Playstation Now – Play 180 Games on Subscription
Playstation (PS) Now has been around for a while, and Sony have been pushing it for just as long. It’s a great concept but a big shift in the way we game – or so Sony hope.
Many of us will purchase a game, play it to death for a week, and then be left with the completed game that we never play and go and trade in for next to nothing. Of course there are video game rentals, but that involves waiting on the post and usually paying a pretty high fee – particularly if you have lulls where you don’t play a lot – or when, for example, you go on holiday.
In an effort to try and solve some of these problems, Sony came up with the concept of Playstation Now. And it’s adding games all the time. Barely a couple of months ago there were only 150 games available on it – now it’s up to 180.
Having taken the week’s trial on board in February, I had pretty high hopes. It seemed that the future was here and maybe this would be a good way to be able to play games without fear of the dreaded ‘dud’ game that you’ve started, played on for an hour and now hate.
At the beginning of the trial I fully expected to continue to pay the monthly subscription of £12.99 / month. Unfortunately, after only half a day of game play, I didn’t use it for most of the rest of the week of the free trial and I’d actually cancelled it (set it to expire) the day after starting my trial.
A brief introduction to PS Now – it’s gameplay on the cloud for a subscription fee per month. No downloads, just streaming the games directly.
Now PS Now suffers from the usual woes that subscription based models hit – i.e. the games that you really want to play aren’t on there – due to lack of a licensing agreement with the publisher. After all, they do make more money when people purchase the game and as popular games will be purchased anyway, despite the price tag, it’s really not in their interests to license it on this kind of model.
In February 2016, there was probably between 10-20 ‘big name’ games on there – but many of them were older versions. For example, Formula 1 was on there – but F1 2015 – not F1 2016. Apart from that there was mainly many indie games that I hadn’t even heard of (don’t go looking for Rocket League – you won’t find it here!). There’s some old favourites like Crazy Taxi (what a game!). I tried probably 70-80 of the games available and, to be honest, only around 3 kept my interest more than a few minutes – namely, Crazy Taxi, the Golf Championship and F1.
However, the experience on these games wasn’t fantastic. Now one of the caveats that you are warned about when taking out PS Now is that you need a fast Internet connection. They recommend 5 meg – no worries, I’m on Infinity 2 with BT – far exceeding the minimum requirements for good gameplay. However, on the more complex games (i.e. the modern ones) like Formula 1, gameplay was so painfully slow that it was taking approximately 10 minutes to do what would be usually a 1 minute training session – between all the waiting for streaming and autosaves to the cloud (which are pretty slow) it just sapped all the life out of any enjoyment you could have through this service.
The connection speed wasn’t a problem on this side but I’m wondering whether the infrastructure that PS Now is built on is capable of handling the numbers of users they have now. And with numbers presumably only likely to grow as this is pushed more by Sony it seems that they could have a real problem on their hands.
All in all, the experience was dull, slow and the opposite of what you would want this service to be.
The concept is fantastic and, in my opinion, the way that gaming will go but the execution is well below par. Certainly not justifying the £12.99 / month tag that it currently has. Things definitely have to change – increased game choice, some more big names in there, and a suitable infrastructure to enable the gaming to be at the same, or similar, speed to what it is from traditional disc based or downloaded games.
Unless these problems are solved, I highly doubt PS Now will take off in any kind of fashion. I’d be struggling to recommend this at £2.99 / month at the moment – so my advice is definitely to steer clear (for now).