Rumor: PS4 to offer streaming access to PS3 games

The rumors about Sony's next PlayStation console keep coming and this evening a new story claims that the console will be able to play older games made for the PlayStation 3 ... kind of.

The Wall Street Journal, via unnamed sources, reports that the backwards compatibility with PS3 games won't be a direct hardware feature of the next PlayStation console but rather be implemented as a streaming games feature from a cloud-based service.

It's been highly rumored that the next PlayStation will have some kind of streaming game capability. In July 2012, Sony bought Gaikai, which developed its own solution for cloud-based games, for $380 million. However, it remains to be seen just how many gamers are even interested in streaming games to their console like they do with videos and music.

There's no information yet on what Sony might charge for such a service, if anything. If this rumor is true, it might also mean that all of those PS3 discs in the collections of gamers might still be useless with the new console, unless Sony has figured out a way for the hardware to recognize a PS3 disc and then stream that same game to the new machine.

We should learn a lot more about the PS4, or whatever Sony calls the console, on Wednesday; the company is holding a press conference in New York City to announce something that's PlayStation related.

Source: Wall Street Journal | Image via Gaikai

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Streaming isn't really the issue, basically if you can watch Youtube videos in 720p you're fine. The problem is latency and in Australia this is over 400 ms. The words "unresponsive controls" would be an understatement.

Don't even get me started on download caps, a whole other problem. Streaming is just not a viable option yet for the vast majority of people in the world.

During the Playstation beta rewards program. In the FAQ asking about how they can tell if the disc been used before, they indicated all PS3 game discs have a unique serial number.

it might also mean that all of those PS3 discs in the collections of gamers might still be useless with the new console, unless Sony has figured out a way for the hardware to recognize a PS3 disc and then stream that same game to the new machine.

It will scan a PS3 disc, check if it is original and if it is, ask you to take out the disc, it will add it as a verified game to your PS account and from then on you can stream it.

pes2013 said,

It will scan a PS3 disc, check if it is original and if it is, ask you to take out the disc, it will add it as a verified game to your PS account and from then on you can stream it.

Zero chance of that because people would be adding rented and borrowed discs.

Sounds awful. Most people don't have an internet connection capable of streaming 720p interactive content like that. Too bad they don't just make cheap digital PS3 downloads on the SEN store for early adopters.

Not sure about this one, the ps3 is still a good console, I don't see why they couldn't have simply left it with backwards compatibility seeing as it's going to run on bluray anyway. You can go to the playstation store and buy emulated ps2 games for the ps3, which left a thought in the back of my mind, as to why they really drop compatibility on these, I'm sure an xbox owner could comfirm or deny if the 360 can or cannot play older xbox games. I'm even williing to wager the new xbox will have compatibility, and I make that claim whilst knowing nothing about it.

Because of architectural differences.
The fatboy PS3 has actual PS2 hardware in it for running PS2 games. This hardware was removed in the Slim for 2 reasons, reduce price and not enough space.

To offer backwards compatibility on the PS4 would be troublesome, as it would require parts of the PS3 hardware.
I personally expected Sony to go this extra mile. But them offering a service like this is a great substitute.

And people complain about latency and such, if it makes you feel like your on dialup, your usual connection isn't more then isdn when it comes to latency.
Although I do notice 50ms differences in ping/latency when playing fast placed shooters.
However I notice these differences allot less on shooters made for consoles (CoD and such doesn't seem to matter that much if you have 50 or 150 ping. although its nicely abuseable, become gamehost and throw the upload of your favorite torrent program open means almost always winning the game )

Fair points, but my ps3 was a fat ps3 80 gig model, it didn't supprt ps2 gaming, no real loss honestly, as I n
Ept my old ps2, but I would ask why it does have ps1 (or psx if you're my generation) compatibility, I also am not 100% convinced on the cost, I still believe the ps3 costed as much as did did because sony could charge that for it. We're talking about what is dated hardware in the case of the ps2. (Or the ps3 once the 4 becomes fully popular) These problems can be overcome with software, as I mentioned earlier. For all I know you could very well be 100% accurate in your reply, I'm just not convinced, purely because if it can be emulated. There's no reason it cannot be compatible.

Dushmany said,
I'm just not convinced, purely because if it can be emulated. There's no reason it cannot be compatible.

To emulate a different architecture you need several times the CPU and GPU power. For example to emulate an N64 which had a 94mhz MIPS III CPU you actually needed a 800-900Mhz x86 CPU. To emulate the 300Mhz Emotion Engine CPU inside the PS2 you need at least a 2ghz CPU but 3ghz is the recommended spec. The PS3 actually had the emotion engine CPU embedded on the system so that it only had to emulate a little bit of the PS2 hardware and avoid the most expensive part of it.

Now, given how next consoles are said to be running x86, you would definitely need to embed the previous gen CPU inside the newer consoles if you wanted any kind of backwards compatibility to be possible.
I would have done it, and use these still powerful CPUs as a co-processor, but I'm not Microsoft nor Sony.

Dushmany said,
Fair points, but my ps3 was a fat ps3 80 gig model, it didn't supprt ps2 gaming, no real loss honestly, as I n
Ept my old ps2, but I would ask why it does have ps1 (or psx if you're my generation) compatibility, I also am not 100% convinced on the cost, I still believe the ps3 costed as much as did did because sony could charge that for it. We're talking about what is dated hardware in the case of the ps2. (Or the ps3 once the 4 becomes fully popular) These problems can be overcome with software, as I mentioned earlier. For all I know you could very well be 100% accurate in your reply, I'm just not convinced, purely because if it can be emulated. There's no reason it cannot be compatible.

You are aware that for most PS2 games to work on the PS3 it needs to download emulation profiles?

PS3 was sold cheaper then what it cost to produce. So i cant blame Sony for attempting to create a new kind of CPU and costly parts (the RAM included with the PS3 was only found on the latest GPU cards. 256mb at 3ghz speed was costly too)

Dushmany said,
Fair points, but my ps3 was a fat ps3 80 gig model, it didn't supprt ps2 gaming, no real loss honestly, as I n
Ept my old ps2, but I would ask why it does have ps1 (or psx if you're my generation) compatibility, I also am not 100% convinced on the cost, I still believe the ps3 costed as much as did did because sony could charge that for it. We're talking about what is dated hardware in the case of the ps2. (Or the ps3 once the 4 becomes fully popular) These problems can be overcome with software, as I mentioned earlier. For all I know you could very well be 100% accurate in your reply, I'm just not convinced, purely because if it can be emulated. There's no reason it cannot be compatible.

You are aware that for most PS2 games to work on the PS3 it needs to download emulation profiles? So if you tried it without the PS3 setup for an internet connection, most games wont work.
And at first, most games didnt work at all, it took a while before Sony updated the emulation profiles for many games.

PS3 was sold cheaper then what it cost to produce. So i cant blame Sony for attempting to create a new kind of CPU and costly parts (the RAM included with the PS3 was only found on the latest GPU cards. 256mb at 3ghz speed was costly too)

Sorry, are you telling me the mark 1 ps3 60gig needs an internet connection to operate ps2 games? If so, then I'll have to call you out, because I know that the 60 does play ps2 games without needing to be connected to the internet, also my ps3 160gig (just to clarify, doesn't play ps2 games from the disk) can play emulated ps2 games I have bought from the store offline, I can say this with certainty, because mine is running a wired connection, so All I need to do is disconnect the ethernet cable.

But going to the expensive hardware arguement, rumours are circulating (maybe confirmed by now) that the ps4 runs an 8 core Jag processor, well if you REALLY want to cut costs, why not use the supposedly dissapointing, bulldozer, it has 8 cores, I've seen them selling on ebay for £40 uk, so I'm sure a huge player like Sony could get them dirt cheap seeing as they would have to make a motherboard for the console anyways...

Now I freely admit I know virtually nothing about emulators, but seeing the same top end games on pc and console are available with little changed between them makes me wonder.
Afterall, if it is about the cost of hardware, why not use existing hardware...? (The bulldozer isn't a bad cpu afterall, just a lot of users didn't see it's full potential running windows7)

Dushmany said,
But going to the expensive hardware arguement, rumours are circulating (maybe confirmed by now) that the ps4 runs an 8 core Jag processor, well if you REALLY want to cut costs, why not use the supposedly dissapointing, bulldozer, it has 8 cores, I've seen them selling on ebay for £40 uk, so I'm sure a huge player like Sony could get them dirt cheap seeing as they would have to make a motherboard for the console anyways...

Now I freely admit I know virtually nothing about emulators, but seeing the same top end games on pc and console are available with little changed between them makes me wonder.
Afterall, if it is about the cost of hardware, why not use existing hardware...? (The bulldozer isn't a bad cpu afterall, just a lot of users didn't see it's full potential running windows7)


Bulldozer is expensive to produce, consumes a lot of power (which means Sony would need to ship with a bigger power brick) and also dissipates a lot of heat. Btw, 40 pounds is the resale value for a used CPU, not the price of a brand new one.
Jaguar might be on a more modest performance profile, but where it lacks raw performance it makes up with a better process (28nm), 8 physical cores with their own exclusive FPU unit and possibly a higher IPC.

I'm also expecting these cores to be slightly customized to provide better IPC and bandwidth, as that's what ultimately matters more than raw clock speed.

No, sorry, I failed to clarify, what I meant is that Bulldozer proves 8 core processors already exist, and what I meant was that if it already exists in the 3.8 ghtz. So I couldn't see why a lower speed one couldn't exist, I am aware that there is no listing on ebay right now, so I have nothing to back my claim up, so I wont hold it against you for not believing me, but I was going by memory, and remember seeing a seller with more than 10 available going for that price and they were listed as brand new at the time.
I also take your points with validity that the Jag has better process handling. The power unit or brick, I'm sorry, but this is Sony, I'm sure they could have figured out something.
But alas, they are far more educated than me, which is why I'm not working on it lol (as for that matter, it would appear you are also) I just don't think it was an impossible task to for backwards compatibility with all the advancements made today, (and are still ongoing)

I don't see any problem with disc-based validation. The ps4 will likely use bluray so reading a bluray disc and verifying all the files on it shouldn't be an issue - you don't actually need to execute any of the binaries. A checksum of the files with an online database that contains checksums for each retail disc could be used. If it matches then the game can be streamed, but knowing Sony they will probably charge an extra fee for this.

pgxl said,
I don't see any problem with disc-based validation. The ps4 will likely use bluray so reading a bluray disc and verifying all the files on it shouldn't be an issue - you don't actually need to execute any of the binaries. A checksum of the files with an online database that contains checksums for each retail disc could be used. If it matches then the game can be streamed, but knowing Sony they will probably charge an extra fee for this.

Knowing Sony they would charge an extra fee for this? You are aware PSN is free right?
Also that for a PSN+ subscription which is 50 bucks a year (or every now and then discounted to 40) which gives you several full free games on BOTH the PS3 and Vita (and future PS4, only 1 subscription needed for all). So even though you are paying for it, they are basically paying you for using PSN+.

I've played some streaming games and it works surprisingly well if you have a decent connection. Obviously twitch shooters and fighting games might not be ideal, but I could see RPGs, strategy games even some action tiles working.

temo said,
I've played some streaming games and it works surprisingly well if you have a decent connection. Obviously twitch shooters and fighting games might not be ideal, but I could see RPGs, strategy games even some action tiles working.

Working? Maybe. Consistently working? No chance. Given how crap Sony's online service is already I can't even begin to imagine how bad streaming a game over the internet would be. Take into account network spikes, server latency and bandwidth allocation and you have pretty much garuanteed yourself a crap experience. Then of course you have the problem of data usage. You could potentially be streaming 25GB a game a session! Not practical, not in this day and age.

ingramator said,

Working? Maybe. Consistently working? No chance. Given how crap Sony's online service is already I can't even begin to imagine how bad streaming a game over the internet would be. Take into account network spikes, server latency and bandwidth allocation and you have pretty much garuanteed yourself a crap experience. Then of course you have the problem of data usage. You could potentially be streaming 25GB a game a session! Not practical, not in this day and age.


Don't use it then?

Keep your old PS3?

I fail to see how people can WHINE about stuff like this, they don't HAVE to give you backwards compatibility.

I have a 6Mb connection and I download full speed from PSN, I should have no problems playing streamed games, I've played games on Gakai before and the latency is a non issue.

there's no way you can download at "full speed" with that connection. 6Mb is theoretical there's no way you will get that sort of speed in the real world. unless 1Mbps is considered full speed.

ctrl_alt_delete said,
there's no way you can download at "full speed" with that connection. 6Mb is theoretical there's no way you will get that sort of speed in the real world. unless 1Mbps is considered full speed.

The full speed of my connection, I get 750KB/s downloading from servers on the internet and i get 750KB/s dowloading from PSN.

Goldfire86 said,
It isn't streaming all of the content, only the output and input.

Indeed. It's like a glorified remote control system... like VNC or RDP, but much better performing.

Thief000 said,

Knowing Sony and PSN, that very likely won't be the case.

I don't have any issues with Sony and their PSN service, in terms of speed or stability. It might be something at your end.