When Is A PS4 Not A PS4?

13th April, 2017 by

The answer to this question is: when it’s 2017. No, it’s not a joke, these days you no longer need anything as complicated or as cool as a PS4 to get in on the PlayStation world. You might wonder why Sony, the wizard behind PS4’s curtain, has allowed its exclusive content to fall into the hands of anyone with fiber optic and twitchy fingers and well, the jury’s still out. But a little bit of speculation, a closed beta test, and the rumor mill, can confirm that this is soon to be the case.

What PSNow?

We’ve known this was coming for a while. Sony picked the bones of cloud gaming flagship ONLIVE after it hit the rocks in 2009. Thanks to this salvaged tech, until recently it’s been possible to remotely play PS content on PSTV micro-consoles, the PS Vita, Sony Bravia TVs and even some of Sony’s mobile phones. But it’s clear Sony has loftier ambitions for its cloud gaming service. Last month’s announcement came at the gaming community sideways and almost without any fanfare. However, it looks like Sony has done a deal with the devil.

Since the dawn of tech, there have been rivals. VHS or Beta, C64 or Speccy, Apple or Microsoft, Blur or Oasis.

None of those rivalries, however, have ever come fiercer than Sony PlayStation (PS) versus Microsoft Xbox. The blood feud runs so deep that even joking about the rivalry has become a cultural phenomenon. Sony’s announcement about adding PS4 content to their premium streaming service PSNow is essentially an admission that, at some point in the future, you will no longer need a PS4 console to access PS content. However, if sharing is the new lunacy then it’s likely that Microsoft will be sharing their padded cell.  

Judging by recent events, we might remember 2017 for any number of global events: Brexit, Trump and perhaps World War III. But for gamers, there might be another diary entry forever etched in permanent marker. For them, 2017 was the year the gaming wall came down.

Playing nicely…

Microsoft has just announced that, for the first time ever, they are going to allow PS4 customers and Xbox players to play together. Imagine a Los Santos where you, your strange mate and his weird console can jack some wheels and pull a heist. Hell, even your parents could join in on their quaint PCs. Of course, the official line from Microsoft is ‘other consoles’, but everyone knows the Nintendo Switch kids will be too busy playing Little Princess Cup Cake Challenge to make it to the party. So unless Sega has a Dreamcast 2 up its sleeve (Please God… I ask for so little…), this party is going to be a three-way… at least until Apple and Android wake up.

A dead heat in a two horse race.

Now, you’d be forgiven for wondering, if you can play PS4 games on a PC and play against PS adversaries on an Xbox one, why in God’s name would you need a PS4? It’s a solid question, and we suspect the answer lies in the largest anomaly in the rival question. In the vast majority of rivalries when tech goes head to head, there’s a winner and there’s a loser, but one battle bucked that trend. It’s hard to believe, but back when Bill Gates ruled the earth, Apple was considered ‘niche tech’. The only place you’d see one was on the desks of graphic designers, music producers and the like.  Today, Apple is worth more, makes more and has a larger market share than Microsoft, but despite the numbers, the two are still too close to call. The reason is, neither is afraid to innovate.  Microsoft was arguably slower off the mark, and you could say in recent years that Apple has become a lumbering wreck. But the truth is they both know how to surprise the market when they want to. It is this willingness to disrupt the status quo that has kept those two giants rocking all over the world.

The big question is how either side will cope with the additional bandwidth. As a streaming provider, we know a thing or two about what’s involved in launching and scaling ambitious cloud gaming platforms, and we can’t wait to see how Sony and Microsoft tackle these projects. Especially if it’s going to involve any of Sony’s VR content in the future. As always we’ll keep you in the loop.

Here at 100TB, we love gaming and we love speculating about the future of gaming so much, we even wrote a white paper all about it. If you’re interested in containerized gaming, you can download here: Harnessing the Power of Containerized Gaming.