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CES 2014: Sony launches PlayStation Now streaming game service

By Dawn C. Chmielewski

11:44 AM PST, January 7, 2014

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Sony Computer Entertainment used the high-visibility stage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show to announce a new Internet streaming service that will deliver games beyond the video game console.

Sony will offer popular PlayStation 3 games via the Internet to the latest video game console, the PlayStation 4, and to the PlayStation Vita handheld device.

The service ultimately will reach beyond traditional game systems to allow game play on Internet-connected TVs, smartphones and tablets, said Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Executive Andrew House in remarks made during a keynote presentation Tuesday in Las Vegas.

PlayStation Now will stream on smartphones or other devices.

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

House said PlayStation Now will be tested in parts of the United States later this month, with the service launching this summer.  

Sony is demonstrating game play of four popular titles -- "Beyond: Two Souls," "Gods of War: Ascension," "The Last of Us" and "Puppeteer" -- on the PS Vita and Sony Bravia TVs on the trade show floor.

"PS Now will allow users to engage in the world of PlayStation, whether they're existing fans or have never owned a PlayStation platform," House said in prepared remarks.

Video game industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities expressed skepticism about PlayStation Now. He said a similar service, OnLine, which allowed people to rent games or play with a subscription fee, never caught on -- attracting only 300,000 subscribers. 

"It seems unlikely that a more narrowly focused product like PlayStation Now will succeed where OnLive failed — which was the latter’s inability to secure much content," said Pachter. "The publishers will be reticent to license to Sony without a big guarantee, and I don’t know if Sony is willing to commit to any guarantees." 

News of the service came as the Japanese electronics giant reported it sold 4.2 million PlayStation 4 game consoles over the holiday season.  

Some 9.7 million PlayStation 4 games also were sold over that same period, with top titles including "Call of Duty: Ghosts" from Activision Blizzard and "Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag" from Ubisoft and "Battlefield 4" from Electronic Arts.

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