PlayStation Now has been around for a while. It came to life as Sony’s proposition to streaming games. In addition, it also filled the void that the lack of backward compatibility left. The service has been around for a while, yet, it hasn’t been a strong selling point for PS4. Nor it seems to be included, at least so far, in PlayStation’s strategy to make PS5 more appealing; especially now that Stadia and xCloud are in the oven. PlayStation Now has potential. Still, there’s a lot more love Sony could be giving to its streaming service, just like Microsoft has done with their Game Pass approach. Here are some lessons that PlayStation Now can learn from Xbox Game Pass
Less Reactive, More Proactive
Sony’s original approach towards PlayStation Now was for it to be a streaming solution. We can’t deny the evolution of the service from its inception to the present day. PlayStation Now is now available not only on PS4 but also on PC. You can also download PS4 games instead of only streaming. All these changes have dramatically improved the user experience. Although, all these changes have occurred after the competition had already provided a similar solution.
It is true that PlayStation Now is mainly a streaming service. But, allowing downloads is clear proof from Sony that the Game Pass model works and that many players around the world aren’t necessarily ready for a stream-only solution. PlayStation Now deserves a little more attention and priority now more than ever. The streaming revolution is about to kick in with Google feeding millions into Stadia and Microsoft betting for all-digital strategies like Game Pass and cloud solutions like xCloud. Sony seems to care about PlayStation Now, as they have gradually made the service stronger. Thus, its time for them to drop that love a lot harder. PlayStation Now needs to become less reactionary to the needs of gamers and more proactive in finding better ways to deliver value.
PlayStation Now needs current releases
This is a clear lesson that PlayStation Now can learn from Game Pass. In these recent months, Game Pass has been adding top-notch AAA titles some months after they release to the market. Rise of The Tomb Raider and Monster Hunter World serve as an excellent example of this practice. PlayStation Now rarely surprises with their monthly additions. In most occasions, the only times it truly stands out is when PlayStation exclusives are added to the service.
Game Pass library is smaller than Sony’s offering, yet, it is more appealing due to them continually updating the available catalog with current titles. This is an area PlayStation Now seems to be lagging on in comparison to their competition. A good example is this month’s addition to the service. The PlayStation Blog recently announced that PlayStation Now was going to lead this month’s addition to the service with Batman: Arkham Knight. Don’t get me wrong, Batman: Arkham Knight is a great game, but is about to become 4 years old this June. Game Pass, on the other hand, leads this month with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which was launched in the last quarter of 2017.
Value vs. Price
Xbox has been shredding the price of Game Pass. That makes sense now more than ever with their new disc-less Xbox One S model on the market. Still, the value that Game Pass currently offers is unbeatable. You get every Microsoft exclusive on release date and in addition to that, you get discounts on games that are included in Game Pass if you want to buy one for some reason. At the moment, you can get 3 months of Game Pass for $1 (if you’re not already a member or are not currently subscribed).
PlayStation Now is a lot pricier at $19.99 a month and a 7 day free trial for new members. Yes, that is due to the streaming portion of it. But, similar to Netflix’s pricing structure, they should offer lower-tier options at a more affordable price. Not all gamers want PlayStation Now’s streaming service or are interested in a PS3 backlog. But, most players would be interested in a Game Pass type solution that would allow them to play a big library of recent games at an affordable price. Add to that some of the latest Sony exclusives, and you have a killer service.
PlayStation Now deserves a bit of the spotlight
PlayStation VR has been on Sony’s spotlight recently. They even dedicated a considerable portion of their first State of Play conference to the device. Similarly, PlayStation Now deserves a bit of that exposure and dedication. The most that the service has gotten recently is posts in the PlayStation Blog. As well, the last major update the service got was the ability to download PS4 games.
Microsoft is pushing their subscriptions and digital services utilizing all the marketing shenanigans they can think of. The next State of Play has been announced, and it is unlikely for PlayStation Now to be mentioned there. We can only hope that the service gets revamped and its value gets overhauled as more information about the PS5 becomes available.