After using up his year’s subscription, a reader shares his verdict on PS Now and his concerns about the future of game streaming.
With all the talk of Google Stadia and other streaming services, I thought I’d share my experience with using PS Now, Sony’s somewhat maligned offering.
To give some background, with the monthly charge set at £12.99, I had no interest. But when I saw an annual deal for £60 during the Days of Play sale, I figured £5 per month was worth a gamble. As for streaming speed, I used powerline Ethernet plugs instead of relying on the PlayStation 4’s Wi-Fi, so I was well above the recommended minimum.
Initially browsing the library of games, there were some PlayStation 3 titles that I had missed out on first time round, plus a few PlayStation 4 games that I’d considered. Beyond that, the service was drowning in a sea of mediocre dross, but you can create a list of games you want to play to avoid having to sift through the bilge.
I started with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, the PlayStation 3 version. Visually, It had held up remarkably well. The controls were not always as responsive as I’d have liked, but I remembered the Uncharted games had always been that way so I played it through to the end, which I hadn’t done first time round.
Red Dead Redemption on the other hand, was not the game I fondly recalled. Graphics were muddy and gameplay unremarkable and I only lasted a couple of hours before I moved on. This would become a bit of a theme and any rose-tinted view I had for most last gen games was shattered – I had to stop to preserve some gaming memories (had it all been a Dallas style dream?).
I decided to test out a PlayStation 4 title and gave Steep a whirl, which requires quick reflexes on some of the courses. This is where I started to notice a slight delay in controller responsiveness. It wasn’t huge, but enough that I couldn’t just say it was my rubbish skills that let me down. This meant that I would have to avoid first person shooters and fighting titles, as I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them due to the streaming delay.
Just as I was starting to question my investment, Sony unleashed a game changer – being able to download the PlayStation 4 titles and play them offline. I fired my way through the Metro Redux titles and Bloodborne. I wouldn’t have attempted to stream either of those.
However, Bloodborne has also been available with PS Plus. There were others as well, and this appears to have become a trend: put the games on PS Plus, then shunt them on to PS Now – which reduces the value of the service.
When it came time to renew my subscription, the same deal I’d used first time round was available again, but I chose to let it expire as I felt I hadn’t used it enough and neither had it stopped me buying shiny new titles – the two are probably linked.
I don’t regret having PS Now, but if my experience shows anything, it’s that game responsiveness is going to be absolutely crucial to success, especially action heavy games. I’ll wait and see the reports before I make any decision on moving to a game streaming future.
By reader Bruce MacLean
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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