Instant Streaming: Top Three (Future) Perks Playstation Now is the Pong of our generation. Not because it is a surprisingly addictive gaming experience (it isn’t) but because it’s a humble beginning that will change how players perceive games. (Technically OnLive should be called the Pong of our generation…but everyone forgot about it, so its the game that came before Pong that no one can recall.) Today, Playstation Now allows gamers to stream (select) PS3 games to a PS4, Vita or PS3. The pricing is abysmal, but most people are optimistic concerning its performance. The service is a great opportunity to beating short games, playing rare titles, as an extended demo service and an alternative to physical purchases. Its true value is what streaming services will mean for the future of gaming. Video Game Preservation The Internet’s Greg Miller said, “Old game, is old” on numerous occasions. He is correct. Old games wear down, aren’t published and are pulled from store shelves. The cartridges, disks and data of previous generations will deteriorate and become unplayable. How many of us still own a working copy of our first game? With streaming services, the classics will be catalogued and retained. The industry will create it’s own Library of Congress where the work of developers can live on for future generations. Preserving our past is a necessary act to continue moving forward. As streaming services compete, they will want to boast the highest possible number of available titles. It is in their (and our) best interest for all games of previous generations to be added to their stockpiles. Unified Console Space The PC, the master race, is practically the one-stop shop for all games…but it isn’t there yet. I believe that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will transition their operations from home consoles to streaming services. Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus compete against each other for movie and television streaming, but they can all be played from the same device. (Obviously, Apple TV blocks Amazon Prime…but that is the exception). Competition will thrive, but the battleground will shift. If the gaming companies are producing content to stream instead of hardware, the upfront cost of accessing any game will shrink. Instead owning multiples devices and controllers, players can interact with games through the same gaming rig for each company. This ease of accessibility would benefit the industry as anyone who owned a streaming game device could access any game. Gamers would see a reduction in shovelware and quality games would earn decisive victories from their competitors. Revival of the Mid-Tier With streaming services, the tangible costs of printing, packaging, storing, shipping and logistics of video game development will cease. This should take a large burden off of the mid-tier developer whose presence is diminishing. Video games continually shows itself as a little brother to television. Already, streaming services create original programming on smaller budgets than television proper. These shows receive critical and fan success. There is no reason why the video game industry wouldn’t mirror this process. The Digital Future Its inevitable. It started with music, is overwhelming movies and games will be the final piece of an all-digital media world. Playstation Now is taking the first few (necessary) steps towards that future. It will stumble. A lot. It might not be the Pong of our generation, but another one of the games before it people can’t remember. Streaming services are a necessary evolution of the industry, and its starting…Now. Level Up, Friends!