Despite PlayStation revealing a dedicated streaming device, Sony’s own CEO knows that cloud gaming still has its limits.
Last week, Sony unveiled the rumoured Project Q, a device that’s all about cloud streaming. Think something along the lines of the Nintendo Switch, except you can’t play it on your TV, all of your games can only be streamed via the cloud, and it looks like someone snapped a PS5 controller in half and stuck it to an off brand tablet. It was an underwhelming reveal, mostly because while cloud gaming has made some strides, it obviously isn’t there yet, with internet speeds being the biggest barrier for most people. And in a recent interview with the Financial Times (thanks, VGC), Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida himself expressed that he knows there are still technical difficulties when it comes to cloud gaming.
“I think cloud itself is an amazing business model, but when it comes to games, the technical difficulties are high,” Yoshida said on the topic of latency, i.e. the time between pressing a button and the response that happens in game, and how that’s the biggest hurdle to overcome. “So there will be challenges to cloud gaming, but we want to take on those challenges.”
Yoshida also touched on how peak hours for gaming during the day fluctuates a lot, with a big number of players logging on once they’ve finished work, and how it’s financially inefficient to run when there aren’t many players online. On top of that, a large number of players logging on at once could also cause issues. The CEO referred to that period of the day as “the dark time,” expanding upon that by saying, “The dark time for cloud gaming had been an issue for Microsoft as well as Google, but it was meaningful that we were able to use those [quieter] hours for AI learning.”
Details on Project Q are pretty light at the moment, with the main features being an 8-inch LCD screen capable of 1080p resolution at 60fps, and obviously the main thing being able to stream your PS5 games wherever you are. Whether it can fill a gap that Sony might want to in the handheld market remains a big question though, as the benefit of the Switch and the Steam Deck is that it doesn’t rely on having a good internet connection. So who knows what the use cases for Project Q will actually be.