Two years since it’s somewhat…Controvertial inception, PlayStation Now has expanded, morphed and changed a lot from the old traditional “Rent-per-Game” system that was originally used back in 2015 – I initially was on the bandwagon that PlayStation Now was nothing but a half-baked, money-hungry, nostalgia-fueled service…
…However I might’ve just changed my opinion on that.
Hear me out for one minute. When I looked into PlayStation Now a few days ago, and contemplated getting a subscription, I was dubious; “How many games would I ACTUALLY play from this?”, “What if the latency is horrid…”, “Can I really afford £15 a month?”. However, after diving in and listing exactly what I would play from this monthly subscription service, things started to add up in my head.
inFAMOUS 1 & 2, every God of War game, nearly every Killzone game, most of the Ratchet & Clank PS3 titles, the Sly Cooper HD Collection and Thieves in Time (Sly 4), Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, House of the Dead 3, 4 and Overkill, The Last of Us (Albeit not the newer updated version, but still with nearly all DLC), Blazblue, Darksiders 1 & 2 (Deathinitive Edition), a whole host of Lego games, Disgaea 3, Rune Factory Oceans, White Knight Chronicles 1 & 2, Braid, Spelunky, a load of Megaman titles, Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, Skullgirls, Guacamelee, most of the Batman Arkham titles, the Devil May Cry HD Collection, Uncharted 1-3, and the Silent Hill HD Collection…
…I just listed around 60 games that I would play near-immediately, especially for just £15 a month, being the same price as a standard monthly subscription to World of Warcraft. And that’s not even including some of the more prevalent titles that were introduced in a huge games update literally a few days ago, that include Life is Strange, and Red Dead Redemption alongside Undead Nightmare. Granted that, obviously, the performance of these games varies as they’re being played on a PS3 somewhere in one of Sony’s basements, but you’ve also got to consider that these games are also, whilst you have a solid internet connection, somewhat portable as well.
Since PlayStation Now essentially runs as a PS3 streamer, you can take these games, and their saves, wherever you have internet connection, and a Sony PSNow-supported device, being a PC through the PSNow app, PS4, PSVita, Sony smartphone, tablet or smart TV; say you’re getting into an intense dungeon in White Knight Chronicles 2, and have to pop over to your grandma’s or something to see how she’s doing – We all know the routine; lounge around in an overly hot and perfumed house, watching something on TV, and talk about how you’re doing recently before being left to your own devices for a good hour – Now you can leech off of granny’s WiFi and continue your epic quest, with the only intermission being the restarting of the game and loading of your save.-.Very handy!
Now, when looking into this, I had one primary concern before chucking some money at the screen – Would my internet connection actually be able to support this? Now, whilst PlayStation Now does test your connection and provide a generic “Yeah you can support it” or “Nah, tough luck” message based off your net traffic stats, there is unfortunately no specific way to tell ‘how well’ your internet is supporting PSNow. However, during my entire time using the service, whilst load times have been noticeably slower than if you were to run games on a standard PS3, the controls, input lag and latency has been nothing short of perfect. To test this, I played Red Dead Redemption on PSNow, then on my PS3 with my actual copy, and found the two experiences to run near-identically when compared side by side. To give you an idea of what sort of internet connection is considered great for PSNow, here are my Speedtest results (Also please note that I ran these tests, and play PSNow through a hard wired LAN connection through standard Cat5 Ethernet cabling, so I have no idea how a WiFi connection would affect this).
Now…Onto what isn’t so great about PSNow – The first thing that irked me about the service is the distinct crackdown on single platform sharing – By this, I mean that when you purchase a game through the PlayStation Store, or get one free from PSPlus, you can access these titles, and PSPlus benefits, through any other account that has your PS4 set to Primary. PSNow does not technically follow this rule of nature. In order to share games between local accounts, one must log on to PSNow through the Primary User account, then start a game, and log out midway, logging back in as the other local account, and start the game from there. Whilst this is a bit of an annoyance, it is only a one-time hassle per game. The signed in account also has their own relative saves and trophy lists too, which is always nice. I can only imagine that this isn’t intentional, however, but I really, REALLY hope they don’t patch this, as it allows me and my girlfriend to effortlessly swap games on the fly.
Another annoyance of PSNow is, admittedly, the high price to entry; if you aren’t earning a lot, then it’s going to be either PSPlus, or PSNow for you, and, whilst the huge catalog of games is awesome, it can’t really beat being able to play online…Unless you’re a single-player junkie, then go ahead! Personally, unless I plan to be going online for a month, I’d probably opt into PSNow until I tire of the catalog. Another thing to note is that, admittedly, the catalog is being updated rather slowly, albeit in large content packs – For reference, PSNow has around 350 games on the UK version alone…But our counterparts across the sea over in the US have access to over 450. It’s a bit silly, no? I also hate the fact that we’re missing essential collections, such as the Jak and Daxter HD Collection, Ratchet and Clank HD collection, and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Despite this though, is PSNow finally worth your hard-earned cash? Has it redeemed itself? Is it finally a recommended, reliable service? Maybe, No and Yes. PSNow’s price of entry may seem feasible to some, and not to others – To me, I think it’s worth throwing down £15 to play over 60 of my beloved games at any time, over any platform, but to others it’ll seem silly as they’d only play 10, 20 or 30 games. Personally, I’m going month by month, and assessing whether I really want it for another month. Get it when you’re getting bored of your existing games, and put it down when you get fresh gaming content. I feel that PSNow hasn’t quite redeemed it’s abysmal launch, and non-consumer motives and procedures, but can finally be recommended as a ‘good, reliable gaming service’, that is, perhaps, worth your money.
What do you think? Are you convinced to give PSNow a shot? Or will you still condemn it’s name to high hell and back? Let us know in the comments below!