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Who has the time to justify a PlayStation Now subscription?

Seth Barton
5 Jan 2015
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The tech is impressive but at $20 a month who's going to get value out of it?

The next-generation of games consoles are just starting to get into gear, but there’s a lot more just around the corner. Even so, today games as diverse as Destiny, Diablo III and Hearthstone are proving to be massive time sinks, so that even the most dedicated of gamers have plenty to keep them busy. Despite this Sony today announced a subscription service for its game streaming PlayStation Now technology, allowing PS4 owners unlimited access to over 100 PS3 games.

This is essentially Netflix for games, it’s not the latest blockbusters but the quality is high and there’s lots of content. Bioshock Infinite, Batman Arkham City, Spelunky, XCOM, The Last of Us and God of War: Ascension should keep you going for a while, just for starters. It’s reasonably priced at $20 a month or three months for $45, but that’s still far more expensive than say Netflix.

And that’s our immediate issue with the service, just who is going to make the time required to get their money’s worth from it? If you’ve got a PS4 you’re probably already engaged in the kind of time-heavy gaming that Destiny typifies, then there’s a raft of new releases coming up, plus the usual drip of PlayStation Plus monthly freebies. Once you’ve got through all that you’re going to have to be very keen to plough through $20 worth of old PS3 games a month too.

Sony says the service is largely for those who didn’t own a PS3, so they can catch up on older titles, which sounds credible. However, many of the titles were (and still are at bargain prices) available on the Xbox 360 as well and there can be very few PS4 owners who don’t/didn’t own both consoles. That leaves the PS3 exclusives (those that haven’t been re-released on PS4 such as Last of Us and Spelunky, and we’d be amazed if there wasn’t a remastered Uncharted collection in the works somewhere).

So if you’re at a gaming loose end, haven’t played some of the PlayStation 3 exclusive classics, and are happy to play them with the inherent lag and image quality drop of a streamed game then maybe this is for you? However you’ll have to be the US too, as the service hasn’t yet launched outside of America.

The technology is impressive but we’ll be far more keen when its launches across PS4, PS VITA, Xperia smartphones, Bravia TVs, and even Samsung TVs according to the latest rumours. Playing PS3 games anywhere or any hardware that comes to hand, now that could let us pack more gaming hours into the day and we’re well in favour of that.