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PlayStation Now, Now?

/ Jan 16th, 2015 No Comments

PlayStation Now

Recentyly, Sony announced it would launch the subscription model of PlayStation Now on Jan. 13. Subscriptions of the streaming game service would launch first on PlayStation 4 and roll out later on other compatible platforms like PlayStation 3, PS Vita, PlayStation TV, and Sony Bravio TVs. The subscription model should also come to compatible Samsung TVs and Sony Blu-ray players in the future.

Many people criticized multiple facets of the PlayStation Now subscription model. Everything from pricing to platforms to game selection left gamers wanting more. But was it an issue of the service or just typical Internet clatter?

I Got 5 on It

The biggest issue about the PlayStation Now subscription services is the price. When Sony first announced its plans for PlayStation Now, pricing was a huge question mark, and the biggest question was what would people pay for a subscription.

Since the beta started in June, people have found the pricing structure problematic. When the beta launched, many complained about the game library and the high prices.

Most PlayStation Now rentals have multiple prices based on time. You can rent a game from four hours to 90 days, with the price increasing the longer you wish to rent it. Most games range from $1.99 to $4.99 for four hour rentals, which is a huge investment. Naturally, most games offer a seven-day rental for a higher price. This a la carte pricing was simply too high, especially for a lackluster game collection.

I Want My PlayStation Now!

The seeming remedy to the high rental prices is a subscription model — or so you’d think. When Sony announced pricing for the subscription model of PlayStation Now, people acted like someone told them that Sasha Fierce is just Beyoncé. The furor over the pricing was extreme. A month of PlayStation Now runs $19.99, and a three-month subscription costs $45. Still, the price is too high. Rentals are too high, and subscription is too high, why isn’t this thing free, Sony?
 

PlayStation Now

Dat pricing doe.

While it is pricey compared to subscription services such as Netflix and Hulu, that is an apples to oranges comparison. Buying a ticket to a movie or a Blu-ray is largely cheaper than buying a video game, and movie rentals are typically cheaper than game rentals. Additionally, the bandwidth required to stream a movie is much smaller than a video game, affecting server costs. If video games are a more expensive product compared to movies, then wouldn’t a subscription to a game-streaming service also need to be more expensive than a movie-streaming service?

If we step back and take a second look at the a la carte pricing and gain versus the subscription, the benefit becomes obvious. Say you want to rent The Last of Us and Final Fantasy XIII. It would cost you $7.99 and $5.99 respectively to rent each for seven-days, which comes out to $13.98, and this is only for one-fourth of the time of a monthly subscription. Renting these games for a month would cost $14.99 and $7.99 combined compared to the $19.99 monthly subscription price.

So if you want to play any two of the games offered in the monthly subscription library for 30 days, you are going to pay more with less benefit.

Mainstream

Some say the PlayStation Now service should be part of PlayStation Plus because you are paying for that service after all. Why shouldn’t you get unlimited streaming on top of free games each month? Jokes aside, PlayStation Plus users should get a small discount on the monthly subscription and a la carte prices for PlayStation Now, not for any reason other than it is value added to PlayStation Plus and encourages more people to purchase rentals and subscriptions.
 

Essentially, the subscription model fixes the a la carte rental pricing issues by offering a wide selection of the PlayStation Now library for a much fairer price. It also gives subscribers a wider freedom to check out games, which they might otherwise be disinclined to play.

To add some more perspective, to play more than 100 games costs about the same as buying some of the games offered used or new. The bigger question is who really wants to play a bunch of older PS3 games?

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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