Is PS Now a good enough solution to the PS4's lack of backwards compatibility?
With Sony having announced the PlayStation Now service, which allows customers to stream older PlayStation games on a variety devices without having to first download them, PS4 fans were ecstatic that they finally have a solution to the system's lack of backwards compatibility -- or so it would seem.
"For a PS4 consumer, someone who has just bought a PS4, there’s been a lot of talk about no PS3 backwards compatibility," John Koller, VP of of Marketing for SCEA, told IGN (via PSU). “This is not the answer to backwards compatibility but it does allow you to have the engagement with a great line-up of titles that maybe you didn’t get to experience on PS3."
First off, it's important to realize that PlayStation Now doesn't make the PS4 backwards compatible. It only allows users to play select PSOne, PS2, and PS3 games on certain devices, the PS4 being one of them (along with the Vita, a Sony-branded television, or some other connected-device). It's also a service, meaning users will have to rent games individually or pay some sort of monthly subscription for unlimited access to the entire library. Furthermore, subscribing to this service doesn't mean you can just pop in your old PlayStation 3 disc and begin playing. To that end, PlayStation Now isn't the answer. But it is a solution.
Is it the end all, be all? Hopefully not, as your PlayStation 3 library of games remains useless if you don't own the console. Now obviously the best solution for PS4 owners with a library of older games would be to offer some sort of functionality in which the stream recognizes you own the game and allows you to play it for free. Heck, even some sort of discount for PS Plus members would help ease the pain of owning a collection of now-useless PS3 discs. As it is now, you don't even own the games when renting them -- even if you actually own the original disc.
I don't know if Sony has a bigger plan in all of this; I really don't think they need one for the PS4 to be a success at this point. Maybe this whole issue doesn't even need "the answer." Honestly, I believe I'm in the minority at this point for wanting full backwards compatibility offered on the PS4. I'd argue that most of the 4.2 million PS4 owners are willing to overlook the system's lack of backwards compatibility and are perfectly content with PS Now -- well, depending on its price which has yet to be revealed.