It seems the PS4 is borrowing one of cloud gaming's best features.
Demos; consumers love them, developers and publishers hate them. Producing demos costs money and manpower, and that extra cash/effort doesn't always translate into more sales, even if the game itself is good. Sony may have made the process a lot easier with a little help from the cloud.
According to an announcement from Gaikai-founder and CEO, Dave Perry, PlayStation 4 owners will be able to access demos instantly via the witchcraft that is cloud gaming.
"Our goal is to make free exploration possible for every game in the PlayStation store," he announced at the currently streaming PS4 announcement event. "You browse the store, hit x, and instantly try the game. No download required."
It sounds similar to the system used for some PS3 games, where instead of downloading a "demo," you essentially download the full game and get to play a 30 minute trial. The main caveats of that system were the limited selection of games available and the fact you often had to download up to ten gigs of data to try the game.
Unless you've got a blazing fast internet service with no data cap, chances are you don't want to be using the cloud all the time, so what happens when you opt to buy a game? Downloads from the PS4 store are segmented, so you can download part of a game and start playing immediately while the rest of the data downloads in the background.
While I'm not the biggest fan of cloud gaming and the seemingly unavoidable input lag that comes with it, I was very impressed by the way services like On Live serve up demos. Assuming Sony is true to its word and manages to make demos compulsory for games on its store, this is a very pro-consumer move.