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Playstation Now I like you… but not enough to play with

Playstation Now I like you… but not enough to play with

12.08.2014.

Gamers! Citérémis Supporters! Greetings! Recently, it has come to my attention that Sony has unleashed their latest beast which they baptised Playstation Now.  As the title suggests, I like the concept behind it but I do have my concerns. If I may, I will present to you what are, in my opinion, the pros & cons of this latest addition to the Playstation family. Please note that I do not own a PS4 as of yet & my PS3 has been on the fritz for quite some time. Heck, I haven’t even decided which console I will get yet either but figured I am in a good position to speak out since Microsoft nor Sony have wooed me to taking sides.

For those of you whom are not familiar with the Now, it is simply an online game rental service. Seeing that digital distribution is gaining in popularity, it isn’t surprising that Playstation has opted for this service. It is important to note as well that it isn’t the final version but rather, PS4 owners have had access to the beta since the 31st of July. On a side note, have we become too complacent with this practice which has been growing in recent years? Should we not be tired of being offered services that we know are inherently broken but yet congratulate them if it isn’t “that bad”? Furthermore, I cannot recall as of late either of any game that did not need a patch before actually playing it. Has anyone of us ever bought a car & was told “by the way, it hasn’t really been tested… well good luck! or “… by the way, you have to come back next week to pick up the muffler. Enjoy your new car!”. Granted, it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be exposed to a life threatening situation due to an online rental service, however we are paying customers & it certainly feels, for me anyways, that we should receive services which are at least closer to completion. Now, I understand the reasoning & advantages of a beta, such as not needing to pay for testers or to ensure a minimal financial risk if the interest is simply not present. However & maybe I am just grumpy today but, I am just confused as to how this practice still continues to this day. Can you imagine being given a plate with a picture of a meal you ordered because they were certain the stove was supposed to work!? Ugh, it looks like I found a topic for a future post. Right, back to the Now. Through your PS4 & via other compatible devices from the Sony family, such as the Vita, Sony TVs, etc, you will be able to rent from an “expanding game library” which includes titles from the PS3. They state that you won’t actually download games you rent but rather stream them from they’re servers & your progression will be stored in their cloud.

Alright, here is my take on the advantages of this service. First & foremost, I have always preferred renting games prior to purchasing. Besides my need to ensure its worth, I found that that several days was sufficient to complete most games & therefore did not need to dish out the full price. In this aspect alone, Playstation Now is not a novel idea but a perfect fit for me. Furthermore & this is my lazy side talking, but I would no longer need to physically present myself at a rental store. It can all be done in the comfort of my living room while jello-ed on my sofa. Concerning the cost of rentals, it seems that one of the deciding factors for price points are based on how recent a game is & that is a necessary step in the right direction. Sadly folks, this is as far as it goes.

Unfortunately, this brings us to my preoccupations. First, based on what I have read so far, the general prices of a rental are simply too high. It is understandable that a profit needs to be made but it is clear that unless they are modified in the future, I advise you to verify the purchasing price first. It is most likely that you will be able to buy some of the available games for a similar or even lower price either by second hand purchasing or just every deals. It has been mentioned that some games will charge up to 50$ for a period of 90 days. There is no point of renting a game if you can have it for an infinite amount of time at a similar or lower price & might actually get a return on it by selling it back. Fact is, Sony must remember that other viable options are available to gamers & if they cannot offer competitive prices Now, it might as well remain a beta. Come to think of it, this could be acceptable if Sony would permit us to pay the difference on the full price of a game after renting. Yes, I am a dreamer…

As far as rental periods are concerned, Sony is offering four options starting at 4 hours & 7, 30, 90 days. Each time slot will vary in price based on the game. If the price is acceptable, I am most interested in the 7 or 30 day periods. As a father of two, a husband to a great wife, having a full time day job & as of recently, a full time indie developer by night, I rarely have any time to play. Only by a miracle can I squeeze in 2 hours in one evening which signifies that a seven day rental period is roughly 14 hours of game time. Like I stated earlier, this is usually sufficient for me to complete a game. On the other hand, there is no way that I will pay 3 to 5 dollars for 4 HOURS nor 50$ for three months if I can simply buy it. I cannot argue that the cost of 4 hours remains cheaper than seeing a movie which, at best, could last for 3 hours but this is downright ridiculous. If anything, a four hour rental is a good idea if it is free & offered as a demo. It is the perfect amount of time to comprehend the overall game mechanics & choose whether to spend money on a rental or even purchase the game.

As far as the ever “expanding game library” is concerned & you will have to pardon my ignorance on this matter, but will they actually be able to store all of the eventual games that will be made for the PS4? I am only assuming but due to the increasing size of games, it seems likely that they might have to limit the duration of a game’s presence in the library or ask for more money to pay for the storage itself. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of PS3 titles they are boasting. Now, ONLY in the case that “space” does become problematic, I think that games intended for the PS3 should simply remain there. Sure, I am interested in the possibility of playing games I might have missed out on, however I will eventually purchase a next gen console primarily for the purpose of playing next gen games. I think I can safely assume that this is case for a large percentage of gamers whom acquired the latest console in order to replace the later. Heck, it isn’t difficult for one to find exchange deals in order to incite us on doing just that. They explain that this rental service is not intended as an emulator but rather a complementary platform with many new features, whatever that means. I understand that Now should only be perceived as a rental service but it begs me to wonder why the bother of adding PS3 games. Consider that a PS3 owner will not be able to play games that are exclusively intended to the PS4. Again, this is ONLY if space becomes problematic. Actually, I believe Sony has been presented with a great opportunity & in their best interest; they should simply build an emulator in its stead. Since Sony often proclaimed its deep desire to satisfy their following, give those whom have already purchased an extensive library of their own & not force a rental fee on them. Mind you, for those concerned, they probably kept their PS3 due to their investment & will probably not use this service. Nonetheless, I am certain an emulator would be welcomed, cheered & even become a huge “game changer” in this “console war”. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought myself & heard others mentioning their desire to keep & play their old games. Let’s face it, we all know it, our passion is an expensive one, always has been but have we not come to a technological era where such a transition could be less costly? After all that said, I hate to mention this since I am usually an optimist at heart, but even if the prices were competitive & that storage space was of no concern, the actual streaming service hasn’t even been heavily tested either. For those whom have downloaded a highly anticipated games on day one know it can be an excruciating experience.

At this point, even if I had access to Playstation Now, I would certainly be curious to browse however due to the state of affairs it is highly unlikely that I would support the service. As far as solutions go, just make it cheap. As I mentioned earlier, maybe even discount the rental price off the game for purchase in order to incite us to spend money. Finally, please reconsider the use of the 4 hour rental. Make it a free trial instead.

Finally, it seems that a conclusion should summarise the text you just read, followed by a reminder of possible solutions & end with a positive or memorable closing statement. So here it goes: Playstation Now, meh. Good idea, definitely needs improvements. Beta… really!? I am positive that if they do not make it cheap, its game over. Mouahahaahahah, I think I just wrote my worst pun ever.

On that note, take care everyone & if you are up to it, let me know your thoughts or experience on the matter. May the gamer be the winner! (That sentence was so bad that I am deliberately keeping it)

If you want to get more info on the pricing, type in your search bar: Playstation Now beta prices. You will find a heap of information. You can also check out the Playstation Now FAQ page here.

See you next post.

Alex

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