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PlayStation Now Introduces New Subscription Model

PlayStation Now Introduces New Subscription Model

Filed inside: News

Sony is now adding an all-access subscription to its streaming service PlayStation Now.

Coming off of the heels of a protracted PSN outage over the holidays (which all PlayStation Plus members enjoyed a small extension for), Sony is moving forward to bolster the strength of its streaming service, PlayStation Now.

Originally introduced a year ago on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Now is a Gaikai-based streaming service that allows players to essentially “rent” games from a growing catalog and stream them to your console directly, a la the Ouya or other cloud-based gaming service. The benefit here over something like OnLive is that the service doesn’t require a unique and dedicated console system, it’s a feature that one could download on the PS3 and is clearly advertised on PS4s.

It hasn’t been the most breakout success. The system is still in open beta and working to curtail some lingering complaints. During the original closed beta, you could test a small catalog for free, but once pricing was introduced, it was found to be far, far too expensive—a problem that persists to this day. The service offers rentals in four time-frames: 4-hour, 7-day, 30-day, and 90-day. Prices can range from tolerable ($1.99 for 4 hours, $4.99 for a week, $6.99 for a month, and $9.99 for three months) to downright ridiculous ($4.99 for four hours to $29.99 for three  months). The pricing is, in most cases, the steepest barrier of entry into the project.

I’ll gladly support paying a couple of dollars to test out an older game I may have missed out on in the past, but to pay half of full retail price for what are often dated games is, in my opinion, ludicrous.

Enter Sony’s new sub model, to be introduced January 13th. They’ll offer two plans: you can subscribe month-to-month for $19.99 a month, and three months for $44.99. The price still feels steep, but this certainly alleviates some of the pains of the system by allowing people to get more out of it if they use the service regularly, a move that is bound to result in a bigger profile for the service at large.

With more users comes more data, and hopefully that data will help Sony to sort out some of the other complaints the service commonly enjoys. The video quality of the games can be spotty, and connection instabilities often introduce input lag—a very tangible and off-putting constant in current streaming models.

One of the original disappointments of the PS4 console was the lack of backwards compatibility, PlayStation Now serves as an avenue to rectify that omission, albeit at an additional cost for people who may have already owned these games in the past. If price was an issue before, you may have a reason to use the service next week. If you hadn’t heard of PlayStation Now before, I don’t blame you, and maybe you should check it out now.

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Written by Ray Allaire -The Reasonable Gamer

Writer, game designer, and gaming analyst. Practitioner of all nerdy arts: Games, tabletop, TCG, and all. Twitter: @mateusrayje

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