|Next Sony PlayStation to Stream Games|
Sony is planning to offer technology to stream games to its next videogame console, people familiar with the company's plans say, alongside other enhancements to bolster its position in the market.
The new technology, to be unveiled Wednesday along with the new console, will allow users to play games delivered over the Internet, these people said. The streaming service, they added, is designed to use current PlayStation 3 titles on the new console; the new device is also expected to play new games stored on optical discs.
Sony's plans come after it acquired Gaikai Inc. last year for $380 million. Though many companies now offer simple games over the Internet, Gaikai was one of several companies that offered online access to visually intense games, which ordinarily require specialized circuitry found on high-end personal computers and gaming consoles.
The streaming technology is one of the new features and enhancements expected to be offered with the new console, which Sony plans to unveil at an event in New York. Sony's new PlayStation, for example, may control the action with higher fidelity cameras for its "Move" motion-sensing technology and touch-sensing pads on new controllers, according to people who have seen and been briefed on the devices.
Microsoft, a longtime Sony rival that is expected to unveil its own next-generation console this year, has shown similar enhancements to that device, upgrades for the cameras and other components in its "Kinect" motion controller to better identify, track and hear gamers as they play, according to people who have been briefed on the company's prototypes.
But Sony's streaming technology may become one of the most talked-about parts of the new device. Industry executives often say they expect cloud gaming to become an important segment of the gaming market, noting that it keeps costs low for customers and allows them to easily play intricate games on mobile devices.
Still, Sony is pushing ahead and has been investing heavily to prepare Gaikai's service, people familiar with the matter say. Microsoft also has experimented with its own version of cloud gaming, people at the company have said, but has in the past questioned the costs associated with building a service large enough to reach all its customers.