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Sony’s PlayStation Now Service Feels Like Highway Robbery

The problem with the PlayStation Now service is that Sony, at least at this moment, seems very confused about what they want Now to become. Despite having an undeniably brilliant idea on their hands, allowing the millions of PlayStation 4 owners to rent titles digitally, Sony has dropped the ball from an early stage, demanding prices that are ludicrous to the point that there is virtually no defending them.

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Xsilver1206d ago

ok Sony it's time to go to a Subscription Plan.

Mikelarry1206d ago

they are going to have to whether they like it or not, especially now that EA has come out with access if it catches on with other publishers sony will lose big time as they have invested too much in now to let it become a failure. also the subscription prices needs to be reasonable

iamnsuperman1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

PS Now is NOT like EA access. EA access require the user to run the game locally (downloaded it and play it) which is unlike PS Now (which is a streaming service) as PS Now can theoretically run on less capable devices. EA access is just plus but just for EA titles (exactly the same model)

Now Sony will have to go to a subscription model not because of EA access. But because no one will be using it and Sony invested a lot in the tech

Vitalogy1206d ago

What I dislike the most is the fact that they're charging for a beta, wanting for people to pay to test? But I honestly don't even blame them, I blame those who are actually paying for it.

You want people to test your service, you make it properly and don't charge for it.

Muerte24941206d ago

I don't think you're understanding the difference between the two. EA access is similar to PS+ as it allows you to get some games for free and discounts for the others. PS Now is comparable to Gaikai and OnLive. Each publisher sets their own prices.

http://www.forbes.com/sites...

"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."

Mikelarry1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

@iamnsuperman

I think you read my comment wrong. I never mentioned that EA access was like psnow, what I meant was if the publishers get on board with going the access route Sony will lose big time as they make some profits from publishers using their platform to reach consumers.

Are you that naive to believe EA access is not a threat to Sony psnow. EA access will be the first of many and if Sony is smart they will try to get ahead of the curve to entice both publishers and consumers to stick to Sony platform

@ iammsuperman:

guess we will have to see how this plays out

@ death

very good point, i cant speak for anyone but myself about not having realistic expectation for this service because i am for $5 a month to stream all games. i think it also does not help that most gaming media and gamers associate this to netflix so we some how expect the affordability and flexibility of netflix to apply here

iamnsuperman1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

@mikelarry

I think the biggest difference is EA will have no choice but to support PS Now or other similar services unless they create their own streaming service. PS Now is being poised to turn up on Tvs, phones you name it. EA access has a limited scope that can't tap those areas of revenue (due it needed to be run locally). EA is unlikely to deny getting paid just because they have a service that needs a capable machine to work. They are more likely to deny plus access as both service require the same thing to work. EA access is no threat to PS Now but plus

Death1206d ago

The problem Sony will face with PSNow is creating value for the customer while making a profit with the service. Gamers seem to be settling on $14.99-$19.99 a month for a subscription. Seems like a fair price on the customer side, but Sony will not make money offering 100+ games for about $.10 a piece. Games are consumable with many gamers beating them and moving to the next. While unlikely anyone will play 122 games in a month, once they do play all the games they like what is the incentive to keep subscribing? The best bet is to offer a selection of 100+ games, but offer a cap on how many can be streamed a month if they go with a subscription plan. Possibly with 5 games in a month for $14.99 which makes each game $3. Even then the amount Sony makes would be very small and may not cover the ocsts of the service.

I don't think gamers have a realistic expectation of the costs incurred to do this. It is very possible the existing customer base is not the target audience for PSNow. It's my opinion that PSNow will compete with the PS4 over customers with more casual gamers not interested in buying hardware being the target audience for the service.

dc11206d ago

If other publishers do the same then we (consumers) lose.
5 different plans for each of the major publishers = a potential 20.00 per month or 200+ per year.

EA's service is competing with PS+ not ps now.

GUTZnPAPERCUTZ1206d ago

What I don't like about PS Now, is the streaming. Everyone who has played it says it runs a mostly solid 30fps, but the slight streaming compression of 720p makes it worse. Downloading the title would look better, BUT that is the problem with older gen games and the new X86 (64bit)arch. They have to stream older games :/

EData1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

PS Now is about convenience, and hopefully, value, that is the selling point, just like Netflix. Of course you could go buy all the games used for cheap, you could buy Netflix movies exactly the same way. PS Now's library will grow just like it already has drastically.

I see no reason why Sony could charge $15 - $20 and not make profit, even if it is a relatively smallish profit in the beginning. There is no doubt in my mind this service could be a hit.

morganfell1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

@Vitalogy - so you do not believe in early access for games either? Suppose I look at your post history? Would I find a similar opinion on that?

Death is absolutely correct. Anyone that thinks Sony can make even a nickle on a $20 a month subscription is wrong. Sony would lose tons of money.

Think of it this way. You can finish most AAA games in a day, minus multiplayer. Theoretically - because that is the manner in which publishers participating in Now will look at it, theoretically - you could finish 30 games in 30 days. We know that is not necessarily feasible for most people but publishers will assume it is their games you are finishing. Think of the cost in those terms.

Consoldtobots1206d ago

to me it sounds like Sony doesn't truly understand the power of this platform. You are providing publishers with a vehicle to deliver content on a level unprecedented. You(Sony) can dictate prices and publishers will have to comply if they want access to the massive PSN userbase.

dumb dumb dumb

incredibleMULK1206d ago

I don't know, Sony is used to failure. I had high hopes for psnow, now its blowing up in their face like a trick cigar.

I guess its cosmic retribution for firing a bunch of loyal PS managers like Jack Denton and shutting down zipper.

morganfell1206d ago

@,

No. Just no. Publishers are accessing a vast majority of those consumers anyway. What you want is for them to slash their profits to rech more people. Now that would be dumb. News flash. Games cost money. Story at 11.

spacedelete1206d ago

i still don't see any point in PlayStation Now. why pay to rent games when all of the best last gen games are getting remastered anyway ? even Sony is doing it with The Last Of Us which could have been a big reason for people to pay up. with a remastered game you get the best image, framerate and its on disc so you actually own it unlike streaming which is just throwing money away.

even if theres a subscription it will still fail as all the best PS3 games are getting remastered. if i was Sony i would cancel PlayStation Now ASAP as its going to lose them a tonne of money.running servers isn't cheap.

fr0sty1206d ago

Sony have already made it very clear they are very interested in a subscription service for Now. As for the paid beta, part of working out the bugs is also working out the bugs in pricing, doing market analysis and seeing who is willing to pay for what, and then setting your prices when the service matures out of beta. this isn't just a test on the tech, but a test on the market for the tech.

donthate1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

The fact that Sony has now released it as an open beta essentially means the prices are there to stay. Beta is just a term these day to raise a shield and say "we are not responsible for problems"!

Depending on uptake and amount, publishers might not care if PS Now succeeds or not so they aren't likely willing to subsidize Sony's success.

BLuTheSecond1205d ago

Like I said before: Sony should just add this to PSN Plus instead of making it a separate service and then increase the price of PSN Plus to $60 a year to compensate for the added value.

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truefan11206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

This is going to hurt Sony greatly, I'm guessing the prices being high has something to do with paying the publishers and the $380 million cost of Gaikai. Sony is going to have to cut the price of psnow significantly if they want to give it any chance of success. To be honest, psnow seems destined to fail because of price and streaming lag. They should have just done backwards compatibility, they're fans would have been satisfied.

PS the only way a subscription would work is if psnow is only for games owned by sony, otherwise they would be losing money after having to pay publishers for their games.

XiNarutoUzumaki1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

''To be honest, psnow seems destined to fail because of price and streaming lag. ''

And here you are once again talking shiet without any proof. I tried it yesterday with Twisted Metal, and I didn't have any lag. 12 mpbs is my Internet. Yours must suck.

Also. It is so early to say it is destined to fail, unless you want it to fail. can't expect less from someone like you. With all these negative feedback toward this, Sony might change to a subscription plan. Le't hope they listen and fix it.

''They should have just done backwards compatibility, they're fans would have been satisfied. ''

Yes, but PS4 has no Cell Processor. Let it go and Move on. What about your dear Microsoft? Did they add BC too? No? STFU then.

johndoe112111206d ago

So I guess the only way netflix should have worked was if they only showed movies developed by netfix because they should be loosing money having to pay all those studios for all those different movies.

Your wisdom continues to astound me.

EData1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

lol lag, like you would know. Most articles I read on it stated little to NO lag. But I am sure you would just love it to fail judging by your comment history. yikes.

I think the pricing and content are the only two things that will dictate whether or not it succeeds. And the content is growing drastically. I feel prices will be worked out, they already mentioned a subscription model many times in the past and once a few days ago. They just need to understand their current price model is pretty bad.

MysticStrummer1206d ago

Here's what I see before "To be honest…", which is where I stopped reading because… well… it's you. :

Speculation + guesswork + opinion

gangsta_red1206d ago

Funny how everyone rips cloud compute without trying it but no one can say the same for PSNow...even tho few have tried it. I tried OnLive and there was lag. Does this mean PSNow could be the same? Especially for multiplayer games?

kenshiro1001206d ago

You never have anything constructive to say, do you?

You're the worst kind of fanboy on a gaming site.

averagejoe261206d ago

@true

Actually... No... The prices are that way because the publishers set the price... NOT Sony... Research before you speak on that which you know nothing of

Eonjay1206d ago

You oponion is fine but know that it doesn't lag. Ir really doesn't. Even when playing fast paced action games.

The reason why it may succeed is because it actually works. A library of games, like Netflix Library of movies, that start instantly.

S2Killinit1206d ago

@truefan1
Im playing a game right now (Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath) no lag here bro

AndrewLB1206d ago

XiNarutoUzumaki- My brother has Time Warner Cable 200 megabit internet and he tells me that he is only able to download like 1.5Mb/sec. 200 megabit gets you an effective download speed of 27-28Mb/sec and his PS4 is wired using gigabit ethernet. So it's clearly not on his end. It reminds me of the great download speeds that I get with my PS Vita except in my case, I believe it's the Vita's wifi that just sucks.

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nerdman671206d ago

As of right now I dont think they can, it would be too expensive for them.
The companies who made the games would probably want some kind of compensation from sony, which would add up and lead to a rather expensive subscription fee.

RzaDaRazor1206d ago

Let's say I pay for a 4-hour rental, then my internet goes out or I have something I must go take care of and can't get back to my house in four hours. I'm screwed. This is the worst business model that I've seen in a while. They absolutely cannot expect people to sit and play the game for four hours straight or one day straight. Completely stupid.

dragon821206d ago

What happens if you rented a game from Redbox for a day and had something come up? Redbox absolutely cannot expect people to sit and play a game for one day straight. Completely stupid.

See how stupid that sounds?

wsoutlaw871206d ago

Um u lossed a large 4$ and need to plan things better. Bad arguement.

ShadowWolf7121206d ago

I believe the "4 Hour" models are designed by the publishers around people trying before buying, not to expect you to beat the game.

It's still not as good as actually going out and renting it, but it'd definitely let you get a feel for whether you like a game or not.

Flare1491206d ago

Way back when they bought Gaikai it seemed like the obvious answer would be subscriptions, perhaps based on a number of hours a month, but definitely not limited to one title. And then for someone who really enjoyed a game an option to pay that $25 or whatever and just buy it so it would always be available to stream.

I think there's gonna be a lot of contract negotiation that needs to happen, but if they can get it together like Netflix (even if it's more, like $15 a month or something) then it could be really stellar. Plus there would still be that option to just buy specific titles for good, like if someone didn't want to pay the montly fee but wanted to have access to as many Metal Gear games as possible on the PS4

FanboyKilla1206d ago

I think sony is in big trouble with this. A great idea, but the execution is horrid. It looks like it costs more to operate than the actual profit. I mean i looked at it and left. You have been spending money, and countless hours into this, and i dismissed it within seconds. Uh oh. This has clearly been sonys focus thus far, and it is as i expected, a waste of time so far. Now i have no new games for my ps4, and a bunch of overpriced old games i dont want to play. Uh oh.

Im sure they are testing the water, but from the looks of it, their profit margin that they would like to make, is around these price points. Hell maybe olive garden commercials will start popping up during gameplay. JJ but it might go there. You buy that gaikai whatever, and you produce this. Sony as a company cant afford a loss like this. Im sure they are running around trying to get it right. All i can say is uh oh.

Muzikguy1206d ago

I'd love to see a subscription plan. I can't see it being very affordable though considering the prices they're charging now but who knows

SonyPS41206d ago

It's a difficult decision for Sony. Operating cloud services for applications the scale of PS3 games is very expensive and requires a lot of hardware as well as maintenance. It will get worse when more users are simultaneously using it.

Given that, and the severely dated internet infrastructure in the US, 2014 is just way to soon for cloud gaming. This kind of technology will become cheap and readily available in no less than 10 years.

Bigpappy1206d ago

If it is above $8/m, it will be a very tough sell. We are talking strictly old games here. I don't see very many people handing over $20 a month to play just old games that they have already played or passed on before.

EA may not have that vast library on their on, but if other developers follow suit, we could easily give one $5 this month and the other $5 the next month, with much better quality and more recent games to boot. I would say at this point, Sony needs to think fast as to how they are going to get this streaming service to succeed at providing the value, Onlive and Gaikai could not. I would like them to make they money back, but they have to find away to offer the value to users they said EA was not providing. You can't charge premium price for access to a library of old games. Find a way to profit by having every PS4 owner seeing value in signing up.

nunley331206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

The prices aren't too bad and is actually cheaper than the 2 bucks a day redbox charges if you don't do the 4hr rental. $7.99 for a 7 day rental or 11 or 12 dollars for a 30 day rental is reasonable and not robbery at all. But this seems directed at people without a PS3 since you could just buy the game for what the 90 day typically costs. I would just like to see the 4hr period change to 24hrs. Introduce a way for me to stream my purchased PSN games, whether have it a plus feature or an xtra fee.

AndrewLB1206d ago

I think all this subscription crap should just go away. Everyone should just pay for their games up front like we've always done via an actual disc or digital download. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, EA, etc are all setting up these subscription type systems, regardless of them being streaming or locally run, with the sole purpose of extracting more money out of the gamer. And at the same time, many people here seem to have an irrational expectation of these companies giving you full access to unlimited games for an obscenely low price which would never work for game developers. Why on earth would these companies give you access to even a single game for $5/mo... heck... even 15/mo! The damn game costs $60 at a store! The average gamer who buys a game typically gives it a play through which can take anywhere from 8 to 60 hours, and is done with it. Most games can be played through in a matter of a day or two.
Yesterday I decided to play through Crysis 3 on my PC since I never got to use the highest settings at the time It was released. 8 hours later i'm very close to the end. If I was able to get the game for $15/mo along with 3 others (one each week), that would be like me paying $3.75 for each game!! Do you all understand how insane you all sound expecting developers to pretty much give you all their hard work for pennies on the dollar?

rainslacker1206d ago

That'd be a good way IMO. Probably wouldn't get the newest games with it, but with a big back catalog it could be worthwhile. Again I would compare it to Netflix streaming service. Newer stuff isn't there, but plenty to watch otherwise.

Other than that, they just need to find a pricing structure that works for the publishers and the consumers. At this early stage, the prices may seem ridiculous to gamers like us, but may be perfectly reasonable to people who are more casual and just want to rent a game from time to time.

1206d ago
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nikrel1206d ago

They could fix the situation easily I think with 3 options.

1. 30min or 1 hour demo for free.

2. 7 day rental for 7 dollars.

3. Purchase of game for x amount.

Revisit old style pricing of store rentals.

Drop the 30 & 90 day rentals.

Godmars2901206d ago

Why are people insisting on demos or free trail periods?

$0.99 for 4 hours game time.
$1.99 for 12 hours
$2.99 for 48 hours
$3.99 for 84 hours
$4.99 for 168 hours

MasterCornholio1206d ago

They should have two options. Either you pay a subscription to play a selection of games an unlimited amount or you pay for game time. By game time I mean if you pay for 1 hour you have exactly 1 hour of playtime with the game. Which means if you play 30 minutes now in a week you can use up the other 30 minutes.

Godmars2901206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

Pretty sure that's exactly how it works. By an hour, immediately play for 20 minutes, forgot about for a week/month/year, come back and you still have 40 minutes. You're not just paying for one sitting.

Forgot to list one hour, which wold be sweet if it .25 or .50.

@Doge:
Certain by the lists I've seen that some games are free, likely just for that purpose. They also test your connection before you do anything.

Doge1206d ago

I would love to have a demo or free trial so that I would know how well PS Now works on my end.

Deividas1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

@godmars290

Its not how it works. Machinima tested it out and if you rent it for 4 hours. You have 4 hours of realtime not gametime

@Doge
There already was a free trial, it was called "closed beta" everything was free then.

EData1206d ago

Why not give people a week or a few days free to try it? That would help draw interest.

Godmars2901206d ago

@Deividas"
Well, then I can see why it sucks then. It should be game time. Pretty certain that they could do it from some demos I've played. MMOs.

S2Killinit1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

@Godmars290
I think therein lies the problem. You are asking that games be given out for 1.99 for 12 hours. many games dont take that long to finish. That means they are essentially giving the game away for 1.99. On top of it, they are paying for the servers and all the costs associated with running such a service. I think, some gamers have an unreasonable expectation for the service. Not that your opinion is not legit, I'm just saying that type of pricing would lead to losses for anyone who tries it. Personally I think the 4 hour option is too expensive (or maybe should be taken out) but the 7 day one is on par with renting a game from any other outlet. I'm playing Oddword: Stranger's wrath right now, there isn't any lag that i can see. I think they have a chance to make this worthwhile if gamers give them a chance. If the service takes off, Sony could have the largest selection of streaming games anywhere, which personally i think would be a nice service. No more renting from red box that has a maximum of what 12 games? 20? that's my two cents.

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Deividas1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

Those are some bad ideas man, sorry but that would not help.

And plus, you cant do a purchase of the game. Its an online streaming service...you never download the game, you stream it. And what happens when the developer wants to take the game off the service and people bought it and all of the sudden its gone? Its like a netflix...you cant buy an episode or show because they get removed and then replaced a lot.

All in all, I would rather have it like a netflix and pay monthly for the service rather than these crappy prices. I have wanted to try it but sure as hell not paying that kind of money

falviousuk1206d ago

Yes, you can purchase games if Sony so desired

PS Now isn't new, online has been running a streaming service for a few years now and allows a subscription model to play games in the sub pack, and also lets you buy newer games which are also streamed.

DiscoKid1206d ago

Meh. Most of these games take only an hour or two to beat anyway. The worth of a price is dependent upon the game.

ShutUpDonny1206d ago

Sorry, but I don't think the pricing is really a problem. Let's take the average 12h SP campaign. How long does it take to finish it ? One week ? Two ? Heck, you can finish a SP campaign of Call of Duty in a day! Even if the 30 days rental of a game is half the price of buying a full game, it's still a game you can finish for 50% off. For someone like me who doesn't play multiplayer and only play a game once, it's still not that bad. OK, some of the games are ridiculously overpriced, but it doesn't need to be super cheap to be a good value. Just a little cheaper than buying the game for a reasonably long period of time.

ruefrak1206d ago

This is my feeling. Look at games like Papa & Yo or Stick It To The Man or a number of other games that are fun playthroughs that take around 4-6 hours and once you're done, you don't really want to play it again.

Some games, like Journey, can be completed in that 4 hour rental time.

I think they should knock the options down to 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month.

nunley331206d ago

If you'd look you'll see 7 day rentals for $7.99 on several titles. Hell the picture in the preview shows alone in the dark, that costs $4.99 for 90 days, now is that highway robbery?

Spotie1206d ago

Nobody cares about that shit. They only want to look at the least popular option, claim that's the primary option, and then proceed to lament how shortsighted Sony is with the pricing.

They don't give a damn about reality. They just need something to troll.

And all these so-called journalists are feeding this nonsense. It sickens me.

ThatEnglishDude1206d ago

Alone in the Dark is massive fail though.

No one would rent it anyway.

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HAMM3RofBUDDHA1206d ago

Yeah the pricing model makes no sense. The concept and tech are neat, but not worth the costs.

nunley331206d ago

The pricing is good and cheaper than redbox which everybody seems to like and praise it's $2 a day rentals. Where here the rentals are alot cheaper than redbox. Maybe you'll just wait til the sub comes sometime in 2015. That would be a prudent move and the service will be far improved and expanded by then. These are early days remember and these aren't set prices.

Steptoe1206d ago

God Sony! Sometimes your nice. The next you act like total idiots. Wake up. The people don't like the prices.

moparful991206d ago

Sony doesn't set the prices, the publishers do..

Death1206d ago

"Sony doesn't set the prices, the publishers do.."

Which publisher is setting the prices for Sony published games?

nunley331206d ago

@Death If you were able to see the games being offered, almost all the games in it have been non-sony games. Moparful99 was correct they don't set prices but i imagine there's cooperation between sony and publishers on pricing. Killzone 3 was recently added and that's the only Sony game in the beta out of 122 being offered right now.

BattleTorn1206d ago (Edited 1206d ago )

I know Sony has invested a lot of money into the PS Now programs, but I feel like they'd be better off re-focusing on their PS+ discount - to make customers happy.

I personally don't have much interest in nearly all of the PS Now games, and when I tested it the Beta it wasn't the smoothest experience.

I'd much rather stick to my PS3 with my free PS+ games, and have them download to my system.

Also, for my friends that are new to PS, they really want access to the PS3's exclusive line-up, like Resistance3, inFamous2, Rachet+Clank, Uncharted...

Those are missing