Sony reportedly planned to bring PlayStation Now to phones

Apple may have known about the plan in advance.

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A Sony PlayStation video game logo is seen at the Paris Games Week, a trade fair for video games in Paris, France, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Microsoft wasn't the only big console maker hoping to bring its games to phones. The Verge said it has obtained a document from Epic Games' lawsuit against Apple indicating the iPhone maker had learned Sony was planning a "mobile extension" of PlayStation Now in 2017. The service would stream over 450 PS3 games at first, and follow up with PS4 titles.

Apple mentioned the PlayStation Now expansion as it was in the early stages of developing Apple Arcade, its answer to Sony's service as well as Xbox Game Pass. While Arcade didn't launch until 2019 and still doesn't include streaming, Apple saw PlayStation Now as indicative of a broader shift toward gaming subscriptions.

Provided Apple's scoop was accurate, it's unclear why Sony still isn't streaming games to smartphone owners. A hybrid of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus is reportedly due in spring 2022, but the relevant rumor didn't make mention of mobile access. Sony has already declined to comment.

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Not now

There may have been a few factors at work. Sony might not have wanted to test Apple policies effectively blocking cloud gaming apps — Microsoft had to use the web to get around that limitation. There are also familiar technical challenges, such as adapting gamepad-focused titles to touchscreens or ensuring reliable streams on cellular connections. Either way, this suggests Sony was at least considering a more ambitious version of PlayStation Now than the service you see today.

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Sony reportedly planned to bring PlayStation Now to phones