Is PlayStation Now Really Worth it for Gamers?

With services like EA Access, Origin Access, and PlayStation Now, it’s possible to pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to a whole library games you can play as much as you want. Yes, finally, it’s clear that we’re living in the future.

The most popular video game console right now is the PlayStation 4, and all PS4 owners can get a subscription to PlayStation Now, Sony’s take on video game streaming. It’s not the cheapest service on the Internet, so if you’re considering signing up you’ll want to read on. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of a PlayStation Now membership.

Pros

It’s cheaper than buying games new

Here’s the pricing breakdown for PlayStation Now:

  • $20 for one month
  • $45 for three months

That’s more than you pay for services like Netflix, but if you plan to play more than one game a month, a PlayStation Now subscription might make sense for your pocketbook. It just depends on the games.

No waiting for downloads or updates

Is there anything worse than buying a new game and then having to agonize over the progress bar as it downloads at a positively glacial pace? Nothing is worse than that — it’s a scientific fact.

Because PlayStation Now is a streaming service, you don’t actually have to download games or updates at all. You simply select the game you want to play and after some loading and connecting, voila! it pops up onscreen, ready for you to dive in.

It’s on a variety of devices

Because PlayStation Now is a game streaming service, you don’t need a big hard drive or even a disc slot to play games on it. You can stream PlayStation Now games from the following devices:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PS Vita
  • PlayStation TV
  • Sony Blu-Ray players from 2015
  • Some Sony TVs from 2014 and 2015
  • Some Samsung TVs from 2014 and 2015

All you need is the right kind of controller. You can see which devices and controllers are compatible here.

Cons

The game selection is limited

While Sony seemed to (and possibly still does) have big hopes for bringing PlayStation games from all eras to the service, it’s currently limited to PlayStation 3 games. That’s a bummer for a couple of reasons.

First, PlayStation Now doesn’t have any PS4 games. While dedicated gamers enjoy dipping into older games they missed the first time around or want to play again, many people prefer sticking to new releases. PlayStation Now doesn’t have any.

Second, vast libraries of classic games have been released on the other Sony gaming systems: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP, and PS Vita. If Sony were to open the vaults and bring games from all of its systems, PlayStation Now would start to look a lot more appealing.

To see if it has what you want, you can find the full list of games available on PlayStation Now here.

You need a fast Internet connection

Streaming games requires a fast connection, because your button presses and the video image are linked over the web. When you press a button to jump, you want your character to jump immediately. Without a fast connection, most games will become unplayable.

In other words, using PlayStation Now means a whole lot of ones and zeroes will be traveling back and forth between your TV and the server. Sony suggests you hardwire your device to your router and ante up for at least a 5Mbps connection from your cable provider. Anything less, and PlayStation Now could become a choppy mess, or not work at all.

It isn’t cheap

While PlayStation Now might save you money versus buying the games you’d play on it, there’s a good chance it might not. Those subscription options ($20 for one month and $45 for three months) are more than many will be willing to shell out for games of this vintage, many of which you can find for less than $20 a pop new or used.

If you’re on the fence, Sony offers a week-long trial period to let you test the waters.

Bottom line

So should you subscribe to PlayStation Now? That depends. If you’re a gamer who’s mostly interested in playing what’s new, or in playing games from systems besides PS3, then no, you shouldn’t. It doesn’t have new or older classic games on it.

Then who should subscribe? If you had an Xbox 360 last console generation and you missed out on the excellent PS3 exclusives, you might want to give it a try for a month or two. Other people who like to dip in and try games without committing enough to buy or rent them could also find value here.

But the bottom line is that PlayStation Now lacks the value and game selection to make sense for most gamers. Regardless, don’t hesitate to check out the week-long free trial if you’re interested.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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