By now there are tons of updates expressing more than unfavorable disdain for Sony’s new video game streaming option via Playstation NOW which launched last week across the US and Canada for the PS4…and rightfully so based on the current rental pricing structure. As many you know, you can purchase most if not all of the games being offered on Playstation NOW for less than some of the rental price options and keep the game(s) forever.
Up until NOW, pun intended, Sony has just about pitched a perfect game since the launch of the PS4. However, with the release of the Open Beta of Playstation NOW, Sony’s $380 million dollar investment in Gaikai hasn’t made headlines as expected. While Sony’s new video game streaming service can be stable most of the time, it isn’t perfect, add to that the insulting rental asking price for many for the games offered and it seems Sony has backslid into the arrogant thinking that users will just take whatever is shoved down their throats. Sort of their approach when launching the PS3. Sure it does cost more to rent games from Redbox than from Playstation NOW, however those games are on disc and are far more stable.
Though bothered by the rental pricing options of Playstation NOW, eventually taking the plunge of the service with several games in order to test out the gaming experience, walking away it is crystal clear Sony is definitely on to something special. For several hours I’ve played Lost Planet 2, Darksiders II as well as Killzone 3 through the Playstation NOW streaming service and for the majority of my experience it truly feels like a Netflix for gaming. I would even venture to say that I forgot that I was actually streaming the games, it really works!
The Playstation NOW service impressively streams games as though running off a disc or digital download making the streaming option quite convenient. Yet at the same time the service is not perfect. While you can use the service via wifi I would not recommend it. Even while being hard wired via an ethernet cord directly into your PS4, if your connection gets interrupted or your ISP’s connection slows for whatever reason you can experience slowdowns and latency issues. Between the 3 games currently rented on the service, Lost Planet 2 gave me the most issues however, those slowdowns were only short-lived, making the service for my overall experience beyond convenient and most entertaining, aside from the despicable rental price options. It is almost comical Sony is asking users for $5 in exchange for only 4 hours of rental time.
With it being a beta it is expected the service will only get better with time. At the moment the service works well and the convenience of potentially playing the vast library of PS3 and eventually PS2, PS Vita and PS4 games is most promising, yet could be a missed opportunity if Sony doesn’t quickly change their pricing tune. Sony has come forth and stated they will be releasing a new pricing structure with rental costs as low as $1.99. Sony has all mentioned they are hard at work in order to offer a form of subscription option for the service which for the time being sound great, however based on the rental prices it is difficult not to be skeptical. Sony will of course need to look at their bottom line to see how it makes sense for both themselves and their users. Rumor has it Sony may be also looking at ways to bundle the service with Playstation Plus and with that only time will tell.
Hopefully Sony can find the financial rental and subscription sweet spot while improving on the already impressive stability of the service and to that end I wish Sony the best of luck.