PS4 may rely on the cloud for backwards compatibility

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Everyone is expecting Sony to reveal the PlayStation 4 at an event on February 20. As we get closer to that date, rumors and leaks have started to trickle out. One such rumor is coming from The Wall Street Journal which says the PS4 will stream PS3 games.

The streaming technology is most certainly powered by Gaikai. Gaikai had its own successful streaming games business before Sony acquired it last year for $380 million. It was always assumed Sony would include some kind of cloud gaming feature in the next PlayStation, but we never knew what form it would take.

The inclusion of cloud gaming on a console is big step forward. Including it technically means there’s not much that Sony can’t push to the PS4 from a software perspective. We already knew Gaikai was capable of streaming console-quality games. However, restricting backwards compatibility to the cloud wouldn’t be a good thing. Players are recommended to have an internet upload speed of at least 5 Mbps to stream games in high definition. There are too many people (in the United States especially), that don’t get those speeds.

The WSJ is also saying Sony is going to stick with physical discs to deliver PS4 games instead of sending them through the cloud. This also suggests existing PS3 discs may not be compatible with the PS4. That would be a move that would definitely get under the skin of consumers. The practice of having to re-purchase games in order to play them again on an updated console is not acceptable to the majority vocal gamers. If the PS4 really does focus more on features that raw power, it will be hard to justify why PS3 discs won’t work on the system.

Source [The Wall Street Journal] (Subscription Required)


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