PlayStation launched their game streaming service PS Now earlier this year where subscription members could pay a flat fee and be able to stream as many games as they want. Presently all of the currently available games are PlayStation 3, which can be streamed on the PS4, PlayStation Vita and PS3 itself. Right now there are not that many new or old games for the subscription service, but with the addition of an extended catalog, could PS Now end up striking a serious blow to game subscription services like Gamefly?
A distant idea at the time, game streaming sounded like an almost unbelievably miraculous way to replace the middleman of rental stores. How could a user operating off of Wi-Fi expect an established and fast connection throughout the length of their gaming session? There was also the question of Sony’s asking price that would be fair for both consumers and creators. PlayStation Now made its debut in July 2014 and rest assured it’s in the beginning steps of becoming a major feature.
When it started, the beta opened to PS4, PS3, PS Vita and PS TV users with plans to expand to both Sony and Samsung TVs in the future. Consumers had hope that the service would provide a Netflix style subscription of $8.99 a month and access to as many games as they want forever, as long as the user’s subscription didn’t run out. What was delivered to gamers was not a gaming form of Netflix, but something entirely different.
PlayStation Now has added a subscription option that offers the service for the cost of $19.99 per month or $45 for three months; users can also rent individual titles at a time opposed to paying for a monthly subscription. If the robust gaming catalog of PS3 games hasn’t sold the service on you yet, Sony is offering a seven-day trial completely free. It should be known, however, that not every game can be played through the subscription as many titles may only be streamed for a limited time.
There are more than 350 games available to stream, but most of these titles are PS3 games from last generation and if you have missed out on owning a PS3, or just weren’t able to get access to those games during its life cycle, this subscription could be a gold mine. For other avid gamers, however, this subscription could turn out to be nothing less than a desert wasteland of games that are not even that old. “There are some amazing games for PS1 and PS2 and our longer term vision is to go back further into the PlayStation generational library,” said Sony back in January 2015.
It is now six months later and still the majority of games available through the subscription are only PS3 games; this is by no means a bad thing. Quite the opposite if you are a avid gamer; the subscription is well worth the monthly dues as there are great titles such as the Uncharted series and The Last of Us available for streaming. For those looking for newer games or very old ones from a distant childhood to replay, however, it seems that PlayStation owners will have to wait a bit longer until the monthly asking price is well worth it.
If Sony was to discover a set-up that could mimic Netflix with every few months a new game would be added to the catalog whether it’s a brand new AAA game or a old PS1 game, players would be lining up to fork over their hard earned cash for a constant endless stream of games. Gamefly would take a blow as current subscribers to the gaming rental service would trade up for the opportunity to instantly stream games whenever they want, opposed to having to wait for the game to arrive in the mail. Subscribers will also have the added convince of not have to wait for a brand new game to become available again after its completely rented out by other subscribers. There is also the added bonus of renting a bad game or a game a subscriber simply doesn’t like, they will no longer have to wait for the mail to ship it back to the warehouse before they ship the next game on your list, as it will be as simple as just a few clicks on the PS4 controller to boot up another one without having to wait another week or two to get a new one from Gamefly.
PS Now has great promise and could potentially be a groundbreaking game rental service that could rival Gamefly. Not only would you not have to wait for snail mail for a new game, but if they are able to get a more extensive gaming catalog every few months or so as well as keeping the price cheap enough, there would be little contest. Unless you’re not a PS4 owner, of course.