PlayStation had once planned to bring its PlayStation Now game streaming service to mobile devices, according to a confidential Apple document.
The Verge, which obtained the file as part of the Epic v. Apple trial, explains that Apple had insider knowledge in 2017 of PlayStation’s plans to bring the service to mobile. PS Now originally streamed to the PS3 and PS Vita, as well as smart TVs and Blu-ray players, before shifting to PS4 (and, later, PS5) and PC. Otherwise, it’s never come to phones or tablets.
At the time, Apple was referring to PlayStation’s potential PS Now plans because it was preparing its own gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade. The Apple service was eventually launched in 2019, exclusively on Apple devices.
Given that this was an account from Apple, no reason was provided as to why Sony ultimately never brought PlayStation Now to mobile. It’s a particularly notable decision since rival console maker Xbox has been going big with its own game streaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming, on Android and iOS. Further, services like Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now have launched over the past few years to offer their own approaches to game streaming on mobile.
Sony also purchased cloud startup Gaikai in 2012 for $380 million USD (about $487 million CAD in 2021), as well as its competitor, OnLive, which makes its comparative quieter moves in the game streaming space all the more prominent.
That said, there is always the possibility that Sony could expand PlayStation Now to mobile in the future. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Sony is planning to combine PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus into a new tiered service that offers a catalogue of PS4, PS5 and retro games as well as streaming. While Bloomberg didn’t cite any plans to bring PS Now to mobile, it’s easy to see how the service — codenamed ‘Spartacus’ — could go down that route.
Beyond general speculation, what adds credence to the possibility of PS Now on mobile are recent comments made by PlayStation boss Jim Ryan himself. Back in October, Ryan lamented the fact that even PlayStation’s most successful games will typically only reach ten or 20 million people, given how many people own consoles.
“I would also like to see a world where the games that we make at PlayStation can be enjoyed by many tens of millions of people. Perhaps hundreds of millions of people,” said Ryan.
So far, PlayStation has begun to bring several once-console exclusives to PC, including Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War. But the biggest way to find an even larger audience, of course, would be through mobile. The company has also been hiring for key mobile-related positions over the past several months, although it’s unclear what, exactly, it has planned for them.
Source: The Verge