Sony has making good use of its time in Japan to fill in some important details about the PlayStation 4. For starters, Sony announced its own PlayStation 4 smartphone and tablet app earlier in the year, but confirmed a November launch date for the app on Thursday. It turned out that this would be the first of several pieces of information that Sony would reveal about its next-generation console this week.
When Sony bought video game cloud streaming service Gaikai in 2012, speculation went rampant on how the company planned to implement the technology. The most reasonable guess was that Sony would use the cloud to stream older PS3 games to the PS4, which would ease the pain of the PS4’s lack of backwards compatibility and free the 500GB hard drive up for downloadable games and disc installs. This assumption was soon validated, but Sony only gave a very vague timetable for when the service would actually be available.
Several months later, we finally have an update. IGN reports that Sony is currently preparing an initial library of PS3 games that it will launch with the Gaikai streaming service in the United States sometime in 2014. That’s all we know, and with the release of the PS4 less than two months away, it might be the last update concerning the streaming service until the console hits store shelves.
The other big news we learned about the upgrade program is that it will give gamers the opportunity to save money when transitioning from PS3 to PS4 with select cross-platform games. Sony announced on the PlayStation Blog that four games will be supported for this program: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch_Dogs, and Battlefield 4.
“When you buy the Blu-ray Disc or digital version of these select PS3 games, for a limited time, you will receive an entitlement to download a PS4 digital copy of the same game from PlayStation Store when it becomes available, at the discounted price of $9.99,” Sony explained. “Gamers who purchase a PS3 Blu-ray Disc of these four games will find a code packed into the PS3 version that they can redeem on PlayStation Store. To play the PS4 version of the game when it becomes available, you’ll need to insert the original PS3 disc in your PS4 to activate and play the PS4 version, so hang onto that PS3 disc!”
Buying the digital version of any of these games will automatically authorize your account for the upgrade, so no extra steps are necessary. Keep in mind, though, that the program expires on January 31st, 2014 for Assassin’s Creed IV and Watch_Dogs, March 28th for Battlefield 4, and March 31st for Call of Duty: Ghosts.
By saving these announcements for TGS, Sony has kept the PlayStation 4 fresh in our minds. Between the upcoming PS3 streaming lineup, $10 cross-platform upgrades, a full-featured companion PlayStation App, and the set-top box known as the PS Vita TV, Sony has easily kept pace or even surpassed Microsoft in terms of the sheer volume of news. Of course, the true measure of success is whether or not the PS4 will find its way into more living rooms and that is something that we won’t know about until several months from now.