Examining the Value of PlayStation Now

January 21, 2015 Written by Tyler Treese

PlaystationNow

With the recent launch of PlayStation Now’s new subscription service, there is no better time to take a look at the initial offering. For $19.99 a month (or $44.99 for three months) players will have access to over 100 PlayStation 3 titles. Directly after the news was announced several unsatisfied PlayStation 4 owners went online to complain about the price point. Talking about value in gaming is always tricky (largely due to it being subjective) we hope that this article will help you better understand the service and what it can offer.

The Games

PlayStation Now’s subscription service will launch with more games than any gamer could possibly play in a month. Out of these 100 titles, 11 are not available for purchase on the PS Store. This means fans will have to stream some titles if they want to play them digitally. These exclusive digital titles include Obsidian Entertainment’s Alpha Protocol, Final Fantasy XIII, Overlord 2, Killzone 3 (curiously PS3 owners can only purchase the multiplayer digitally), and a few others. Offering up PS3 titles for the first time digitally might be key to luring in subscribers especially if rare, out-of-print games get added.

Some of the highlights of the first month include 2014 titles such as Bound By FlameSkullgirls Encore, BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma, and Earth Defense Force 2025. It is a smart decision by Sony to offer up recently released PS3 titles that PS4 owners may have missed if they had only focused on current-gen releases.

While exclusives and recent releases are nice, first party titles may be PlayStation Now’s biggest strength. The initial group of games includes all four Sly Cooper titles, God of War: Ascension, horror title Siren: Blood Curse, three Ratchet & Clank games, and inFamous. A few other first party titles round out the games including two of Naughty Dog’s PS3 stand-outs, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and The Last of Us.

Despite PlayStation Now not offering a fully comprehensive library of first-party games it is a great starting point for those who only owned a Xbox 360 last generation. There is no doubt that Sony will add or swap out more first party titles in the future to keep their subscriber base active.

A full list of titles, including third party stand-outs such as Batman: Arkham City and XCOM: Enemy Within can be found here.

The Price Point

The proverbial elephant in the room is the price point of the service. Although tech savvy consumers are accustomed to paying $9 a month for video streaming services such as Netflix, many have balked at the $20 price for a PlayStation Now subscription. The most comparable gaming rental service would be the PC based OnLive, which offers a catalog of 250+ games for $12.95 a month. OnLive, which allows subscribers to stream games from the cloud, also includes some of the same games as Sony’s service such as Batman: Arkham City, Darksiders II, Saints Row The Third, and Vessel.

The closest console competitor would be EA Access which allows Xbox One owners to play past EA games for $4.99 a month. The service is different from PlayStation Now, due to it requiring users to download games instead of streaming them. From a value standpoint, players are getting access to current-gen games such as FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Need for Speed Rivals, and EA Sports UFC for a fourth of the price of PlayStation Now.

While looking at the numbers, it would appear that PlayStation Now isn’t priced competitively in the current marketplace. Whilst all three of these services are competing for consumer’s wallets, only one is available for PlayStation owners. PlayStation Now will thrive or fluster depending on if it can find a niche for its service. This begs the question: who exactly is the target audience for PlayStation Now?

Who This Is For

The true value of PlayStation Now may not be for die-hard PlayStation users. Instead, it might become a great way for gaming enthusiasts that missed out on the PS3 to experience Sony classics for the first time.That isn’t to say there isn’t value for PlayStation enthusiasts though as there are other ways the service can be a good value.

Trophy collectors will find a lot of value in the service as just the thought of gaining access to dozens of new Platinum trophies is saliva inducing. While some of the licensed based titles such as Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game, Ben 10: Omniverse, and Madagascar 3: The Video Game may seem like shovelware to some they provide trophy opportunities for others.

PlayStation Now will also be a great way for fans to check out some of the smaller PS3 titles they may have missed. Titles such as Shatter, Tokyo Jungle, and Papo & Yo are under-appreciated video games that should be experienced by all. Sony giving gamers a chance to rectify some of their gaming mistakes at an affordable price is great.

A Statistical Look

While looking at PlayStation Now’s subscription service from a statistical view says more about the PlayStation Store’s overpriced digital games, it is still interesting to look at. If one were to purchase the 93 titles offered from PlayStation Now that are available on the PlayStation Store they would have to spend over $1,500. There is a clear difference between renting 100 games and buying them, it certainly will make some rethink the value proposition of PlayStation Now. In fact, some of the titles offered would cost more than a three-month subscription to the service. Games such as F1 2013 and NBA 2K14 both cost $59.99 on the store. There are also two titles in the $49.99 range including Earth Defense Force 2025, and NASCAR ’14.

The average cost of a PlayStation Now game comes out as $16.70. So as long as gamers are completing a few games a month, they are saving money compared to buying these titles.

Conclusion

As said in the beginning: value is ultimately subjective. Now some will undoubtedly find what PlayStation Now has to offer worth their time while others will continue to dismiss it. Let us know in the comments whether or not you’ll be checking out the service during its first month.

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