A Look at Playstation Now on PC

PlayStation-Now-Logo

Recently Sony announced and released the Playstation Now app for PC giving access to their Playstation Now collection of 400 games to stream directly to your pc using your Playstation account. How does it perform? We’re here to find out!

The initial setup is pretty simple. The Playstation Now app walks your through a few steps that asks you for your country and then has you put in your Playstation account information.

It then brings you to a Netflix like user interface. It essentially brings you to a list of suggestions and themes. Further down you get a list of games alphabetically. The only feature here I would like to see is a search function.

The games available are many of the top first party titles along with some pretty good third party titles. Sony has their Unicharted, Killzone and God of War franchises pretty well covered.

There are some glaring omissions that to me make Playstation Now hard to recommend the service right now. There are no Square-Enix titles anywhere to be seen. In fact I would say that you really need access to all of the titles that are available on the store to make this service viable.

As to the performance of the service they recommend an internet connection of more than 10 megabits which I think for most Canadians is still a huge stretch. On top of that using a streaming service here in Canada is hard since most Canadians are stuck with 40 to 80 gigabyte data caps with their providers. Using this service along with a service like Netflix is really impossible with these caps in place. Of course there are services that offer unlimited data but that often comes at a premium over the base price.

For a look at the actual gaming performance I looked at a couple games that I have played in the past on the Playstaion 3 that are available on the Playstation Now service. Heavenly Sword and Pac-Man Championship DX+.

Playstation Now quickly recognizes your Playstation Dual Shock 4 hooked up via USB (as long as you do not have an XBOX One controller connected already to which the service will default and still function with) but controlling the interface defaults to using your PC’s mouse. There is a small icon on the title bar that switches to game pad input and then you can go through the game list as you would on the Playstation 3.

Selecting a game is as easy as using the arrow buttons and pressing cross a couple times. Each selection has at least a description of the game and the games boxart. A good half of the games or so have images to go with and sometimes even a trailer to watch.

When you select a game it takes some time to load. In fact I would argue it takes much longer than a Playstation 3 to load if you don’t factor in loading a disk or downloading and installing the game in which the Playstation 3 would lose every time over the Playstation Now service.

Video quality is adequate though I was hoping for more. It looks to me it streams at about 720p no matter what resolution your display is. It also looks to be compressed though not as bad as some online streaming services do with video. Blacks still look relatively black which is a big deal to me. Colours still look good as well.

Controls are pretty nearly as good as the having a Playstation 3 in front of you except for the slightest of slight delays in controls. It’s not terribly noticeable in Pac-Man as its not quite as demanding but Heavenly Sword seemed to be slightly sluggish when button-mashing.

Before I recommend this service to anyone I would need to see a larger selection of games. First party titles are well represented but third party titles are lacking. Perhaps this is where Steam comes in and covers the voice but for the monthly cost of Playstation Now at $19.99 or $99.99 I can’t recommend it.

Sony does offer a seven day free trial to check the service out and I expect that will be all I do.

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