PlayStation Now has been in beta for a while, and the public has been able to see what game streaming is actually like. Largely, Sony has done an awesome job with the service, allowing us to relive PlayStation classics on the PlayStation 4. However, there are still some problems that I would like to see hammered out before this becomes a regular and normal piece of the PlayStation Network. Consider the constructive criticism from a fan and devoted follower Sony. Maybe it will help you out.
Problem #1 – Lag
Game streaming is never going to be perfect. There will always be a delay between pressing a button on your machine and having an action get carried out on a server. Unfortunately, this is just unacceptable for many titles. Timing games like Rock Band are straight out. Fighting games will be nearly impossible to play in single-player much less multiplayer. Shooters will take a lot of adjustment, especially the more twitch based arcade shooters. There may be no good way to actually handle this through a streaming interface.
Perhaps as technology gets better, our consoles can stream the actual game code into ram and run it locally while syncing up with another remote copy running on a server, but until then there are always going to be random hangups and lag spikes with the service, no matter how smoothly it normally operates.
Problem #2 – Pricing
Sony is going to have a hard sell with PlayStation Now. They are essentially selling you games you already bought. It’s not even games you already bought ages ago, allowing you to relive old forgotten classics. Its games that you bought only last generation… quite literally.
Right now you can rent games for a short period of time, or purchase them. Sony has talked about including subscription services, or rent to own programs, but one thing that they will not entertain is entitlements for people who already own the game. This, in a word, is BS.
Granted, Sony needs to make money for their hosting services, but they already are. You have to pay for a PS Plus account just to be able to use these services, even though the PS3’s online capability was free. Now we have to pay even more? Heck, I wouldn’t even mind tacking on an extra 5 bucks a month for PS Now capabilities but let me play the games I already bought, ESPECIALLY the digital ones. You HAVE that data on your servers, you KNOW what I own. Asking me to pay for the same game again is outlandish.
Problem #3 – Usability
Frankly, PlayStation Now just isn’t usable enough. It’s kind of hard to see how much time you have left with a game, or when you first purchased it. PS Now games don’t get accessed as easily as other games in your library. Not to mention errors with the system are cryptic and hard to understand, and even harder to fix. Heck, by PS3 is frustrating enough when I get a DNS error back.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with PS Now, console side, server side, router side, and more. Not only that, but a lot of gamers are going to try to use PS Now with whatever random WiFi connection they have, not thinking that connection speed might effect gameplay. That is going to turn a lot of people off.
Are there solutions to these problems? Frankly I don’t know. Maybe the amount of people that will be affected by them will be low enough that Sony just won’t care. What do you think? Are you going to use PlayStation Now? Let us know in the comments.
Former Contributing Writer