At a CES keynote speech this morning, PlayStation Group President Andrew House announced that Sony’s long-promised game streaming service will see a closed beta test at the end of January and a full launch this summer. That time frame gels with previous rumors that the service would be launching in the third quarter of 2014.
The Gaikai-powered service is being called PlayStation Now, and it will let users stream games from previous and current PlayStation systems to the PS4 and Vita over the cloud. Non-console owners will also be able to play these games on Sony Bravia Smart TVs and various mobile devices, House said.
House did not discuss specific pricing structure or game availability at the keynote. The service is being demonstrated at the Sony booth on the CES show floor, letting users play The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls over the cloud (we'll give our impressions later in the week).
House also used his presentation to announce that Sony has sold 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units worldwide through December 28. The news comes just one day after Microsoft announced sales of “over 3 million” Xbox One units through the end of the year.
Part of the sales advantage likely comes from Sony’s extra week on store shelves in North America and from the system’s availability in 31 countries (in contrast to just 13 countries for the Xbox One). It’s also still unclear how much of the difference comes from demand and how much comes from supply constraints—those issues will likely become less apparent following the holiday season. In any case, Sony has clearly done a better job of getting its system into consumers’ hands so far.
Finally, House announced an upcoming cloud-based TV service that will combine “the best of live TV” with a variety of on-demand and DVR content from the cloud. Sony is stressing the service’s personalized channels and content lineups and the Xbox One-like ability for the system to show a personalized video menu when a new person picks up a controller. The still unnamed service will begin testing in the US later this year, House said.