For the longest time, Sony's game streaming service, PlayStation Now, has played the second file to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass. But, in recent years, Sony has slowly been improving its PlayStation Now lineup. The result? The gap is much closer than most would like to think. One could even argue that there's no gap at all right now.
Before anything else though, let's talk about what exactly PlayStation Now is, how much it costs, what's included in the service, and of course, answer the question, "is PlayStation Now worth the money?"
What Is PlayStation Now? How Does It Work?
PlayStation Now is a cloud-based service that's no different from Netflix (movies) and Spotify (music), except that it is for gaming. It gives subscribers access to a library of games from the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Much like the aforementioned streaming services, PlayStation Now gives you access to its catalog of video games at any time at your own leisure. All you need is an active subscription and a live internet connection.
Similar to Project xCloud by Microsoft for the Xbox consoles, PlayStation Now subscribers get to enjoy games that are streamed directly to their display with controller input sent to the massive servers hosting the said games. Because this happens in a near-instant, there's very little delay or latency issue involved if any.
In addition to letting you stream and play older titles, which is a feature that's unfortunately not available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 by default, PlayStation Now also lets you access certain PlayStation 4 games, including newer ones like Marvel's Avengers.
According to Sony, you'll want to have at least a 5Mbps internet speed for an optimal experience at 720p gaming. Naturally, the faster your internet speeds are, the better your experience with PlayStation Now will be. In fact, many users, including us, recommend internet speeds of around 35Mbps to 50Mbps for zero-latency gaming.
Is PlayStation Now Available Everywhere?
Unfortunately, no. PlayStation Now is limited only to select countries.
Here is a complete list of all countries where PlayStation Now is available:
- United Kingdom
- North America
- United States
How Much Does PlayStation Now Cost?
Similar to PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Now is available in three subscription plans: $9.99 for a month, $24.99 for three months, and $59.99 for 12 months.
Is PlayStation Now Worth It?
PlayStation Now was first introduced back in 2014. Back then, PlayStation Now was a vastly different product from what it is today. For the first few years, PlayStation Now only offered timed access to PlayStation 3 titles. Then, the Xbox Game Pass came in 2019. After this, Sony restructured PlayStation Now to stay competitive.
Rather than offering limited and timed access to just PlayStation 3 games, PlayStation Now included games released on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. In addition to this, PlayStation Now offered local downloads of PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and certain classic PlayStation 2 titles. Unfortunately, because the PlayStation 3 did not have backwards compatibility, PlayStation Now subscribers can only stream titles released for the PlayStation 3.
With that said, would you believe us if we told you that PlayStation Now has a bigger library compared to Xbox Game Pass?
At any given moment, the Xbox Game Pass has at least 100 high-quality games in its library. In comparison, PlayStation Now has more than 800 games for you to stream and nearly half available for you to download and play offline, which is far more games available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers even when you include EA Play.
Subscribe to PlayStation Now Today
Is PlayStation Now better than the Xbox Game Pass? Not exactly. In terms of quality of titles and recency of releases, the Xbox Game Pass wins. Microsoft isn't afraid of throwing big money to secure titles like Outriders, MLB The Show 21, and Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance at launch. In comparison, this doesn't happen with PlayStation Now.
If it's any consolation, Sony has been trying to fix this. It's still not offering recent titles on PlayStation Now, but games like Control, Marvel's Avengers, as well as first-party titles like Marvel's Spider-Man, Days Gone, and God of War, have all appeared on PlayStation Now.
PlayStation Now is also a lot more transparent compared to the Xbox Game Pass when it comes to when it's going to rotate games in and out. Titles come with a specific date when they will leave the service. On the other hand, Xbox Game Pass doesn't. All subscribers get is an announcement of which titles will be removed soon.
At its current price point and with its offerings, is not 1B to the 1A of the Xbox Game Pass yet, but it's close. If Sony starts launching first-party titles on PlayStation Now, that's probably the time when it will overtake Xbox Game Pass.
For now, PlayStation Now will have to settle as a close second and one that's well worth your money.