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10 things to know before subscribing to PS Now

Is it a feasible option versus the Xbox Game Pass?
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In case you didn’t know, PS Now is PlayStation’s streaming service ala Netflix, but also not quite. As Xbox Game Pass is starting to become more aggressive with their campaign, for a limited time, PS Now is offering their services for a dollar to try it out. I tried it out for science and so far, what is offered could use some work.

If you’re wondering about making the jump, first test your internet connection if it’s stable enough to handle game streaming. There are some downloadable games for those who don’t have a stable enough internet connection, but I’ll get into those in detail.

Here are ten things you should know before jumping on the PS Now bandwagon. Some of these things may surprise you and many of them, you probably already know.

The Good

Massive PS3 Library

With Sony shutting down its PS3, PSP, and PS Vita online stores, where are we going to play our PS3 games? Regardless of Jim Ryan’s stance on backwards compatibility, PS Now is a great place to start. I was actually surprised when I checked out what they have available and they have a lot.

From popular games of the last decade including the Arkham and Bioshock trilogies to the rarer Ninja Gaiden Sigma series that won’t be included in the upcoming Ninja Gaiden collection. I for one don’t mind catching up with Legend of Heroes Trails of the Cold Steel and withstanding the English dub if ever I decide to continue this service. It actually saves me some money rather than purchasing single games because…

Competitive Pricing

ps now pricing
It’s Canadian pricing, but still less than Xbox Game Pass’ $120USD per year

Xbox Game Pass goes for $10 USD a month and it’s the same with PS Now at the moment. However if you purchase the bundle pricing, you could get 3 months for $25 USD and 12 months for $60 USD. For the cost of a brand new PS4 game, you will get access to the extensive PS Now library for half of the cost of Xbox Game Pass.

Save Files and Trophies Available

Your saves and trophies will be added to your personal collection whether or not you continue the service. Which is a good thing for players such as myself who are more into the game experience rather than building a library of games. To be honest, in the end, it’s all about my engagement with the game rather than owning an unplayed game.

Play games once offered in PS Plus

The one thing I never liked with the PS Plus is that they keep you in the service just so you don’t miss out on the titles that you want to add to your library. If you try to play the monthly game of skipping certain months because of not so good games, you may be paying too much for PS Plus.

While a year’s subscription could be more bang for your buck, you might end up with a year of not-so-good games (looking at you 2018). So if you missed a good year like 2020, PS Now’s got you covered having those games available for you to peruse.

Slightly better streaming versus Xbox Cloud Gaming

ps now streaming
They gave away Arkham Origins way back when…

PS Now has been at it for a long time now and they actually have slightly better streaming services. There is very little lag especially with the PS3 games and it feels like you’re playing it seamlessly with the caveat that you have a good internet connection.

When Xbox Cloud Gaming hits a bad connection, the stream slows down to a snail’s pace and it sucks playing a fast-paced action game or a fighting game because the lag will kill you and it happens way too often.

The Bad

If the connection is unstable, it’ll kick you out of the game

While the “slightly better streaming” than XCloud is a welcome affair, my issue with PS Now is when the game hits a bad connection, nine times out of ten, it’ll kick you out of the game. It’ll give you 20 seconds to get your affairs in order (save your game) before it boots you out. So save often. This sucks when you end up playing those JRPGs with long cut scenes followed by a long boss battle and then more cut scenes.

You’re now playing with fire whether or not someone in your house will play music on their Spotify or watch a Youtube video on their phone or Netflix on the TV. It’s also terrible if you’re downloading a game while playing on PS Now. In other words, PS Now is like game streaming on dial up. If someone else on your wifi network uses it for any other reason aside from streaming said game, prepare to lose progress.

However, you could still download games on the service, right? That shouldn’t be an issue, except…

Downloadable games are only available for the PS4 library

While the PS Now has a great library of PS3 games, I’m wondering why they’re not available for download. The only games available for download are the PS4 games, and they are pretty limited.

The titles available for download compared to Xbox Game Pass aren’t exactly top of the line and the Game Pass’ library for download continue to be competitive and of the highest quality. So if Sony wants to be competitive on this one, they better get on it.

ps now screenshot
Would be nice to download the Ninja Gaiden Sigma series, but it’s only streamable for now

Limited PS4 and PS2 selections

While I commend the PS3 library on PS Now, their PS4 and PS2 games could use some work. The PS2 selection is quite laughable why it’s even there in the first place, when the same dozen games that’s being offered also has a PS4 alternative.

The PS4 games feel like they’re just leftovers from the PS Plus giveaways and the PS exclusives are just as laughable because while it has the entire Ratchet and Clank series, there’s really nothing else we can expect especially if you’re a PS Plus subscriber. That being said…

Redundant service if you’ve been a PS Plus subscriber

If you’re a PS Plus subscriber, you can skip this service altogether. You have quite a lot of good games for download as long as you continue the service on PS Plus. If you’re thinking of picking up PS Now, it just becomes either your source for digital PS3 games (that you can’t download). Otherwise, it’s another unjustified cost towards your monthly gaming.

No Day One incentives

Xbox Game Pass really wins on this one. While PS Plus gives away some Day One games since PS5 started, PS Now really hasn’t given us any incentive to jump on this service. Hell, even Google Stadia has offered Octopath Traveller and is the best place to play Cyberpunk 2077 to entice me for their service.

For Sony, I only really signed up for it because it’s almost free for that one month and it’s readily available. Xbox Game Pass gave three months away for the same price ($1 USD) and it has more games that I’ve wanted to play for the last three months I’ve been on the service.

Verdict: Ignore it (for now)

There’s really no good way to say this, but PS Now is not something we’d recommend for now. While they have a great PS3 library, they don’t make an attractive offer for us to sign up for it due to it having no downloadable option for their PS3 games. Their PS4 library doesn’t impress compared to the extensive Xbox Game Pass library and there are no Day One incentives the same way PS Plus has. However, with the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers being offered, that’s a good start, albeit a little late to the party.

I did comment that the price point is competitive, but if you combine PS Plus and PS Now, it is the same price as the Xbox Game Pass. Objectively, I’d pay full price for what the Xbox Game Pass has to offer. With Outriders, all these Microsoft Studios exclusives, and upcoming twenty ID@Xbox games coming soon to Game Pass on Day One, why would I pay $60USD a year for something that offers less?

Sure, the streaming is slightly better than the XCloud, but with the way the service is progressing, it’s only a matter of time when XCloud overtakes PS Now’s streaming. If XCloud finds a way to get around that “dial up” buffering issue on their streaming, that could be a big win. As for PS Now, they still have a long way to go, but starting off now rather than later would be a good step.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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