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Gamers may not get free digital access to a game they already own in PS Now

A recent interview with a Sony exec points to the possibility that gamers may have to re-buy digital versions of games they already own for play on PlayStation Now.

Sony exec Andrew House takes the stage to unveil PlayStation Now, the upcoming game-streaming service that will bring a variety of cross-platform games to a unified ecosystem of devices.

At CES 2014 Sony shook up the gaming sphere with their announcement of the PlayStation Now game streaming service, which effectively unites a handful of devices to a veritable gaming ecosystem. With PS Now, you can eventually play PlayStation games without owning a PS console.

PS Now has monumental potential to change the industry, bringing a multitude of classic games across the entire PlayStation era to the cloud, moving toward a tethered multi-device environment and potentially phasing out the need for yesteryear consoles to boot.

The technology is in its infancy, and Sony eventually aims to bring a massive library of PlayStation games (from PSOne and beyond) to consoles as well non-Sony smartphones and tablets. The service is also projected for a release across Sony Bravia HDTV’s, alleviating the need for a console altogether–which in itself is quite ambitious.

While just about every PlayStation gamer out there is looking forward to the new service, there are many questions that have been posed–quite a few of them are particularly interesting and affect gamers as a whole.

One of the more pressing questions involves the issue of double-buying. The following hypothetical scenario illustrates the issue: will gamers who already own a disc-based version of, say, The Last of Us on PlayStation 3 have to re-buy the same game on PS Now to play it on PS4?

John Koller

CVG poised a similar hypothetical scenario to Sony’s John Koller in a recent interview, illustrating a possible way that PS Now could verify ownership of a game. They specifically asked if a PS3 game disc could be put into a PS4 as a means of verifying ownership, thereby giving free access to the same game on PS Now.

Koller’s response indicates Sony isn’t doing something like that when PS Now launches; “We… uh, initially, no. So, we’re saying no to that right now,” Koller said.

When pressed if Sony is looking into the possibility of some sort of discounts or free versions of already-owned games, Koller was quoted saying “Right now, no.”

It’s worth mentioning that the PlayStation Now framework is still in its very early stages and that Sony is still shaping the service–and will continue to do so after gaining feedback from the beta test to launch later this month.

Fans all over agree that it would be beneficial to be offered some sort of access to digital versions of games they already own, alleviating the need to re-buy a specific title.

PS Now

Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House revealed that the company aims to bring PS3 games to the service first, following with PSOne, PS2 and PS4 games in that specific order. Koller reflects this plan during the interview as well: “…PS3 will be the tip of the spear. We’ll see how it scales, the business model, all those things. We have other territories to launch in over time. And then we’ll start looking at how we can piece together other content.”

The interview also gleaned something quite informative on the service’s peripheral requirements: DualShock 3 controllers will be required to play games on Bravia TV’s, smartphones and tablets via PS Now.

“Vita has adequate buttons and you’re using DualShock 3 controllers for the Bravia TV demo stations here. How will you tackle controller input challenges for playing PS3 games on a tablet?”

“It needs to go through the DualShock. The DualShock remains the key ingredient. So that controller experience needs to go perfectly. We didn’t want to utilise touch screen or anything like that because the games are best played with a DualShock.”

“So it requires the DualShock 3 on any platform PS Now comes to?”

“Yes it requires the DualShock. The DualShock 3 specifically. To enable tablet and smartphone play, you’ve got to have the DualShock 3.”

More information may come to light as CES 2014 furthers along, and Sony will most likely release details after the PlayStation Now beta scheduled to begin this month.

The service is a landmark in the industry and represents Sony’s most current salvo in the next-gen war, proving that this is just the beginning of their commitment for the PlayStation 4–as well as their PlayStation brand altogether. Microsoft has its own impressive cloud-based array with Xbox LIVE Compute, and it will be interesting to see if they launch their own answer to the lack of backwards compatibility with the Xbox One sometime in the future.

PlayStation Now is planned for a tentative release in Summer 2014 across PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Bravia smart TV’s as well as smartphones and tablets.


Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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