Forget PS5 Pro — Sony’s cloud gaming service now streams PS5 games in 4K

Sony PS5 on a table next to a TV
(Image credit: Future)

There’s been a lot of talk about the PS5 Pro recently, with rumors suggesting that we may see the upgraded console arrive sometime in the latter months of 2024. But we are now wondering just how relevant that console might be, considering Sony has just stepped up its streaming efforts — with cloud gaming tests now underway (via The Verge).

Back in June Sony announced it had plans to start testing its PS5 cloud streaming service, and now it looks like the gaming public are being invited to take part. Or at least some of the people subscribed to PlayStation Plus Premium are, and it appears they’ll be able to stream those games in up to 4K resolution. Participants claim that 720p, 1080p and 1440p resolutions are also available if they want them.

For reference, cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass offers a maximum of 1080p resolution at 60 fps. If PlayStation really can consistently offer 4K gaming, without dropping the frame rate to 30 fps, then it would give Sony a clear advantage over its biggest rival. 

Though it’s currently unclear whether this 4K is rendering resolution or streaming resolution. The latter seems more likely, given what we’ve seen in other 4K games streaming like NVIDIA GeForce Now and Google Stadia. That would give playing games on your own console, rather than some far-off server, an advantage. Much like how a 4K Blu-ray offers better picture quality than streaming a 4K movie.

So if you’re still wondering what the point of a more advanced PS5 Pro might be, given the seemingly-imminent launch of a 4K PS5 streaming service, there’s your answer. That’s especially true when you consider rumors claiming the Pro console will actually be able to play games in 8K — even the best 8K TVs are still too expensive for most people.

It’s still not clear what future hardware will be needed to stream PS5 games from the cloud, but for now the trial is limited to those with a PS5 console. Here’s hoping that, like Xbox, Sony eventually expands availability to mobile, PC and maybe even the PS4. I certainly hope that the PlayStation Project Q handheld will be supported, especially if the rumored $300+ price tag is accurate.

Games reportedly included in this trial include God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West, Fortnite, Fall Guys, Destiny 2, Returnal, Demon’s Souls, Death Stranding, SackBoy A Big Adventure, Destruction AllStars plus trials for Resident Evil Village and Demon Slayer. Many of which are some of the best PS5 games you can buy.

Cloud saves are also included by default, which wasn’t always true on the old PlayStation Now service, meaning you have access to all your progress no matter how you’re playing it.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.