The PS4 might not be backwards compatible…at least, now how we expect.

According to sources familiar with Sony's plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that the PlayStation 4 will be able to stream PS3 games over the Internet. This streaming service will also play new games stored on optical discs.

This is just one PS4 feature among others that is specifically designed to "bolster its position in the market," although they didn't go into further detail. However, you may recall that last year, Sony acquired streaming company Gaikai last year for $380 million and since that time, the Gaikai website has teased images from the Uncharted and Killzone franchises. Lastly, Sony has updated their PlayStation Meeting 2013 website to include a video called "PlayStation Evolution," so everyone's gettin' excited. It seems like the PS4 unveiling is only a few days away!

It'll be very interesting to see how people respond to the announcement.

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WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Wait what? It's going to stream games over the internet from optical discs that it can't play? This is hurting my brain.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
8 years ago

Right?

I guess that would be a way to handle bandwidth issues and other factors I only understand when Highlander speaks, even then im lost.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

I think what this means is that if you insert a PS3 disc into your ps4 the system will stream the data from servers to play the game.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
8 years ago

Like the old Netflix disc?

Simcoe
Simcoe
8 years ago

I like Temjin's explanation, popping the disc in proves to Sony that you "own" the game and therefore shouldn't have to pay to play something you already own. Hoping it'll work the same way with PS2 and PS1 discs too!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Yeah that would be cool but I don't see how streaming games are suddenly gonna work well.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

I guess that feature is better than nothing but streaming PS3 games will be a definite downgrade to just playing your games on a PS3.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

That may not be true.
If Sony goes for a caching model with Gaikai, the games could potentially look and feel exactly as if they were being played on a local machine, or in this case, the PS3.

Since the DuelShock 4 is said to be nearly identical to the DuelShock 3, I doubt there'll be much of a difference at all.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

Have you tried something like onlive?
The controller latency in games, especially like racers, is noticeably worse. And see Onlive did well too mask it because the streamed games were running from a PC. PC games have measurably a lot less input lag for various technical reasons. 80 to 150ms lag in many traditional console third party titles was reasonably masked by streaming a PC version of the same game from Onlive. Inherently to send a response across a network and back presents a lot more latency than from a couch to console. But seeing that these games aren't PC games I find it really unlikely these streamed games will compare to the physical ps3 in your home. We haven't even started talking about how ugly macro-blocking looks on fast moving games either.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

and caching? caching as in memory directly accessed by a CPU for processing?
The ps4 doesn't have a cell processor among other things so that comment makes no sense to me.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

Temjin001, yes I've used OnLive, and have had absolutely no problems with the service whatsoever. If anything, it feels as if it is being played on a local system, even when using the Microconsole, which has a traditional controller. If anything, the complex 360 degree movement of the computer mouse would cause more latency, as the user is able to move the mouse at a far faster pace than a game controllers analog stick.

As for caching, the 'cloud' services (Gaikai) would likely save a small portion of the game to the PS4's hard drive and/or RAM, which the PS4 can then use, in combination with emulation software, to play the game locally.
Every few levels a new portion or 'chunk' of the game will be downloaded and saved to the PS4, and the older already-played levels will be deleted. This way, the PS4 would save space, and the user would be able to load the additional levels or scenes without downloading them, as they would have already been downloaded to the console during your actual gameplay.

Me and Highlander are having a conversation about the possibility for the PS4 to support PS3 software via emulation. Everything *can* be emulated or converted, that really isn't the problem. The problem is creating an emulation technology powerful enough to convert code to a system vastly different than the one it was designed for. In theory, such an emulation program wouldn't be entirely out of the question, and once the general frame has been created, it would really only be a matter of converting various technologies used on the PS3 to be compatible with PS4 architecture. This would likely be done by hand on a game by game basis, but can also be done by flicking a sort of 'switch' that would basically rewrite code A to function as code B, and do so in a way that maintains general performance.

It's not impossible, just a lot of work for Sony to do. Still, this amount of work, although expensive in terms of hiring a team of dedicated and experienced programmers, is far, far, far cheaper than building the largest and likely most powerful cloud gaming network in the world.

Obviously Sony plans to do something with Gaikai, and I guess all we can do is wait until February 20th before we can actually get a glimpse as to what their plans truly are. Speculation only goes so far.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

wiiplay, the concept of streaming data into ram rather than from disc or HDD was explored with PS3 already. I remember Sony stating that leading up to the slim's release. they contemplated releasing an HDD'less PS3. They abandoned this idea for various reasons. Also, This is entirely different than the concepts behind Gakai or OnLive. Sony would'nt have purchased Gakai for that reason as the tech to achieve what youve suggested, network delivery of data, could be accomplished without Gakai.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 2/17/2013 1:15:48 AM

duomaxwell007
duomaxwell007
8 years ago

Im sure it wont be free sooo charge me to play game si already have? umm no

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

If you already own a physical copy of the game, I'm sure you'd be able to play it on your PS4 either for free, or with a PlayStation Plus membership.
I highly doubt Sony is going to force you to pay a monthly membership on top of initially purchasing the game, the system and/or PlayStation Plus.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Man, nobodies internet is gonna be powerful and reliable enough to make use of that sheeit.

Underdog15
Underdog15
8 years ago

Mine would be. It's not the best, but 80mbps isn't bad. I could upgrade though.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

Yeah, internet has come a long way. I personally have a 60 mbps connection, while most people have 5 mbps or higher.
Streaming isn't an issue for most people, the issue is latency and network reliability. Speed is there, but the reliability may not be.

I plan to get a 175 connection (down/up) later this year, so I'm all set for a streaming service, assuming Sony has enough servers to handle the load.


Last edited by wiiplay on 2/17/2013 6:32:16 AM

wiley_kyotee
wiley_kyotee
8 years ago

I heard a radio commercial over the weekend from Comcast that stated they are going to have 200 Mbps service available to the public this summer. No price was given or if this will be for all or only limited markets.

Gordo
Gordo
8 years ago

Nope. So if I want to play my MGS4 full to the brim Bluray disk on my PS4 I will need to put the disk in and download 50GB over the next week!

Phew, my Internet provider is going to get rich!!!

JROD0823
JROD0823
8 years ago

I would prefer this route.

Physical b/c is impractical, unnecessary, (everyone that has PS3, PS2, and PS1 games has at least 1 PS3 and 1 PS2 to play these games with already, or at least they should!) more expensive, (it'll jack up the cost of the system!) and dumb (keep your old consoles handy, it's not difficult!). LOL

All sarcasm aside, I think that if this turns out to be true, it will satisfy not only those wanting to play PS3 games on their PS4, but those who think that keeping costs down will draw in more early adopters/converts.

I hope they make it so.


Last edited by JROD0823 on 2/16/2013 1:53:56 AM

Zeronoz
Zeronoz
8 years ago

Why on earth would I wanna play a ps3 game on the ps4 when I still have a ps3 (+ rebuying what I have is against my policy). The games of the ps3 might stop coming but its worth as a blu-ray remains!

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

I'd much, *much* prefer a backward compatible console. I don't want to pay to play games I already own, and I don't want to be dependent on the speed of a internet connection when I got all the data stored on a disc right there beside the console.

JROD0823
JROD0823
8 years ago

@Zeronoz,

You missed my point entirely, friend.

Read below on my reply to Beam for clarity on what I said above.

@Beam,

That's why I said that you should keep your old consoles if you want to play your old games in my original comment.

Why make the new consoles more expensive by adding b/c when you already have your old consoles to play games with?

To put it in perspective, that would be like asking Nintendo to have a separate slot and the chips onboard for the NES, SNES, N64, and Gamecube to play games that you still have lying about at home in the Wii U.

Do you see how asking for full b/c is just plain silly (and unnecessary)?

The streaming service can be something optional for people that want to be on the cutting edge of console capability, or that just want to get rid of the clutter of their physical media.

Just keep your old consoles, friend, it's just as easy to do!


Last edited by JROD0823 on 2/16/2013 3:16:13 PM

Zeronoz
Zeronoz
8 years ago

BY THE GODS! Is this "streaming" similar to video streaming? There`s no way on Earth my internet can handle that!! Just downloading a 4GB worth of files takes time, heck, I can`t even stream 360p youtube video without let it buffer first…

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

No it's not. Problem is everyone associate the word "streaming" with one way media streams (Youtube, Spotify, Netflix, those services) and then automatically assume it's the same we talk about here.

It doesn't have to be, and I find it extremely unlikely that it is. You don't need a fully fledged gaming computer just to handle a video stream. It would be idiocy to build a latency dependent service in a high latency way.

This will however most likely mean that we will mostly be offered the 1st party exclusives, since it will require a bit of engineering in order to implement into the service and I'm not sure if the 3rd party studios will let them do that.
Time will tell!


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2013 2:44:27 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

It's not the video stream that's the issue, it's the controller input lag for games that use real time controls.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

We've been down this route before, Highlander. The controller input will be handled locally, as will the rendering.

Trust me on this one. There's no way whatsoever that the entire computing job will be done remote. No way, I say!


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2013 2:52:36 AM

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

I agree with @Beamboom. Although I'm sure Sony could *technically* stream the game in its' entirety over the internet, similar to what OnLive has been doing. However, that would be far too costly for even Sony to implement, which is why a complete 'raw' stream is very unlikely. (at least, on a global scale)

The games will likely be cached onto the system, either in local storage or RAM, possibly a combination of the two. When you load a level, that level will be sent to and saved locally on your PS4, and when you've finished that level, it will then be deleted and replaced with a new level. Chances are, once you've progressed past a certain point, normally known as a trigger area, the next level will begin to download as to reduce the amount of loading between one level to the next.


Last edited by wiiplay on 2/16/2013 2:58:23 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Guys, if the game could run locally, you wouldn't need to stream it. If it has to be streamed you can't cache code locally, nor can you handle controller input locally. Beamboom, you of all people should know this.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

@Highlander
Quote"Beamboom, you of all people should know this."Unquote

Hey, I take some offence to that statement, Highlander. :p I'm a video game developer, and operate a website hosting business. If anything, I of all people should 'know this'.

Still, I do have to agree with Beanboom here.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

WiiPlay, I am a software developer also, so unless you have some inside knowledge that you're willing to break NDA over, the current understanding of the architecture of PS4 is that it will not emulate the PS3. If you would care to explain how it is that you can cache the PS3 game code and run it locally on the PS4.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

Aha now *that* is an interesting question Highlander, one that is worthy of an article of it's own.

Cause, can we take for granted that in fact the PS4 is not, or can't be, able to run ps3 code even though Sony say so?
From a corporate point of view, what is more lucrative: To offer a *charged* service to run old code, or just let the consumer run his old code whenever wherever without any further income for your business.

A leading question, I know. But it is healthy to sometimes stop and ask ourselves, are we getting the *whole* story here. Or, are we dealing with a corporation who play by corporate rules?

The fact of the matter is this: A vast majority of all code in any given project is platform independent. Yes, platform *independent*.
All the stuff that handles the actual game mechanics, score system, character development, progression, storyline, all that stuff can be called "platform independent code".

Graphically it's either OpenGL or Direct X APIs, and that's that.
The audio API is the same across the entire board. You can connect a PS3 controller to a PC and it works. You can bind a mobile handsfree on the PS3 and it works. Ergo their API are standardized.
Things are a *lot* more standardized than consumers like to think, cause really, it is the only viable route to go.

What *is* platform dependent in a code is relatively speaking just a very few components, and typically focused on a few specific areas. Therefore, to write code who wraps around those few areas where platform specific code is involved, is not that deadly of a challenge. *Especially* on a machine that is significantly more powerful than the system the code is written for, it could be done with no practical loss of performance at all, compared to when that code is running on it's native platform.

So, what do we have here? A case of backward compatibility being technically impossible… Or a corporate, strategic decision?


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2013 4:03:29 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Beamboom, talk of OpenGl and whatnot is irrelevant to the task of emulating a PS3 with PS4 architecture to run a PS3 game of a game disc. we're talking about the ability to run the encrypted and signed executables, not recompile for a new target platform.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

But encrypted data can be unencrypted on the PS4 side as long as they got the key? I don't understand what you mean here – you talk about encrypting the stream, right?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

*head explodes*

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

I'm referring the the game executables for PS3 games beamboom. They are both encrypted and digitally signed. To run a PS3 game locally from a disc or downloaded, the PS4 would have to be capable of decrypting the executable and verifying the authenticity of the digital signature, just as the PS3 does, before actually running the code.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

I don't see how that will work if the PS4 can't run the PS3 game, then the server is running it and sending the video. The problem is that the controls will be horribly laggy.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

Unless they were to cache the game onto disk before the player loads the level, and loading each part in as the player progresses.
Caching the game would virtually eliminate the control lag (ie. latency) as you would be playing a local version of the game.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

read my post again. If they have to stream the game play, the game is NOT running on the console. If the game is not running on the console, no amount of caching will help you, the controller lag is caused by sending your controller input across the Net to the server where it's processed and the resulting movement is sent back to you as streamed gameplay.

I already have the game discs, why would I need to stream the PS3 games if the PS4 is capable of running the game itself and I already have the disc? The controller lag is inherent in a packet switched network – which the Internet is and always will be.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

Highlander, I don't believe you understand how this caching technique really works.
You would be playing the game on your local machine, sending controller data to your local machine. Essentially, the game is being played locally, but downloading new and additional levels or areas at a dynamic level. For example, if you start up the game, the first few levels would be loaded. (assuming it's a small game). For this example, let's say three levels were cached onto the system. Those three levels are then playable instantly. Once you get to level two, a few more levels are saved to your local machine, and the first level is then deleted. Repeat this process, and you have a cached game.

The data itself comes from the cloud, but the game is technically being played locally.

edit:

As for the "I already have the disc" quote. I honestly do not know why they wouldn't just allow local disc-based play, where the games are read off of the disc.
The best I can come up with is the emulation software used. Possibly only a select list of games will function, so rather than having you attempt to play every PS3 game on the PS4, which could potentially cause glitches or bugs with the emulator, they only allow a select few to function via a controlled caching network.

Still, no idea why. That's just my own personal guess.


Last edited by wiiplay on 2/16/2013 3:06:41 AM

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

Another guess is, quite simply, this may be a premium feature for Plus subscribers. Having it operate through the cloud would allow Sony to determine who can and cannot play, or who has Plus, and who doesn't.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

WiiPlay.

The PS4 will be an x86 based design, if the PS4 could emulate the architecture of the PS3 sufficiently to work as you describe there would be no need to use any form of streamed content for PS3 backwards compatibility, especially as PS3 games will continue to be made and sold for some time to come.

The PS4 can't and won't emulate the PS3 locally, so the fantasy world that you and Beamboom are living in will not exist.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

@Highlander; if the games are truly being streamed, which I do not believe is the case, Sony would require hundreds of dedicated servers located throughout the world in order to provide a consistent latency-free service.
Although this isn't technically out of the question, as Sony could still launch within a small geographical area, such as United States, Japan and Canada. The likelihood of them restricting access to such a key feature based on ones location is very low. I mean, just imagine the media headlines if they did that. "Sony locks PS3 backwards compatibility to three countries" would be a common media trend for a very, very long while.

Let's face it, Gaikai is going to be used in some way or form. Either it be caching or true cloud-based streaming. It's coming, and I can only hope it'll be available via a caching method. This would allow for worldwide service, rather than just a select group of people based on where they live.

Now, if they did go for total cloud, imagine how many servers Sony would require to cover all of the regions the PS4 is sold. That would cost Sony far too much to do, even if they didn't expand straight away, they would be at a significant profit loss, and simply wouldn't make any money back on console sales or software sales alone.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

You can't cache what you can't run locally. If PS4 can run PS3 binaries locally, you do not even entertain the idiotic idea of game streaming when the games in question are still sold at retail.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

@Highlander,
"the fantasy world that you and Beamboom are living in will not exist"
Why so aggressive? Calm down, we are only talking about technology here, not your family or something.

*Everything* is fantasy at this stage. No-one knows anything about how this service is designed, we hardly even know the hardware specs of the console!
We are all just having a friendly conversation about something we all find interesting, speculating about how this might be designed. In all friendliness.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2013 3:33:34 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

So, that's a "no, I can't come up with anything" right Beamboom? You and WiiPlay enjoyed contradicting me, and have put forward no basis for that contradiction.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

I have been on topic in all my other posts, Highlander. This is not a fight, it's a plain normal, on-topic discussion. We discuss different theoretical solutions. And if you really, seriously after all these posts still don't see no basis for our thoughts and ideas, then that is just how you work.

I just think it is so unnecessary to use that tone. It would be nice if we didn't have to tackle these stabs from you whenever a discussion reaches a certain point.

We all know how you yourself react when it comes to insults so please, some of that same consideration in return would be appreciated. It's just so unnecessary.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/17/2013 1:15:04 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Beamboom, you need to learn the differnce between calling an idea idiotic and calling a person an idiot. One does not infer the other. I said that the concept was idiotic, not that WiiPlay or yourself were.

wiiplay
wiiplay
8 years ago

So, a more mainstream version of OnLive?

Not entirely sure what to think of this news.

Gaikai was never really a widespread platform back when it was a demo service for PC games. I just hope that Sony managed to expand Gaikai's reach, as if this rumor proves to be true, they'll have to have servers all over the world, and not just restricted within a single country or group of states / regions.

Unlike OnLive, when I used to demo stuff through Gaikai, I would get an unplayable amount of lag caused by the latency between me and the Gaikai server. Unless Sony has introduced a couple hundred servers, if not more, all around the world. Well, I just don't see how this could ever be a success, and the latency may end up ruining the experience.

Now, if they were to cache a portion of the game onto the PS4, and continue to load in new areas as the player progressed, that may create an experience with no lag, as you would essentially be playing the game locally. However, this would likely create far longer loading times, depending on your internet connection. A good portion of the level would have to be cached before you can even start playing, which can take quite a bit of time to do.

Whatever happens, I can only hope they do it properly. Caching it would be their best option here.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

Streaming/caching of code is not only the best option – it's the *only* option as far as I am concerned.

The thing here is you need an extra middle layer who looks ahead and cache *while* you play – not only during "loading screens". This is the core job of the streaming service.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2013 3:02:31 AM