LAS VEGAS - At last year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony made waves when it announced PlayStation Now: a cloud-based streaming service that provided PS3 games without a console. As of CES 2015, you no longer even need a Sony TV. PlayStation Now will be available for select Samsung TVs this year, and the service works just as well as on its Sony competitors.
I went hands-on with the Samsung PS Now app, and found that it was familiar on all counts. The best and most damning thing I can say about PS Now on Samsung TVs is that it's identical to PS Now on Sony TVs and consoles. The overall gameplay experience is still excellent, but the graphical fidelity leaves something to be desired.
To test the app, I went head-to-head with a fellow journalist in Street Fighter IV on a 65-inch Samsung SUHD TV. Street Fighter is known for its fast-paced, demanding competitive gameplay, and the PS Now app did not disappoint on this count. Both my opponent and I pulled off spectacular martial arts feats and special attacks without any lag whatsoever. The animation was fluid, and the DualShock 4 controller synced perfectly with the Samsung TV.
What was not perfect, however, was the way the game looked. Just like the PS Now tests on Sony systems, the app had a tendency to get blurry or lose resolution when the action onscreen sped up. Depending on the wireless connection, the game could look perfect, like a PS2 title, or anything in-between. Sony generally recommends that players utilize PS Now with an Ethernet port, but given how Samsung touts its TVs' wireless features, I'm not sure that everyday users will take the advice to heart.
The PlayStation Now app will be free on Samsung TVs, although it requires a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controller. Individual game rentals cost varying amounts of money. Only certain TVs will have access to it, so check Samsung's website for more details as new models become available in 2015.