A confidential document revealed that in 2017, long before Apple declared that cloud gaming could only exist on the iPhone if it jumped through major hoops, Sony was preparing to launch its PlayStation Now cloud gaming service on mobile phones. Originally, the service streamed PS2 and PS3 games to smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, and the PS3 and PS Vita, but cut off all those original platforms in late 2017 to focus on the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC instead.
According to this confidential document from the Epic vs. Apple trial, Apple had insider knowledge of Sony’s upcoming launch. Apple had heard about a “mobile extension of an existing streaming service for PlayStation users, streaming access to over 450+ PS3 games to start, with PS4 games to follow.”
Apple mentioned the PlayStation Now expansion as it was in the early stages of developing the 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 a sign of a broader shift toward gaming subscriptions.
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.