Sony’s switch to AMD processors for its next-generation console has some worried about backward compatibility for older games due to a different architecture. Previous generations of the PlayStation have always offered backward compatibility for old games, for example PS1 disks would work on the PS2, while PS2 games worked on the PS3, but the new PlayStation is expected to use AMD x86 chips which aren’t compatible with the old architecture.
But there’s no need to worry according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Sony will be using Gaikai, a company it purchased last year that can stream games over the Internet in real time by sending compressed video frames, to stream games to its PlayStation 4 console. This means that even though the new console won’t have backward compatibility for optical disks, you’ll still be able to access PlayStation 3 games on the new system, though they won’t necessarily be bringing in brand-new games with this service. This isn’t the first mention of Gaikai’s presence in the new system as the Japanese business daily Nikkei had previously said that it would be present, alongside reports of the console costing about ¥40,000 or around $400.
Sony might not be streaming PlayStation 4 games due to the difficulties it might already encounter with streaming PS3 games. So far, game streaming services such as Gaikai and OnLive have only delivered a maximum of 720p content, and reliably streaming that content already requires a fairly consistent connection and servers in close proximity. Also Gaikai has previously only streamed PC games so PlayStation 3 games might be a leap. This might also become a problem for countries with low-bandwidth Internet connections such as the Philippines, where streaming games will be a feat.
At the very least we’ll hopefully be getting more official word as the rumored February 20th launch date of the PlayStation 4 draws closer.
Source: The Verge