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PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the stream-all-the-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Sony acquired nascent cloud gaming service Gaikai, it was obvious they were interested in bringing streamed gaming to the PlayStation. The service is in the process of coming online, in a beta test that started this week. The idea is simple, and one that game companies are excited about — but it's also complex and expensive, creating a new problem for each one it solves. The biggest difficulty you'd expect — latency — actually seems to hold up pretty well. It'll even hold its own when fighting for bandwidth with Netflix and other video streams.

But the expense of using the service is excessive. "To rent Darksiders, a game that's been practically given away to PC owners thanks to Humble Bundle and the collapse of publisher THQ, you can pay $14.99 for 90 days, $7.99 for 30 days, $5.99 for 5 days or — no joke — $4.99 for four hours. ... Final Fantasy 13-2 costs $29.99 for 90 days. A used copy of the same costs $20 at GameStop." In addition, the pricing options are unusual and unpredictable. Users can't simply pay a flat monthly fee for service. "Variable pricing is in place because Sony gave the publishers and developers free reign to set their own prices, which results in wildly disparate costs for different games and different periods of rental time. It's not even mandatory that you have to have all four categories of rental time. I went to check out Saints Row 3 and found that it only had the four hour and 90 day options."
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PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons

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  • sega channel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @12:51PM (#47589255) Homepage
    Anyone else remember sega channel for sega genesis? i think 11.99 got me unlimited games on it for the month (granted i only recall 5-8 games on it at a time, and they would rotate every month) Seems like a much better price structure to me. 9.99 a month to play whatever limited rotating catalog is there, i think a number of gamers would pay for that, but with the prices the way they are talking it will fail (after it makes moms and dads angry at their kids for their 200 a month gaming bill)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sega channel was the shit, and way before its time like most Sega products when I think about it. IMO the Sega Channel and the Dreamcast having a 56k modem were very innovative products.

    • God, I wanted Sega Channel so much as a kid. All my friends at school had it, but I lived out in the sticks, where there wasn't cable.

      Anyone else remember sega channel for sega genesis? i think 11.99 got me unlimited games on it for the month (granted i only recall 5-8 games on it at a time, and they would rotate every month) Seems like a much better price structure to me. 9.99 a month to play whatever limited rotating catalog is there

      You pretty much just described Playstation+. Except it's $49.99 a year (or the $9.99 a month option if you're silly,) and although games are rotated out monthly, once they've been added to your account you can still download and play them as long as you're a member. If I were so inclined, I could go download and play a game that they rotated out of the service two years ago.

      • Playstation+ is only $50 a year and it gives you a large selection of games to play? That's cheaper than Netflix, how is this not news?
        • by DrGamez (1134281)

          Well now it's mandatory to play online, and XBox Live does (sorta) the same thing with it's free games so it's slightly less "amazing".

          But before the PS4 era, Playstation+ was pretty spectacular for value, so much so that Microsoft has had to play catch-up.

    • Also closer to netflix...

    • by DiEx-15 (959602)

      Anyone else remember sega channel for sega genesis? i think 11.99 got me unlimited games on it for the month (granted i only recall 5-8 games on it at a time, and they would rotate every month) Seems like a much better price structure to me. 9.99 a month to play whatever limited rotating catalog is there, i think a number of gamers would pay for that, but with the prices the way they are talking it will fail (after it makes moms and dads angry at their kids for their 200 a month gaming bill)

      That isn't a fair comparison. Not everybody was able to get the Sega Channel because of technological limitations. Unlike now where Sony's crap is delivered via internet.

      Case in point: I lived in Iowa (which is still in the stone age as far as I am concerned) when the Sega Channel came out. I asked the precursor for MediaConArtists (otherwise known as Mediacom, a Comcast offshoot) for it and they gave me herp derp about how they were unable to get it. Basically they said that they were limited, technolog

    • That could work but the period of time before rotating titles would need to be greatly increased because games take waaaaaay longer to beat nowadays than back in the Sega Genesis era. For example, you could blaze through Sonic the Hedgehog in maybe an hour or less but even modern platformers have a 10+ hour play time before completion (unless you are speed-running or insanely good at the game).

      Sony's current pricing scheme is not going to work as it's just way too much for little time. Hopefully the excess

  • Sony can pack it in (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They are so far removed from their customers, they don't even see it anymore when they're gouging them in one way or another. They bought their own intellectual property propaganda hook, line and sinker. Can't let the consumers have anything for a flat fee. Can't let them use anything in a way that wasn't intended.

    Sony, things don't become valuable by putting locks and price tags on them. Repent or you're finished.

  • I was a huge fan of OnLive, probably spent 300+ hours using the service. it's a shame it went under, but I'm glad to get the Now.

    the best part of Now is it will bring a deep library of older games to my PS4, which is suffering a bit of a content drought. I'm not worried about the pricing, as I usually burn through a game in two or three weeks and rarely touch it after. So $8 seems like a fair price to pay for bringing the best of the PS3 library to my PS4.
    • How is everyone at Sony Corp? Tell them to make a new game called "Sockpuppets On Astroturf."
      • whatever. reading it over, i think my post comes across a little bit fanboi-ish, but tbh I was a huge fanboi for onlive. to have onlive again (or an equivalent service) is huge for me. ymmv.

        ok, i'll throw you a bone. i looked at their launch catalog. and it seemed a little anemic. some of the games are cool - saints row 3, deus ex human revolution, but these were also on onlive (obv that publisher is super into the idea of streaming) and I played through them. some new ones there that I've never played, l
  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @12:56PM (#47589279) Homepage Journal

    Were it "Netflix for games" you'd pay a flat monthly fee and be able to play whatever game(s) you want.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      and if you live outside the US, the service will cost more, but have about 10% of the games, and only about 3 of them will be of any interest.

    • Were it "Netflix for games" you'd pay a flat monthly fee and be able to play whatever game(s) you want.

      There are plenty of movies that aren't on Netflix streaming. Now if you meant Netflix's DVD service, then the Netflix of video games is called GameFly.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      But Sony Games, or EA Games, or whoever it is, you get crappy games at a high cost, even if you have access to their full catalog. Yes, Netflix doesn't have everything, but it has a lot of good stuff and high quality stuff. I would not want even one single game from Sony, even if it were free.

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      It's more like Amazon Video, but "Amazon Video for games" doesn't get as many clicks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That is one hell of a mess.
    They should have went with fixed subs.

    Pay-per-use is more like Blockbuster or something else similar. Look how that turned out.

    Having BOTH systems isn't that bad though.
    PPU and a subscription is the best method. Throw in PAYG and you will actually have a service that will last more than 3 years.

    • Having BOTH systems isn't that bad though. PPU and a subscription is the best method.

      yeah right. onlive opened with this model, and people here went apeshit. heck, people on here complain because they pay for cable and have to watch ads too.

  • This is awful. If this were something affordable and flat rate it would be an amazing success. -gotta be a way, better way, better waaay hey..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Reign means "to rule over" or, in noun form, the period of rulership (Elizabeth's long reign). Reins are the straps used to control a horse in saddle or harness. To be given free rein is to be allowed to do as you please. To rein someone in is to prevent them from doing as they please.

    http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/03/rein-or-reign/

  • This is one of those problems a free market can solve. It might lead to better games, if some games do well at higher prices while others have to lower theirs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Siloed software on a monopoly isn't a free market...

    • A free market would be allowing competing services to the customers - ran by independent businesses. This is literally the opposite of a free market, it's a SONY market, where publishers can offer their products with 4 options available, their freedom is to set the prices.

  • pros and cons (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947)

    Sony

    There's your biggest con, right there.

  • by Torp (199297) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @01:30PM (#47589427)

    Not with this pricing model.
    PSA: On consoles, it's much cheaper to buy retail discs than to touch any form of digital-only delivery. Especially if you're willing to wait a few months from launch, but even if you buy the latest and greatest(tm).

    • On consoles, it's much cheaper to buy retail discs than to touch any form of digital-only delivery.

      Unless, of course, the game is not sold on disc at all. Many of these are games of smaller scope than a typical disc game.

      • by Torp (199297)

        Yeah but those kinds of games tend to show up on PC on humble bundle, steam or gog later... for 1.99 :)
        Or even on console - check out the disc for Journey Collector's edition on Amazon. It actually contains Journey, Flower and Flow.

    • I'm not sure if this counts, but on handhelds, day of release, I couldn't find fire emblem awakening anywhere. It was available at the same price on nintendo's e shop.

      I don't know if that changes things fwiw.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They've improved enormously lately. Every year during the manufacturers' crazy sales I stock up on five year old games for a few quid apiece. I'm still playing through the £50 I spent in 2013.

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @01:40PM (#47589477) Journal
    ...here's why:

    Renting games is ANY company's wettest dream. Hollywood have a long history of re-releasing their old office hits over and over again, milking the same cow into retirement and even beyond the grave, and families of actors & owners loves this, it's a guaranteed way to get money - basically forever!

    Why sell you the game, when they can rent it to you over and over again? Remember that cool GTA5 game you paid 60$ (Some of us in Sweden paid 120$ for it) back in the days? 10 years later you want to revive your "fun days" and in a future of "rental only" game systems, they'll be able to MILK you into oblivion for as long as it takes, with literally millions of old programs from every system, simply because you didn't protect your purchases - it's not their fault either, it's YOU who accept it and thinks it's totally okay to do so.

    Netflix is a GREAT ad-free service, so much so that I've been lazy when it comes to my DVD collection. But what Netflix doesn't give me is a permanent possibility to relive those fun moments I had with a few flicks some years ago...unless they've paid for the license to retain the flick in their collection. When it's in MY DVD collection, I don't need a license or permission, I just dust of that old DVD player and have a GREAT time - for free (or at least get the full value of true ownership).

    I have Wii-U, and we finally have some great games for it (certainly took a while), it even comes with downloadable indie-games that are so cheap (and fun) they rival the second-hand store/game-this-and-game-that-stores AND it's possible to RE-install on the same console if I should decide to sell the console, that's okay in my book...downloadable games as long as they're somewhat transferable...is the future and the way to go, I love not having to SWITCH between CDs all the time.

    So there you have it, Sony Or Microsoft won't get my money this time as they've chosen the wrong way - excessive greed.
    • That's because you have the streaming service instead of the DVD rental service.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They still rent games now. You may be paying $60, but you can only play it with permission and you do not own it. Move to a new computer and you may need to buy it again because it won't let you re-install. Or your DRM vendor goes out of business and you lose your games. Or they force an mandatory patch an you breaking the game. Luckily no one's been like Amazon and deleted your purchase, but the capability is there.

      • Luckily no one's been like Amazon and deleted your purchase, but the capability is there.

        Sony already lost me when they first announced that they wouldn't touch the Linux install possibility on the PS3, and then ONE month later announced that their latest update would remove the possibility to install another OS onto it.

  • "But the expense of using the service is excessive, blah blah" = "It costs too much."
    • The service is still in beta, too -- I would hope they rationalize the pricing (especially for first-party games) by the time they end the beta. Personally, I can't see myself paying these rates ever -- I have a perfectly functional PS3 that I still use more than my PS4, and I somewhere have a PS2 for all my really old disc games.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This company is the master of shooting themselves in the foot. One way or another.

  • Bandwidth caps will kill this and I personally will never use the service cap or no caps. I want zero worries about bandwidth usage. And I refuse to rent games ever.
  • Netflix gives me unlimited access to an enormous library of content for $8/mo. Playstastion Now gives me temporary access to individually purchased items. The two are nothing alike, other than the fact that they transmit temporarily owned content over the internet to the customer.

    As to the pricing issues -- yes, they are destined to fail. Netflix and Amazon Prime made it cheaper and easier to pay for content than for people to acquire it through other means. Services like RDIO made it almost absurd to bothe

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @10:44PM (#47591673) Journal

    This is just the latest blast of greed from Sony with this console.
    I purchased a PS4 just a week or two ago, after holding out this long with our aging PS3 system -- under the assumption it would be a worth successor. In a few ways, it is. Certainly, the new DualShock controllers are one of the highlights. They're more comfortable to hold, have the ability to plug in headphones and route the game audio through them, have the touch-pad in the middle, different colored lights indicating player 1, 2, 3, etc. Good stuff. But then I discovered you couldn't even download your MP3 music to the PS4 from a memory stick to play it! The only way it seems to allow music playing is via a subscription service! Then you have to pay for the PSNetwork, or else you're pretty much locked out of playing games online. (That was always a reason I preferred PS3 to X-Box in the past... Don't like to pay subscription fees just for the privilege of online play of games I just paid $60 a pop for!)

    I'm *almost* surprised Sony didn't tell me that like my satellite TV box, I'm simply renting it from them and must return it when my subscription with them expires!

    • I'm on the cusp of upgrading -- currently sitting with my retail PS3, modded xbox, and dusty wii. You make some good points and after reading that, I think I'll wait on the PS4 upgrade.. pay to play online? I think not. Waiting for these issues to be resolved, appreciate your insights.. I'd have modded it up if I had points right now. Thanks! :D

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Sunday August 03, 2014 @04:09AM (#47592443)

      What did you expect? The old Sony is back - after taking a beating by both the Wii and Xbox360 last generation, they were humbled.

      So they produced this piece of hardware called the PS4. They saw the Xbox One and how Microsoft fumbled it (again, Microsoft got greedy because they saw the success of the Xbox360). They see the PS4 outselling the Xbox One by miles and think they own it all.

      The lessons were that no, the Xbox One isn't out - think of it as the PS3 of the last generation (the PS3 was a joke until a couple of years in and a few price drops later). In fact, the Xbox One sales are probably like the PS3 was back then. Both can end up quite successful (the PS3 was quite a good system in the end).

      Even better, we NEED both. If anything, to keep both Microsoft AND Sony honest. And they are - features announced on one are added to the other, so competition is keeping both in check.

      Heck, PS+ and Xbox Live - the free games keep getting better because Microsoft started offering two games a month, then Sony, and so on. Blu-Ray 3D was next (Microsoft announced it for the August update, PS4 got it the week after that). Media playback is probably coming next.

      There's no doubt, though, both consoles are INCREDIBLY immature at launch - they both needed a year - even now both are way better than they were at launch.

    • Also there's a good reason why the Playstation store shows PS3 content when you have a PS4, as otherwise the shelves would look rather bare.
  • Thanks guys but would you fucking stop now? First you decide locked-in un-upgradeably consoles are cool. Then you decide DRM-laden games are cool.

    Now you're going to make the industry think we all want to rent games ad-inifinitum. For fuck's sake STOP!!!

    I sometimes like to play my games from 10 years ago. Will you be able to do that? FFS...

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