A year ago, PlayStation Now wasn’t an obvious choice for renting games. Sony announced the service at CES 2014, angling it as a way to let users temporarily play games meant for the PS3 on their PS4. If you only had a PS4, you could rent The Last of Us for the PS3 digitally. The game – trophies, upgrades and all – are unlocked for the entire rental period. It was a smart move for Sony, and definitely an obvious way of introducing backwards compatibility, which the Xbox One lacks. At CES 2015, Sony made PlayStation Now a more obvious choice with a new subscription model.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the new PlayStation Now subscriptions coming to Sony’s game streaming service soon.
Buy PlayStation Now in Bulk for Better Pricing
Sony’s on-demand pricing for PlayStation Now was a bit of a problem for some users. For sure, it was cheaper to rent a game on PlayStation Now than it was to purchase a brand new copy from a store. Where the problem came in was individual pricing. Today, some games cost to rent per hour; these are your single rental games. Some games allow PlayStation users to rent games on a monthly subscription basis. Today’s announcement moves a large part of the service to something akin to that subscription rental model.
For $20 a month users get access to around 100 different titles for the PS3. Purchasing in bulk gets users a cheaper monthly rate. For example, three months of PlayStation Now costs $44.99. That three month bulk pricing means users can get PlayStation Now for as little as $15 a month.
PlayStation Now Subscriptions Won’t Be Available for Everyone at Launch
As typical with Sony, PlayStation Now is rolling out in waves. The first wave includes only a subset of users. When PlayStation Now subscriptions arrive on January 15th only owners of the PS4 will be able to take advantage of the service. The initial reach will be more narrow than that. Today Sony also confirmed that only PS4 owners in North America will have PlayStation Now subscriptions on launch day.
The company isn’t talking at all about when PlayStation Now subscriptions will roll out to other devices. Today, PlayStation Now is available on the PS4, PS3, PS Vita and PlayStation TV. Sony has already said it plans to make it available on televisions, smartphones and tablets too.
Not All PlayStation Games Are Available on PlayStation Now
PlayStation Now subscriptions don’t include every game. Sony says it has deals with Warner Brothers, SEGA and others to provide games for the service. That being said, there are tons of good games compatible with the service. Available titles include Lego Batman 2, Infamous, Dirt 3, Batman: Arkham City, Dark Siders 2, the Walking Dead, NBA 2K14, The Last of Us, Dark Siders 3, Kill Zone 3 and The Walking Dead. There others too, which you can see in the image below.
There’s a PlayStation Now Free Trial Coming
PlayStation Now is a relatively new service. It’s pricing model and some of the requirements means that there are a lot of people with compatible consoles that haven’t yet tried it. Sony is hoping to remedy that with a big new feature.
When Sony rolls out PlayStation Now subscriptions for the PS4 it’ll also introduce a new free trial. PS4, PS3, PS Vita and PlayStation TV users will be able to try PlayStation Now completely free for one week. Like other parts of the PlayStation Now service, progress made during a PlayStation Now free trial should transfer over to permanent copies of the game and the PlayStation Now service.
The Same PlayStation Now Warnings from Last Year Still Apply
Those are the important things. That being said, there are other details that apply to PlayStation Now as a whole. For starters, don’t even bother considering PlayStation Now as a replacement for a service like GameFly unless you’re absolutely sure you have a decent internet connection. PlayStation Now is a cloud gaming service. You’re really playing games on Sony’s servers. Those services take input from your controller over the internet and then send you back a video feed. If you have a slow internet connection games rented through PlayStation Now will lag and ruin the experience.
Second, PlayStation Now is always communicating with a Sony server. For those with internet services from Comcast, Verizon or the like, that constant communication isn’t a big problem. However, there are services where this can get you into trouble. If you’re using tethering to download games and add-ons you’ll want to stay away from PlayStation Now. If the service you signed up for with your provider has a really low data cap you’ll want to stay away from PlayStation Now too.
Good luck with your PlayStation Now subscription if you’re planning on taking the plunge or at least trying the free trial on release. There really isn’t anything like it.