Tech News on G4
Rating PlayStation Now
Mar 11, 2015
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
A couple years back rumours ran rampant that Sony was looking into acquiring game streaming service, Gaikai. This immediately lead gamers to speculate that Sony was interested in game streaming as a viable platform to distribute content to players. Fast-forward several years later and Sony's ambitious idea has finally seen the light of day. With PlayStation Now currently available on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, Sony aims to make game streaming the next great way to enjoy some of your favourite titles.
But how does it hold up in its debut form? At present, PS Now has over one hundred titles available, with more being periodically added every week. All titles currently playable are from the PS3's library of games. Nostalgia nerds needn't worry; Sony has stated that PS1 and PS2 titles will be part of the "long term vision" for PlayStation Now.
The selection of games at the current time ranges from the expected to the obscure. Award-winning titles such as Bioshock: Infinite, Uncharted 2 and The Last of Us grace the spotlight section of the app but digging further into PS Now's rather small catalogue, I discovered a litany of obscure titles, some of which I've never even heard of before. Games like Piyotama and Planet Minigolf are like those low budget films on Netflix that are most likely to not be acknowledged, let alone devoted time to. The inclusion of the B-Level titles is a little disheartening considering the vast selection of stellar games available on the PS3 that didn't make the debut crop. Some might be worth playing out of curiosity but the novelty of having over one hundred games readily available soon wears off considering how passable some of them are.
Easily PS Now's biggest hurdle is the monolithic task of successfully streaming games to users while maintaining a stable connection. Up until its release, critics and fans alike were questioning the ambition of a service. Thankfully, during my thirty-plus hours using the service, I've only encountered a surprisingly minimal amount of connection hitches. When a connection issue would arise, the game I was currently streaming would chug and render unplayable for about five to ten seconds. Soon after, things would pick up and continue to run at a consistent pace. Though, this is largely dependent on how reliable your Internet connection is, PS Now conducts a connection test before playing to ensure your wired or wireless set up is secure enough to stream games. This is an appreciated feature and lets you find out if you could enjoy the service they way it was intended before paying for a subscription or rental fee.
Speaking of fees, PS Now offers a one-month subscription for $19.99 and a three month subscription for $44.99. If subscriptions aren't your thing, certain games can be individually rented for either four hours, one week, one month or two months. Rental fees vary from title to title with the more high-profile games being a tad pricier. Much like other digital subscription services, a free trial is offered. I recommend utilizing the free trial before committing to a subscription or rental to see if the service really suits your needs as a gamer.
In its current form, PS Now is an interesting, well-executed service with a small amount of "must play" games in its current library. One can assume that down the line more worthwhile titles will be added. When and if that time comes, PS Now will truly shine and may even have the potential to usher in a whole new way of gaming.
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.