Friday we gave you a few reasons why Playstation Now could easily rule. Sony’s game streaming service will let users play games from the first three Playstations’ libraries on a variety of devices, from the Playstation 4 and Vita to mobile devices and Sony TVs. Its potential might be great, but there are a few things that could make Playstation Now less like the awesome Playstation Vita and more like that weird thing your grandma once bought you.
Below are five reasons why Playstation Now might not rule:
It’s simple, really. What’s the major thing Playstation Now needs to succeed? Reliable internet connection. What does America have? Less than reliable internet connection. Sony says that you’ll need a 5Mb (megabit) per second connection for a “good experience” with the service. All reports from CES claim that PS Now works almost flawlessly, but Sony would not say how far the show floor was from servers and there were few people playing at once. It remains to be seen how PS Now will perform under real world conditions, with servers thousands of miles away and millions of users plugged in at the same time. And that’s to say nothing about what could happen in a post-net neutrality America.
Sony has yet to announce any pricing options or any possible Playstation Plus integration for PS Now, other than there will be Netflix like subscriptions as well as the ability to rent individual games. Those who are worried that the service could be pricey should take note of Sony’s track record of late. Both the PS Vita and PS4, the electronics giant’s newest devices, are reasonably priced at $199 and $399 respectively. The comparison to Netflix, which has subscription options for $8-12 a month, should also be seen as a very positive sign. But, from the company that sells this, nothing is off the table.
As we noted in our list of the good things of Playstation Now, users who are connected to the service through a TV, and especially a smartphone or tablet, will need a Dualshock 3 in order to play. Not such a big deal for those on the former, which, unless you’re the ultimate tech vagabond, will be on a stand or wall somewhere in your home. But for those hoping to use the service on the go via the latter, the condition of needing a physical controller could be clunky, and hamper the mobile aspirations of the service.
While the possibility of Playstation Now eventually including new games could be a win for the consumer, lowering prices and making availability nearly instant, it could also hasten the death of physical media in gaming. Blu-ray disc games aren’t expected to die out any time soon, but with the increasing amount of games going digital and the possibility of a legitimate game streaming service, physical media could be on the way out. For many, this isn’t an issue. For many others, the possibility of no longer racking up game boxes to proudly display on a shelf is heartbreaking.
You may be feeling a sense of deja vu, or you may think that this article simply wasn’t edited. Rest assured, this is not a mistake. So much of Playstation Now, and what it could be, falls in the positive column, save for this one really big thing. It might not work. So big, in fact, that it deserves to be on this list twice. The amount of questions surrounding the service’s performance in a real-world setting are immense, and until reports from the closed beta and the service’s summer 2014 launch, answers will remain scant.