While the PlayStation 4 won’t be backwards compatible with its predecessor’s games per se, Sony’s made noise about how its purchase of cloud-streaming service Gaikai will make up the difference. Essentially, instead of re-downloading old content onto the new console, users will be able to stream the games directly to their PS4s. According to a post on IGN, Sony president Shuhei Yoshida said during a roundtable interview at TGS that there are plans in place for Sony to launch the Gaikai service in North America in 2014. As for Europe and other territories, Yoshida had “no specific timeframe to share.”
Apparently there will be a healthy library of titles available to choose from at launch, with more coming over time thereafter. Furthermore, these games will be playable on not just the PlayStation 4, but also the PlayStation Vita handheld and the Vita TV—though, it should be noted, the latter had only been announced for Japan as of now.
How will the game streaming service work from a payment point of view, though? That’s not clear—or at least, not from what I can tell. I would imagine that there will be some way for PlayStation users to tie their games with their PlayStation Network IDs, thereby making them available to be accessed through Gaikai when and if Sony brings them to the service.
But, to my knowledge, that process has not been made clear. It’s possible that having access to the game streaming service will cost an extra monthly fee, or maybe it’ll be bundled with the online access fees or PlayStation Plus membership. Maybe there’ll be a nominal fee to access content on these new platforms, despite having already paid for it on the PlayStation 3.
I’ve been snooping around to see if this policy’s been outlined somewhere, but from what I can tell, it’s still under wraps. Either way, it’s good to know that the PlayStation 3’s games won’t be available on the PS4 until at least next year—meaning that my PS3 may stay plugged in a little longer than I’d planned.