Here’s an interesting report on Sony’s cloud gaming initiative, PlayStation Now. It sounds like for the moment it is a backwards compatibility play, allowing PS4 owners to insta-stream PS3 games. However, as I wrote in Portagame, “Well, at least Sony kinda has a leg up in the TV set business.” The service was demoed on Sony’s TVs, and would theoretically allow the owner of a Bravia set (or a Sony phone or tablet, control issues notwithstanding) to play a rather respectable library of games without actually buying a game console. Another layer of hardware vanishes.
Another thought: this idea of streaming could carry over to Apple TV speculation. Part of the issue with an Apple TV set is that people don’t upgrade their TVs that often, leading to less upgrade money for Apple and a potentially frustrating experience for owners as Apple improves the product every year, marketing new hardware features and speeds that aren’t available to those with old devices. However, if the hardware that was rendering the interface was actually in the cloud, as it will be with Sony’s service1, the user experience could be upgraded independently of the client hardware. Like an OS upgrade but with faster speeds part of the deal too. Not that Apple is any good at cloud stuff, of course.
1 In that the cloud will be rendering the game interface. Not sure about the game selection interface, but that’s beside the point. If lag with PS Now is acceptable to gamers, it should be more than responsive enough for other interface interactions.