This is a big deal for both companies: Samsung has an opportunity to put its smart TV hardware to good use, and Sony gets to expands the PlayStation service beyond its own devices.
Neither company has mentioned whether PlayStation Now will work with current Samsung smart TVs, or only with 2015 models. More details should come out in January, when Samsung shows off PlayStation Now on its TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Earlier this year Sony added PlayStation Now capabilities to a few of its own TVs, allowing users to stream PS3 games over the Internet and play them without any additional hardware besides a controller. Bringing the service to Samsung TVs – and, potentially, other third-party devices in the future – is a way for Sony to expand the reach of its catalogue. Most smart TVs have a pretty limited selection of apps, too, so the addition of PlayStation Now will be a big improvement – especially since PlayStation games are made to look good on the big screen.
PlayStation Now is currently available for beta testing on the PS4 and PS3 consoles; the PS Vita handheld gaming device; several Sony TVs; and the PlayStation TV, a small “microconsole” that allows users to stream games between devices.
The service allows users to stream more than 200 PS3 games, for different prices depending on how long the user wants access to the game (ranging from $2.99 for four hours to $14.99 for 90 days). Since games aren’t downloaded locally, storage isn’t an issue – but lag could be, if a user’s Internet connection isn’t fast enough. The service allows users to save their gaming progress in the cloud, so their achievements are logged just as if they were playing a game on a local device. PlayStation Now is still in an open beta stage, which might conclude before it comes to Samsung TVs.
For its part, Sony is also planning improvements to its own smart TVs. The company plans to ship screens running Android TV, a large-screen variation of the ubiquitous mobile operating system, beginning in February 2015. Android TV will allow Sony TVs to seamlessly integrate live television with Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming-video apps, and the TVs will also allow PS4 owners to stream their games over Wi-Fi. Sony’s new TVs will probably also include the PlayStation Now service, although the company hasn’t officially confirmed that yet.