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PlayStation 5's cloud streaming arrives later this month

All aboard the cloud game market.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 11, 2023

3 Min Read
Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

PlayStation Plus' Premium subscribers will get access to cloud streaming by the end of October. 

The feature, first reported in June, is expected to hit Japan next week on October 17, followed by Europe on October 23. For North America, Sony aims to release it on October 30. Other regions that will have cloud streaming include Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

Supported PlayStation 5 games in PlayStation Plus' game catalog (and some games Premium members already own) will be available for streaming. Along with those games' specific DLC, it'll be possible to stream game trials.

"Without having to download a game, players can access PS5 game streaming with their PlayStation Plus Premium membership," wrote Sony. "We hope players will enjoy this new PS5 streaming feature that will be automatically added to their PlayStation Plus Premium membership." 

The Premium tier is the highest priced of the three memberships and, as of this past September, had its yearly cost go up from $120 to $160. With the incoming arrival of new PS5 models expected to hit weeks after cloud streaming does, Sony is working hard to entice (or refresh) new audiences into the console's player base.

Console makers are ready to include the cloud in their plans

As PlayStation is taking its first steps into the cloud game scene, Xbox has gradually made the market a key part of its ecosystem in recent years. As an extension of Xbox Game Pass, it's available through multiple platforms (like Meta Quest and Bing) and is playable on multiple devices, including third-party handhelds.

In late June, then-Sony Interactive president Jim Ryan said during the Microsoft/FTC trial that he believed the cloud game market would truly take off by 2025. Sony may be late compared to Xbox, but it still has plenty of time to take advantage of the cloud game market, and help define what it will be in the future.

The next PlayStation may be some years away, but cloud streaming will likely be a part of whatever the final version of the PlayStation 6 ends up being by then.

Even though PlayStation is somewhat late to the game, Omdia analyst George Jijiashvili noted it's ahead of Xbox in some regards. "Streaming supported PS5 titles that Premium subscribers own: In 2020, Xbox promised that this feature was coming imminently, but they still haven't delivered it."

"I don't believe that this is a feature that all subscribers to these 'cloud-enabled subscription services'...are clamoring for, [but] it's nevertheless a good nice-to-have for some occasions."

He similarly praised the inclusion of streaming game trials, saying it could "reduce that friction" of games that have become bigger in size. File size is a "significant barrier," and he believes the trials may "drive full-game sales outside of PS Plus Premium subscriptions."

Speaking to cloud streaming being presently exclusive to the PS5—Xbox, for comparison, can also stream to phones and the Xbox One—"underlines PlayStation's laser-focus on the sales of PS5 consoles," continued Jijiashvili.

"I don't think there is a technical limitation for streaming PS5 games to other devices, namely a PlayStation 4 or Windows PC. So to me, this decision was made to avoid a situation where non PS5-owners can stream PS5 games without having purchased a PS5."

His belief is further backed up by comments previously made by PlayStation's subscription head Nick Maguire. In June, Maguire said waiting to bring first-party games to PS Plus has been beneficial, as it helps renew interest in the service and helped increase their individual play hours.

The full list of regions (and features) that will gain PS5 cloud streaming through PlayStation Plus can be found here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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