The excitement about PS Now was obvious and impossible to conceal – it enables its users to access over 400 PS3 games on their PS consoles, as well as their PCs. Sony bought GaiKai, a barely known cloud gaming service in 2012 and presented the idea of online game streaming. As the importance of brick-and-mortar is decreasing in other major industries, it was expected to happen in the gaming world, as well. However, it also raised many questions and made people feel skeptic about it.
Does it really work? What’s the price and is it worth it? Which exclusives are included in the service? Could users expect a stable connection for an entire playing session? After a year of beta testing in the UK and US, we finally have the answers.
What Is PS Now?
PS Now is Sony’s digital game-streaming service that works in two ways: through a recurring subscription (similar to Netflix) and paying for a limited amount of time you want the game for. In other words, you pay them money and they borrow you a game for a limited period of time.
The service was exclusive to the PS4 owners for a long time; it has undergone some changes in the past year and now it can be used on the PlayStation TV, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, Sony Blu-ray players, Sony 2014 and 2015 TVs, as well as certain Samsung TVs. Most often, the PS Now system requires a DualShock 4 controllers, but you can also use DualShock 3 with some systems.
In the past 6 months, Sony has added over 100 games from well-known third-party game developers, such as Capcom and Ubisoft. However, better keep your expectations low, because there are a lot of gaps for them to cover yet. The majority of games are from the era of the PS3, but one can find a plethora of PS4 and PlayStation Vita, as well as a PS2 emulator for giving access to the games from that generation. The service connects you to a remote server once you pick a game, wait a bit while everything connects to start off, and start playing.
The PS Now service could offer the best and biggest games from their entire foray into gaming consoles. However, none of it will matter if the pricing is wrong. Pricing is straightforward if you subscribe to a plan. For $19.99, you can run the service for a month, or you can opt for a $49.99 three-month package. The games are divided into 4 rental periods, where the price differs by $1-2 between the first two, but there’s a major jump in cost between the 30 and 90-day levels. Nevertheless, you can’t buy additional time once you purchase time with a game.
Users will definitely find a greater selection of games if you rent them a la carte from the PlayStation store. Rental periods, thankfully, don’t begin when you purchase the game, but when you start playing it. The games must be started within 30 days of the rental-purchase, otherwise your money goes to waste.
The major factor which determines whether the PS Now service is worth paying for is your Internet connection. PS Now requires a 5 Mbps connection speed at minimum. The 5 Mbps connection speed can be acquired at a great price, according to subscription plans of some of the internet providers near me, I believe that you’ll be able to stream games with minimum dropped frames and lag. Still, to reach the ultimate experience of uninterrupted game play, choose a 10 or 15 Mbps connection.
Load times can take up more than a minute, while the device connects to a server. Remote servers host your favorite games via 720p video streams (60fps), but remember that most of PS3 games are not remastered to a 60fps quality.
Lags or dropped frames won’t happen due to the under-performing streams, but because they are being hamstrung by the latest-generation technology. However, none of these spoil your game experience. Sony has more room to improve this area by opening more server farms next to major metropolitan areas and by optimizing servers. Those interested can have a 7-day free trial before choosing to commit to a new streaming platform.
The Netflix for Games
OnLive has tried to do it a few years ago, but failed. PS Now is much closer to fulfilling that idea when it comes to presentation and reliability. And does it really work? Is it worth it? Well, when talking about performance, there should be little issue with the minimum Internet speed required. You don’t need high-powered machines to play them, so if you have a fast enough connection and are new to PS gaming, you’ll be able to enjoy a plethora of PlayStation classics in your living room for a good price. Also, PC gamers can experience the wonders of the PS gaming world by signing up for a PSN account and subscribing to PS Now, with a connection fast enough, a compatible version of Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10), and a DualShock 4 controller.
PS Now has improved greatly over the last ten months. Still, there’s a lot more room for the platform to grow because, after all, this technology has been in this state for just a year now. If you like playing PS games that are a few years old and can endure the short periods of imprecise controls, then you should definitely try it. With PS Now service, Sony is telling us that there’s a different future on how you buy games on the whole.
Although a Physics graduate, Marcus opted for work in fields of technology, marketing and web. He is also an author at Technivorz blog. He likes an occasional game or two and has seen Star Wars films 44 times.