does it work? Playing with the system at CES, I didn’t notice any perceptible lag between pushing a button and performing an action, even when playing the platformer Puppeteer or the action title God of War: Ascenion. And graphics-intensive games like Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us looked just as good, though slightly less sharp, than when playing from the disc. Be sure to check back at GameSpot for a side-by-side graphics comparison as soon as the system’s beta goes live.

We expect to get a lot more details about the beta soon and full pricing info by E3.

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