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PlayStation Now: First Impressions
July 31st not only marked the end of another month, but also acted as the launch of Playstation Now. The open beta is officially opened to Playstation users, after a few months of a of a private, closed beta.
For those of you who don’t know, PlayStation Now is Sony’s answer to streaming services such as Netflix, and the service aims to provide gamers with an extensive rental catalogue that can be streamed directly to your PlayStation device. As of July 31st, the start of the open beta, there are over one hundred titles to rent which are all from the PS3 catalogue. Sony is using this open beta period to fine tune its pricing and to receive much needed feedback from its customers on the service.
My first impressions with the Playstation Now streaming service have been mainly positive, and I wanted to share them with other users who may be on the edge when it comes to renting a title for the first time. Continue reading for a full account of my first 48 hours with the Playstation Now beta.
As stated above, as of the open beta PlayStation Now offers one hundred titles for rent which are all from the PlayStation 3 catalogue. The games can be rented in periods of 4 hours, 7 days, 30 days, and 90 days and will range in price depending on the title and the length of the rental. The service can be accessed by going into the Playstation Store and selecting the appropriately labelled tab on the left.
Pricing for some titles is just absurd. For example, the episodic adventure Sam and Max is available for rent, however the minimum length of time to rent each individual episode is 7 days, which is priced at $4.99. As each chapter takes roughly two hours to complete, this is an instance where the four hour rental would actually make sense, yet is not included. Sony needs to make sure that length and price of rentals is more consistent across its titles if this service is going to become as popular as some of its competition.
There is a really wide range of titles, spanning from mature AAA hits such as Metal Gear Solid 4 to children focused titles such as Turbo: Super Stunt Squad. I really appreciated the variety and from my browsing found multiple titles that I was interested in experiencing. Sony is promising more first party support, as well as PS1 and PS2 titles being added when the service officially launches, which I am very excited for. Although we all miss the days of console backwards compatibility, this just may be the next best thing.
Streaming for me went smoothly, albeit with minimal time experiencing it. I will need to try a larger variety of titles and play them for longer, more consistent periods before having a final word on this but for the short game sessions I have had so far, everything looked and played smoothly.
In conclusion, I think this is a great idea with a lot of future potential. The success of services such as Netflix has proven that people enjoy having catalogues of entertainment available at their disposal. For me personally, I have missed renting games at my local video store a lot since the decline of physical rental options. The options to rent a game and complete it for a fraction of a cost as it would be to purchase the game is always something that appealed to me, so I know that I personally will make fine use of the Playstation Now service. If Sony can overhaul the pricing structure, and possibly add a flat monthly subscription fee, I think Playstation Now will be an extremely wise investment for gamers on a budget.