PS5 cloud gaming tests show Sony has its head in the cloud, but its ear to the ground — here’s why

PlayStation Cloud Gaming
(Image credit: Future)

You may remember I expressed my frustration that no company has managed to nail cloud gaming yet. Turns out Sony may have been listening, as the company has launched a test of cloud streaming PS5 games — an enticing glimpse into the future of what we could see from PlayStation in this realm.

This test is small in scale, but its implications are massive for the future of PlayStation Plus and its new cloud gaming arm. Let’s see what Sony is up to.

PlayStation Game Pass?

PlayStation Q Lite

Sony recently revealed the PlayStation Project Q Lite, a DualSense-themed handheld console that focuses on Remote Play. (Image credit: Insider Gaming)

“We’re currently testing cloud streaming for supported PS5 games – this includes PS5 titles from the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog and Game Trials, as well as supported digital PS5 titles that players own,” says Nick Maguire, VP of global services, global sales, and business operations at Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

Did you see it? The five words at the end there: “PS5 titles that players own.” Sure, it’s prefaced with saying select digital titles that are supported, but this is a big step in the right direction. This would be a nice workaround to the dreaded DRM issues, which gives you immediate access to everything you own alongside a separate library of new titles to try.

One piece of bad news, though. Maguire went on to say that “cloud game streaming for supported PS5 titles will be available for use directly on your PS5 console.” For anyone expecting the full cloud gaming roll-out, hold your breath for now. But Sony is making all the right moves for it.

Putting my hopes sky high

Backbone one - PlayStation Edition for Android

The Backbone One is a similar handheld device to Sony's PlayStation Project Q Lite, though it is also able to make use of cloud gaming through services like Xbox GamePass, Amazon Luna, and Nvidia GeForce NOW. (Image credit: Future)

Of course, there are some more immediate reasons behind this shift. With the Project Q streaming handheld on the way later this year, it’s logical that Sony would want to sharpen up its cloud gaming offering for use with this device.

However, the move is a lot bigger than that — one of a company that is finally realizing that remote play (for all its strengths in reducing latency) is not the right direction. Through remote play, you can stream PS5 games to PCs and Macs, as well as smartphones, but your PS5 needs to be turned on and have these games installed to work.

But given that PlayStation chief Jim Ryan teased “quite aggressive plans” for cloud gaming, it’s not far out of scope to speculate that more could be coming, such as mobile cloud gaming (that Backbone One PlayStation Edition would be perfect for it) and an in-browser option too — none of which require games to be pre-installed on your PS5.

There’s a long way to go yet, but this jewel of potential reopens a lot of my dreams for what a true cloud gaming element of PlayStation Plus could look like.

PlayStation’s future is bright

My wants for the perfect cloud gaming service are simple:

  • Something that gives you immediate access to the games you own (either online or disc-based).
  • Has additional tiers for access to a ‘Netflix for gaming’ style catalog.

From the way Sony is talking in its blog, and its current game streaming offering, PlayStation seems to have lined up all its chess pieces for quite an aggressive attack on Xbox’s current cloud gaming dominance.

And it has everything it needs to run fast. Now we just need to start seeing cloud gaming tested in browsers and on phones, and this could be a formidable offering for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.