PlayStation Now is a gaming service provided by Sony. The service changes the way people play video games. Usually, you need to have the game files on your device to run a game. But, worry not! PlayStation Now makes use of cloud-based gaming. This means that the game files are in a cloud storage. To run the game, you will simply need to stream the game files using an Internet connection.
Know more about PlayStation Now, its features and how to play on it with this complete guide.
What is cloud-based gaming?
Cloud-based gaming is a new gaming technology that is slowly becoming mainstream.
Basically, cloud-based gaming is gaming that heavily relies on cloud technology. Cloud technology makes use of a cloud which can serve as a data storage. A cloud stores and maintains data remotely from the user. A user receives this stored data by having the cloud transmit it.
When applied to gaming, cloud-based gaming means that a game runs from a cloud. Usually, when a user plays a game, the game is usually downloaded or installed into their device. In the usual set-up, a game can only run if all the files to run it are present in the device.
In comparison, cloud-based gaming doesn’t require a user to have the game files on the device. The game files are instead stored in a cloud. The game can run for as long as the user’s device has access to the cloud that has the game files. The user would usually need to have an Internet connection to access the cloud with the game files in it.
PlayStation Now is a cloud-based gaming service created by Sony. The service released in 2014 and allows users to stream PlayStation 2, 3 and 4 games on PlayStation 4 and PC. These games are being streamed from a cloud. If you want to access the service, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee. They also need to have a 5 Mbps Internet connection and a DualShock or XInput controller. You can use a wifi booster to help you speed up your internet connection.
Sony announced PlayStation Now in 2014. A closed beta for the service started for the PS3 in January in the same year and later for the PS4 in May. Open beta started in July 2014 for the United States and Canada on the PS4. The open beta also became available for PS3, PS Vita, PS TV, and 2014 Bravia TV.
The service went on full release in the United States and Canada in January 2015. It also became available in Europe by April 2015.
In August 2017, Sony no longer made the service available on the PS3, PS Vita, PS TV, and Bravia TV. In 2018, PS2 games became available for streaming on the PS4, as well as PS4 games.
By 2020, PlayStation Now offers streaming for PS2, PS3 and PS4 games for PS4 and PC. A total of more than 800 games are available for streaming and new games are being added monthly. The service is available in the United States, Canada, Japan and in 16 countries in Europe. A total of more than a million people are subscribed to the service.
PlayStation Now vs. PlayStation Plus
There people confused with PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus. They wonder which is much worth it or if they are just similar services. PlayStation Plus is a completely different service to PlayStation Now. It is a premium service for PlayStation Network users. The service launched in 2010 and it now has 38.8 million members.
The only similarity between the two services is both use cloud servers. PlayStation Now uses it to stream games into devices. But, for PlayStation Plus, the service only uses it to store saved game files. Using PlayStation Plus’ cloud storage feature, users can save up to 100 GB of saved game files.
Aside from its use of cloud, PlayStation Plus is a completely different service. Its members enjoy a lot of extra perks. Every month, they are able to access a free PlayStation 4 game. They are also able to get early access to any demo or beta. The PlayStation Store offers PlayStation Plus users up to 75% discount. There are also automatic software updates and game patches for PlayStation Plus users.
These two services are for two different kinds of PlayStation Network users. PlayStation Now is for users wanting instant access to PlayStation’s vast game library. PlayStation Plus is for users who want something extra to their PlayStation membership.
How to subscribe to PlayStation Now?
Before starting a subscription on PlayStation Now, check first if you have these. You need a PlayStation 4 with a PlayStation Network account and payment details. A DUALSHOCK 4 wireless recorder and at least 5 Mbps Internet connection are also needed. You’ll need to learn how to check your internet speed for optimal connection. They might ask you to provide your credit or debit card or PayPal details for the subscription.
The service is also available for PC. The requirements for PC are similar to the ones for the PS4. For optimal performance, your PC also needs the following:
- Windows 7 (SP 1), 8.1 or 10
- At least 3.5 GHz Intel Core i3 or 3.8 GHz AMD A10
- 300 MB or more storage space
- 2 GB or more RAM
- Sound card
- USB port
For minimum specs, your PC can have a Core i3 2.0 GHz instead. Once you have these available, you can go start a PlayStation Now subscription.
PlayStation Now has three subscription modes based on the payment schedule. The cheapest subscription for the service is at $9.99 per month. There is also a subscription option where you pay every $24.99 every three months. This means a per month cost of only $8.33. The best value subscription is a yearly subscription of $59.99. This means a per month cost of only $4.99.
To set up your PlayStation Now subscription, go to PlayStation Store. Then, go to PS Now. After that, select which subscription plan you want to avail.
There is also an option to try out a seven-day free trial period. This will allow you to gain access to PlayStation Now’s more than 800 games for streaming. Once the free trial is over, it turns into the $9.99 per month subscription. You cancel the subscription if you cancel before the free trial is over.
You can cancel your PlayStation Now subscription by simply turning off its auto-renewal. When you subscribe to PlayStation Now, it automatically sets auto-renew for the subscription. Ideally, it’s best to cancel subscription before the end of the subscription. This is to make full use of your subscription and to avoid paying for an extra subscription. But, you always have to option to cancel your subscription at any time.
On the PS4, go to Settings, then Account Management and then Account Information. After that, select PlayStation Subscriptions and then PlayStation Now. Under this, choose Turn Off Auto-Renew.
You can also do this on the web. First, sign-in to your PlayStation Network account. Then, go to the PlayStation Store subscription page. Following this, select the Turn Off Auto-Renew option.
You can also turn off your PlayStation Now free trial using the same steps.
How does PlayStation Now work?
PlayStation Now makes use of cloud-based gaming. This means that your game runs using files stored in a cloud. As such, you will need to have good Internet speed on your PS4 or PC. The recommended Internet connection is at least a 5 Mbps wired connection. Once you have a stable Internet connection for your PS4 or PC, you can now use PlayStation Now.
To start streaming a game, open the service’s app first. Then, find the game of your choice and select Stream.
Using PlayStation Now on the PS4 comes with limitations. You cannot sign in or stream on two PS4 games at the same time. You cannot also do Broadcasting, Share Play and Remote Play.
When streaming a game, there are PlayStation Network features that become unavailable. These include the following:
- Share button
- Share functionality
- Video chat
- PS4 keyboard motion input
- Share Play
- PS VR
- PS Camera
Streamed PlayStation Now games have a maximum resolution of 720p. They are also streamed in stereo audio only.
When streaming a PlayStation Now game, you can auto-save data to a cloud storage. You can access and play starting from this save game in PS Now in another device.
There are times that users will end up in a queue while streaming a PS Now game. This is likely because of that game having high traffic. While queued, you can access other features of PlayStation Now. It will notify you if you are now in front of the queue.
If queues are not your thing, you can download a PS Now game on your device instead. To do this, simply find your game of choice on PlayStation Now. Then, select Download.
You can download as many PS Now games as you like. Just keep in mind that there are PS Now games that are not downloadable. Also, check if your PS4’s storage can handle the download. When you have a downloaded PS Now game, you need to connect to the PlayStation Network weekly. This will maintain access to that game as it needs to verify your PS Now subscription. Also, note that you cannot download PS Now games on your PC.
Downloaded PS Now games are accessible either through PS Now or the PS4 Library. To access using PS Now, just go to its app, then go Browse Games and then select the game. Pressing Start Game will allow you to start playing the game. On the PS4 Library, go to Library, then Games and then select the game to start.
You can stream a PS Now game that you have downloaded. You can also download a PS Now game that you are streaming. But, you cannot automatically transfer data between streamed and downloaded games.
To transfer data between streamed and downloaded games, upload it to the PS Plus storage. From the streamed game, press the PS Button. Then, go to Application Saved Data Management. Following this, select Saved Data on PS Now and then Copy to Online Storage.
From the downloaded game, highlight the app in the Library. Then, press the Options button and go to Upload/Download Saved Data. Under this, choose Upload.
Once you have uploaded the save file, you can now download it. To run it on a streamed game, press the PS Button. Then, go to Application Saved Data Management. Once there, select Saved Data in Online Storage and select Copy to PS Now.
To run the saved data on a downloaded game, highlight the app in the Library. Then, press the Options button and go to Upload/Download Saved Data. Under this, choose Download.
PlayStation Now features
PlayStation Now offers a lot of interesting features for its subscribers. Here are some of the features that the service offers.
PlayStation Now interface
PlayStation Now’s interface is similar to those used in streaming apps. Its main screen features the games available in the service. There are options to sort the games by genre and rating. These games are also displayed in terms of popularity and recent additions.
There are also additional tabs to make it easier to search for games. A tab is there for the games that you already have. There is also a browse tab to look through more available games. There is a search tab that makes it easy to find the game of your choice.
Overall, the interface is good. It allows users to easily navigate through the service. The interface also allows making it easy to find the games that users want to play.
PlayStation Now game selection
PlayStation Now offers a wide game selection for its users to stream or download. As of 2020, PlayStation Now offers up to over 800 games. These consist of PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 game titles. Among these games, around 300 of them are available for download. PlayStation Now users can also access new games every month. They have some of the most epic games available.
The pro of this feature is that the number of available games makes the subscription worth it. This is in comparison to buying single copies of video games these days. For example, you got the annual subscription for PlayStation Now. This means that you get to access more than 800 games for just $4.99 a month. Compare this to buying a single copy of a game that usually costs around $60.
The only con to this is not all the games are available for download. While you can stream games, there are times that you’d prefer to download them. This means that you would need to check first the availability of PS Now’s games.
PlayStation Now stream quality
PlayStation Now games can stream with a 720p resolution. Stereo quality audio is available when streaming PS Now games. But, this depends largely on the user’s Internet connection. To reach this quality, it is optimal that a user has a 5 Mbps connection.
The pro of this is that games have good quality despite streaming it. Usually, we do not expect this sort of quality from streaming. This shows how capable PlayStation Now’s service is.
The con of this is if you are meticulous about graphics resolution and audio quality. For this sort of gamers, 720p might not be enough. They may also not appreciate just only having stereo quality audio.
PlayStation Now online multiplayer mode
Aside from streaming games, PlayStation Now can also handle multiplayer gaming. But, actual multiplayer gaming can be disappointing. PS Now users have reported connection and latency issues during multiplayer games. Latency is the lag it takes for the game controls to respond with the screen. For multiplayer games, lower latency means less lag in gaming. Ideally, latency should just be a few milliseconds. But, PS Now users have said that they experienced up to seconds of latency.
With this, there is only a con for this feature. High latency will mean multiplayer would not be a fun experience. In multiplayer games where every second matter, high latency is not what you’d want.
PlayStation Now games
Here are some of the 800 games available on PlayStation Now.
Red Dead Redemption
Set in the Wild West, Red Dead Redemption is an action-adventure game by Rockstar Games. It released in 2010 as the second game of the Red Dead series. Players find themselves as John Marston in the American frontier in 1911. Marston, a former outlaw, must bring the members of his old gang to justice for the government.
Red Dead Redemption became available on PlayStation Now in December 2016.
The Last of Us
A post-apocalyptic United States overrun by mutated cannibalistic creatures. This is the setting for The Last of Us, a game developed by Naughty Dog. Released in 2013 as an action-adventure game, players take the role of Joel. He has the task of escorting the teenage girl Ellie against mutants, and even hostile humans.
The Last of Us is only available for streaming on PlayStation Now.
Darksiders allows you to play as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Released by Vigil Games as a hack and slash game in 2010, you play as War. The game takes place in a world at war between heaven and hell.
Darksiders was originally released for the PlayStation 3. A remastered version became available for the PlayStation 4 in 2016.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West sees the player battling it out against mechs. This action-adventure game came out in 2010 from Ninja Theory. It is set in a world ravaged by a global war with humans trying to survive against hostile mechs.
Until Dawn is a survival horror game released by Supermassive Games in 2015. Unlike most horror games, it takes a form of an interactive game with its story told in a drama format. The player takes control of the survival of eight people on Blackwood Mountain. Every decision taken by the player can have a big consequence to the story.