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Custom-Built PS3s Set to Power PlayStation Now

The PlayStation Now streaming service relies on custom-built PS3s.

We know that PlayStation Now will be available on the PS3, along with other devices in the PlayStation universe. What Sony didn't add, however, is that Now will be powered by custom-built PS3 units.

According to a Digital Foundry report, Sony has built special PS3 hardware that will power the upcoming streaming service. They're using "custom console units" built into a single rack server so basically, Now's servers are PS3s.  Just... well, special PS3s. Said Richard Leadbetter:

"Gaikai was primarily a software team, but once it was bought up by Sony it was suddenly faced with a problem that could only be tackled by bespoke hardware. In creating new PS3 servers for the PlayStation Now, the team worked closely with their new colleagues in engineering, creating a new PS3 adapted to the cloud streaming challenge."

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of these specially designed PS3 consoles. Maybe those will pop up at some point in the future. The concept isn't totally alien; you may recall that early on in the previous generation, we heard reports of the PS3 being used as a supercomputer. In fact, scientists linked PS3s to take advantage of the console's prodigious power. Various studies really benefited, supposedly.

Will PS Now be as popular as Sony expects?

The idea of Now is simple. After all, there are streaming services everywhere these days, and Sony's isn't much different. If you want to rent a game, you can do so at any time, and you can play it on any Now-enabled device. Convenience and accessibility are keys to the experience; if it's easy and cheap, consumers are probably fine with it. The question is, are gamers?

Published Jan. 17th 2014

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