Like many other people I recently discovered that I had access to a 7 day free trial with PlayStation Now, Sony’s new video game streaming service, and so I decided to give it a go. I mean if it turns out to be good enough why would I not want to be able to stream a huge selection of games, instantly right to my console? So I resolved to give the service and try to let you all know what I found, so let’s start shall we?
The first thing I noticed is that the selection of games is actually not as large as I was hoping it was going to be. Since my PS3 broke and I chose to replace it was a PS4 instead of buying a new one, I’ve not been able to play any of the PlayStation classics that I enjoyed so much, titles like Crash Bandicoot and the original Spyro trilogy. I was shocked to find that there are basically no PS1 or PS2 games available on the service, and the selection of PS3 games leaves a lot to be desired. There’s no Kingdom Hearts remakes, there’s none of the PS3 versions of newer games like Metal Gear Rising, and was quite shocked by the lack of RPG’s as a whole. Overall there are currently around 300 to 400 titles available on the service, but not all of them are available via the subscription service, meaning that even if you pay the price to subscribe to PlayStation now you will have to shell out more to play any games that don’t fit into the subscription model.
The second thing I noticed about the service is the menu system. If you go directly into the PlayStation Now app on the PS4 XMB you find that there’s no way of searching for specific titles, instead they opted for a Netflix style menu navigation system. I hasten to point out to people who don’t use Netflix that there is a search function on Netflix, to go along with their menu navigation. Not only is there no search function there isn’t even a reliable list of genres, you just have to scroll down constantly until you actually reach the genre you’re looking for, that’s if they have it. It seems like they were going with a seamless stream of content style of menu, but this doesn’t really work with a service where you’ll be focused on a single piece of entertainment for 8 hours at a time.
Another sore point for me was the inconsistent quality of the gaming experience. 50% of the time the game looks okay, sounds fine and responds well to my button presses, 40% of the time the games turned into a pixellated version of itself, the music turned into demented clowns on violins and the character has some sort of aneurysm that makes his response to my button pushing more of a suggestion than an actual command. The final 10% of the time was when the service was so bad that I literally couldn’t play it, as in the game completely locks you out or kicks you out saying that you can play again once your connection picks up.
For me this was mildly annoying, I hadn’t paid for the service and was just trying it out to see which PS3 titles I had missed I could get a bash at again. However had I personally paid money for an individual title to rent for a limited period of time then I would have been royally pissed off to discovered that I couldn’t even play the game that I had paid money to rent. I understand that there’s a certain amount of risk involved with the service as it is dependent on an internet connection to function properly, but the fact that my internet connection was fine and stable constantly but the service was inconsistent with its delivery makes me think that it must be something wrong with the services.
So in the end is PlayStation Now currently worth it? Well, no, not really. I suppose if you have a super fast fibre optic internet connection and you haven’t played very many PS3 games then you will get the most out of this service. Currently however there are two few games on the service at too high a price, coupled with the fact that some games aren’t even available via the subscription means that the system has a long way to go before it’s worth getting or using.