PS3 meets the PS4 through PlayStation Now game streaming

After months of bashing heads with Microsoft, bigging up the PS4's impressive specs and boasting that its sleek, black console really is the fairest in the land, Sony took the opportunity of CES 2014 to announce that players don't actually need a console to play its games.

PlayStation Now is a cloud-based streaming service that delivers PS3 games to anything you can stick a "PS" or "smart" in front of, including PS4, PS3, PS Vita and "other internet-connected devices" like smart TVs, smartphones and tablets.

The service is based on Gaikai video streaming tech that Sony acquired back in 2012. It means that when Play Station Now goes live, gamers will be able to rent their favourite titles either on a whim or on a monthly subscription.

An official list of games that will be available on the service is remaining safely under Sony lock and key, but the lucky attendees of CES were treated to playing The Last of Us, God of War: Ascension, Beyond Two Souls and Puppeteer on PS Vita and a Bravia TV.

Nigel Beighton, VP of Technology at Rackspace, celebrated the fact that Sony's move to the cloud marks an evolution in the way we play games:

"Consumers will have the most up-to-date games at their fingertips, and their online experience will keep getting better and better as developers use big data analytics techniques to get rich insight into how players are behaving on different platforms."

PlayStation Now is set to spend the next few months in a period of closed beta within the US, before a full scale roll-out scheduled for summer across the United States. European customers, meanwhile, should think twice about holding their breath for a global launch. With Sony hinting that the rest of the world is in for a long wait, oxygen may become a precious commodity.

Meanwhile, Sony also announced that the PS4 sold 4.2 million units as of 28 December, an amount that blows the 3 million Xbox Ones that Microsoft sold out the water.

"We couldn't be more thrilled," said Sony President Andrew House, presumably in between cartwheels.