Well it seems that Sony’s plans to launch Playstation Now, the company’s planned game streaming service, are on schedule and rapidly becoming a reality. Some recent PSN maintenance has been done recently and in some regions it’s been delayed slightly. Why would that be? Well, Sony could be testing out how to make PS Now a public beta, according to recent evidence of the service being partly live for users outside the closed beta as shown by users on Twitter and NeoGAF.
The header picture was retweeted by the unaffiliated @PSNStores Twitter account, showing payment options for Altus’ Catherine. The options show the full price for the game along with the download size as well as one day and week-long rentals which are oddly for free. It’s possible that prices just haven’t been added in yet but this is also possibly opening up PS Now for a public beta test to see how the service works under a larger load.
When NeoGAF discovered this, some of the users immediately found the same options and tested out if clicking on any of the rentals actually made any changes on their account history, which would indicate that much of the back-end is functional already. One user showed a screenshot showing that the trial did appear in his account with the PS Now tag and a month-long rental period which is more than enough for anyone to finish Catherine.
As the release date for PS Now nears it’s becoming a hotter topic because people are now asking about pricing. Ideally, there should be a way to rent the game for a long enough period to have actually bought it because some people won’t know if the game has enough value for them to require a full purchase. It would be really awesome, for example, if your renting the game for two week-long periods results in a discount for the full product when you eventually figure that supporting the developer is a good idea.
The other question is how much would people be prepared to pay for rentals? Many DVD stores locally offer one or two-day rentals while some do weekends or even longer term plans. BT Games has a fantastic trade-in rental service (or had? I’m not sure if it still runs) and that opens up gaming to a much bigger audience than the people who buy new or second-hand.
One other interesting aspect of PS Now is that with this being done by Sony, one of the biggest names in the entertainment business, it opens up the doors for its competitors to do the same, including the self-appointed bastion of PC Gaming, Valve. In fact, if Valve is able to bring game streaming to PC through the Steam client, that would turn the games market completely on its head. We’re going to need a lot of popcorn if we’re to get through all the action happening this year.
Oh, hang on, I have a US PSN account and an active UnoTelly subscription. Hmm…
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