One of the big promises Sony made when announcing the PlayStation 4 is the eventual inclusion of the ability to stream older titles. The acquisition of Gaikai will make this possible, and according to recent reports, we know when it will be implemented.
According to Eurogamer, the service will enter full distribution in third quarter 2014 in North America. It will then come to other territories in 2015.
"But what's important is to understand the full scope of what we're trying to achieve and why we felt the Gaikai acquisition was important," said Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO told Eurogamer. "Our goal is to be able to have a new form of game distribution streamed from the server side, initially to PS4 consoles then gradually moving that out to Vita."
"We think there's a great opportunity to broaden the market, because you essentially remove the need to make the console purchase in order to have access to that experience," House said. The Gaikai service will be able to bring PlayStation 3 titles to the PlayStation 4, but the mechanism for purchasing access (and if previous PlayStation 3 licenses will be considered) is unknown right now.
Sony's PlayStation cloud gaming service is one of the most exciting differentiators coming to the PlayStation 4. Sony does have an uphill battle. Perception is against them after the stumbles experienced by the OnLive service. Additionally, those that have spent a lot on digital PlayStation 3 titles will expect access to those games when the service launches. There's great potential in this service if Sony manages to navigate the implementation correctly.