Is the PS4 Digital Library the first true step toward cloud gaming on consoles?
Most console gamers are already well aware of the staggering number of online services which have sprung up on both the PSN as well as Xbox Live. Moreover, it would seem that some emerging games and franchises have even been experimenting with incorporating new online features for quite some time as well. To put it succinctly, console gaming seems to have been taking small, calculated steps towards fully integrating cloud services gaming. Not surprisingly, the PS4 Digital Library seems to be one of the first cloud-like gaming systems to emerge from next-generation consoles.
But before we get too far into that, let’s define what cloud gaming is first. For those of you who don’t know, cloud gaming is essentially any system that lets you play a game (even one which requires use of extensive hardware and resources) through an internet connection. However, unlike many contemporary examples, you aren’t just sharing tiny bits of data related to a game that you’re running locally (on your own hardware); instead, you’re streaming everything which is being run from a remote location.
Don’t get the wrong idea here though, PS4’s digital library isn’t really a cloud gaming system, it’s actually just a way of providing PS4 account holders with more access options as far as their purchased content is concerned. For example, let’s say you go over to a friend’s house and want to load up and play that title you recently purchased, right? Well, with the PS4 digital library, you can simply log into your account on their console in order to download and play your chosen title. However, what really makes the PS4 DL so cool is that it allows you to begin playing a game almost immediately as well (even if the download hasn’t finished yet!).
The “play as you download” system that Sony has developed for the PS4 and its Digital Library of games, essentially means that you won’t ever have to wait for a game to install before jumping straight into it. For those that prefer to install games, this new capability is a fairly novel and very welcome addition which only further streamlines the already attractive-looking PS4.
Of course the question is, how long before this newfound concept or ability is fully applied to something like dedicated cloud gaming? The idea of completely abandoning discs altogether (in favor of the cloud) has been on the minds of quite a few notable individuals within the gaming community. Rest assured, people are working on bigger and better cloud delivery systems for consoles, even as we speak. Regardless, the PS4 digital library certainly marks a small step toward the technical realization of cloud gaming on a Sony console.