Yesterday, Sony introduced the gaming world to their Open Beta of PlayStation Now, a digital game streaming service that allows PSN users to instantly access titles from an ever-growing library and stream them instantly to their console. The idea of PlayStation Now is wonderful in premise, specifically because of the ability for PS4 owners to rent and stream PlayStation 3 games that they might not have had in the past.
The problem with the PlayStation Now service is that Sony, at least at this moment, seems very confused about what they want Now to become. Despite having an undeniably brilliant idea on their hands, allowing the millions of PlayStation 4 owners to rent titles digitally, Sony has dropped the ball from an early stage, demanding prices that are ludicrous to the point that there is virtually no defending them.
Simply put, at this juncture, there is literally no reason to rent a game via the PlayStation Now service.
I say this not from a place of moral superiority or fanboyism or anywhere other than simple fiscal responsibility. The current prices that Sony expects are considerably higher than what they should be, to the point that many of the 100 plus games currently on PlayStation Now, it would simply be more cost-effective to simple purchase the game from a retailer, rather than rent the ability to stream them for any given period of time.
For those unaware, Sony’s PlayStation Now service offers four distinct rental periods, all at different price points. Starting at a mere four hours, users can also rent a game for seven days, thirty days or ninety days. These short trials tend to start around $2.99, while seven day rentals average around $7.99 at the time of writing. This seems innocuous enough, until you take into consideration that many of the current offerings on PlayStation Now are older titles from the PlayStation 3’s library and can be bought for the same price – if not cheaper – outright, not simply rented.
A prime example of this PSN price gouging can be seen when examining Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Kojima’s classic was released in 2008 and is currently available for rental on PlayStation Now, starting at a four hour trial for $4.99. People are always willing to pay for a great game, but charging that much for a few mere hours seems something more like ignorance considering that the game can be bought for $6.99 used from GameStop.
The argument that I am sure will be made is that PlayStation Now is catering more towards those who do not currently have a PlayStation 3 and want to experience the game’s impressive library. While there is certainly some validity to this, Sony’s current pricing strategy seems more like modern day highway robbery than anything. The fact of the matter is that without reevaluating their pricing structure, Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service is destined to be dead in the water.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”