The Playstation TV, as it's now called, is an £84.99 device that lies halfway between a Playstation 4 and an Apple TV. The console lets users stream music, TV and film content to the TV, in common with most set-top boxes, but it also acts as a mini Playstation: gamers can stream PS3 games, download Ps1, PSP and PS Vita games, play boxed copies of PS Vita games straight from the Vita card, and, if they own a PS4, play those games too, using remote play.
In essence, the console is a stationary version of the Playstation Vita, Sony's latest portable games console. Released in Japan and Asia in November 2013, it has the same chipsets and system software as the Vita (although, since games are played with a normal Playstation 3 controller, not every Vita game is compatible: the portable console has a touch screen, rear touchpad, motion sensors, camera and microphones, none of which are replicated in the Playstation TV).
But the most important aspect of Playstation TV, says Gartner analyst Brian Blau, is its forthcoming integration with Playstation Now, Sony's flat-price streaming service for games.
"There's going to be a lot of old games, classics, [in PS Now], games that you maybe played as a little kid," says Blau. "They were the great ones back then. But the service also has games all the way through to more recent titles.
"Imagine looking at a movie service like Netflix. They don't necessarily have the entire catalogue of movies, but certainly you can browse Netflix and see a blockbuster you missed a few years ago, for whatever reason. You can play catch-up in that way, and that's how they're thinking of Playstation Now."
Playstation Now will let gamers with a variety of devices play games streamed over a broadband connection. Unlike most downloadable software, the game itself runs on hardware in a data centre, and only the visuals and sound are sent, in real-time, to the player's system. That means that cheap hardware can theoretically play AAA titles.
According to Blau, that lets Sony position the Playstation TV to appeal to people who don't consider themselves hardcore gamers, but have a fondness that goes beyond casual gaming.
"It's a game changer if you believe that games are going to be really popular in households, or if you believe games can extend beyond the core gamer in the household, and I think that's the case.
"I think it's a smart move by Sony to try to extend the tentacles of their ecosystem, making devices and services that can touch people at different points throughout the day. And that's an approach that we've seen in different types of devices in the market.
"We look at Apple, and they do a good job of that, we look at Google and they do a good job of that. Sony's doing that in the spirit of games. Today, it looks like what they're doing is a good strategy."
Playstation Now isn't the first attempt to launch a streaming service for games. In 2012, US company Onlive closed its doors after failing to convince gamers that they didn't need to own their games, or the devices on which they were played.
"They were pitching convenience," said industry analyst Nicholas Lovell at the time. "No more physical discs, no more downloads, just fast instant games, whenever you wanted them. The problem was that those fast instant games were games that you didn't want."
With Sony offering not just the hardware, but the games to match, it has a step-up on Onlive. The company is also attempting to get a jump on technology issues by putting Playstation Now out as an open beta.
"This is a grand experiment, at least for them. It's somewhat of a risk," says Blau. "But having this open beta means that they can pre-empt some of the bigger issues."
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