Citing unnamed sources “familiar with [Sony’s] plans”, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the unannounced PlayStation 4 will utilize their Cloud Gaming technology — which was obtained during the $380 million acquisition of Gaikai in August 2012 — to allow players to stream PS3 games to the new console. According to the report, next generation PS4 games will still be delivered via optical discs, and the game streaming service will only be used as a backwards compatibility solution.
This is not the first time that we have heard reports that the PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible with PS3 discs. Kotaku reported that the next generation PlayStation would ditch PS3 support as far back as March 2012, but it did not mention a possible streaming solution. A recent article by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun supports today’s rumors about the PS4’s streaming capabilities, however, their report did not link the feature specifically to PS3 software.
The basis for the speculation about the PlayStation 4’s inability to run PS3 discs comes from even more rumors stating that the next generation console will use AMD chips. Assuming those rumors are correct, this would make the system incompatible with the architecture used by Sony’s previous consoles — and bring about the need for the company to develop (or acquire) a PS3 software solution.
Naturally, the biggest problem with using Cloud Game for PlayStation 3 games is that many of Sony’s customers lack access to the necessary bandwidth needed to reliably stream high definition video games. Additionally, the tech requires a significant investment in servers — which was one of the pitfalls that brought down OnLive last year.
Sony is expected to debut the PlayStation 4 at an event next week. Here’s hoping the company is feeling talkative during the presentation and puts to rest all the recent rumors/speculation concerning PS3 backwards compatibility, streaming services, and all the recent controller pictures.