PlayStation Now (or PS Now) is a video game streaming service by Sony. It aims at providing PlayStation gaming content to PlayStation 3, PlayStation TV, PlayStation Vita, and BRAVIA televisions.
The service also allows users to access many of PlayStation’s previous generation’s popular titles on demand. PS Now is essentially a library for the PlayStation’s past and future content.
The success of Sony PlayStation in the world of gaming is beyond any debate. On 20th February 2013, Sony announced the launch of its highly successful PlayStation 4 console.
The PS4 has almost hit its seventh birthday, and now the year 2020 will witness the introduction of the PlayStation 5. Over time, Sony has maintained the PS4 lineup updated regularly by introducing hardware modifications.
Furthermore, as of 2018, almost 876 million PS4 games’ sales indicate the profitability of PlayStation in gaming. Basically, PlayStation is a video game brand that offers five different home video game consoles and a media center.
It also provides an online service and its own line of handheld and phone-based controllers.
When PlayStation acquired Gaikai, the service was initially limited to the functionalities mentioned above. However, Sony decided to end support for PS Now in 2017 except for PS4.
In 2018, PS Now took some steps back and retraced to the old platforms rather than moving to new platforms. Sony announced that players could stream PS4 and PS3 titles on PS Now and download specific PS2 and PS4 titles with subscriptions.
Current Business Model of PS Now
As you can see above, PlayStation followed the business model of streaming on all supported devices, and then it switched to the platform-specific model.
PS Now focuses on PS4 only, and slowly PlayStation allowed the introduction of PS3 titles and specific PS2 titles for gamers to download and play.
Generally observing the business model of PS Now, it relies on delivering streaming services on a subscription-based model. Do note that the service has a requirement of at least a 5 Mbps internet connection for streaming games.
However, there has been a substantial critique of the internet connection speed requirement for PS Now. The recommended 5 Mbps internet connection speed can look very appealing to buyers.
However, it is inevitable to note that the ideal gaming experience on streaming services is possible only at speeds around 35 Mbps. Anything less than that can be a huge downturn in terms of gaming experience.
On the other hand, PS Now currently fills a niche market of PlayStation enthusiasts, who want to relive their old gaming experiences on new platforms. Gamers of all categories associated with PlayStation want to play the old classic games such as God of War. This increases the demand for PS Now.
The primary source of revenue of PS Now is evident in its subscription plans. In addition, repeated purchases of old PS2 and PS3 titles through separate download on PS Now would also contribute to its revenue.
PS Now Gaming Library Content
Claiming itself as a reliable streaming service, among the features PS Now presents is a massive gaming library. It is an online streaming platform you can use for streaming PS3 and PS4 games. You can also download PS2 and PS3 titles here.
So, rather than Xbox, which requires you to download games only, PS Now is definitely a promising alternative.
The different criticisms for Google Stadia or the press popularity of Xbox Game Pass might not be found in the case of PS Now. This is where PS Now presents a reliable advantage by offering what gamers need: an enormous list of games on demand.
Its competitors have a considerable disadvantage in terms of the gaming library content. Some are struggling at around 30 to 40 games, while Xbox is presenting just over 100 games. PS Now is undoubtedly a winner with its 800 games portfolio, including PS2, PS3, and PS4 games.
It is also essential to note that you cannot download PS3 games directly on PS Now. On the other hand, you can download many PS2 and PS4 games, including Metal Gear Solid 5, GTA 5, and Killzone Shadow Fall.
In addition, you also have the option to relive the PS2 classics such as Star Wars Jedi Starfighter, Red Faction, and Dark Cloud. PlayStation’s official site gives you an idea of the list of games in the content library of PS Now.
PS Now Subscription Fee
The initial monthly subscription fee for PS Now was one of the highest in the streaming services industry. At around $19.99 per month, the service was particularly a downturn for many gamers.
However, Sony decided to cut the prices in half. Now, you can avail to purchase a monthly subscription for the competitive price of $9.99.
Additionally, the new subscribers can also get an additional one week’s free trial. Users also have the option to save and buy access for three months, which is priced at $24.99.
Interestingly, PS Now also presents a yearly subscription plan priced at $59.99. This is the most cost-efficient way for avid gamers to use the PlayStation platform effectively.
Subscribers on PS Now
Another notable highlight about PS Now is the number of subscribers on the platform. According to the latest reports by Sony, PlayStation Now presently has almost 2.2 million subscribers.
PlayStation Now is the market leader in gaming subscription services, as it accounts for nearly 52% of the industry’s total revenue.
The most dominant aspect that can describe PS Now as a business refers to the demographics of the target audience it serves. Around 80% of its users come in the category of 18 to 35-year-old males.
Users want to explore PlayStation games on new platforms without having to do much searching. Users in the demographic of subscribers of PS Now also include PlayStation enthusiasts.
Many old classics could provide a viable engagement source for multiple players worldwide as these have a superior value for them.
Most importantly, every competitor has its unique advantage that stays ahead of PS Now. For example, Xbox Game Pass offers a cost-effective approach for a wholesome gaming experience on Xbox consoles.
PS Now VS Google Stadia
On the other hand, Google Stadia is also an emerging competitor, albeit the many negative reviews it has had to face over its launch. Stadia’s gaming streaming quality and its emphasis on popular games such as Destiny 2 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are its prominent advantages.
Additionally, the GeForce NOW subscription plan offers different functionalities that could be very appealing to modern gamers. Users can get a 90-day free trial option with GeForce NOW to test all its premium features with the Founders membership.
Gamers can also benefit from additional session length, thereby allowing them to access more freedom and more time to play games. GeForce NOW also offers priority access to the cloud gaming servers of NVIDIA.
PS Now Competitive Advantages and Weaknesses
One above the other, the competitors keep on piling up their strengths by learning from the market failures.
As the cloud gaming subscription market continues to grow in size every day, more and more industry players would try to make a mark through their new and revised offerings.
If PS Now has to become a formidable and robust name in the world of the cloud-based subscription gaming industry, it has to reorganize its strategies.
PS Now is capitalizing on its marketing with a subscription model to address customers’ different pain points regarding cost.
Its competitive advantages are the massive game library and the opportunity to play on PC. The extensive game library is a definitive advantage over other cloud gaming subscription services as it addresses the most basic need of gamers: games.
With the large assortment of games available on PS Now, it is the perfect option for beginner and expert gamers. In some cases, it could also appeal to gamers interested in playing the old PlayStation classics.
A tool that can help PS Now gain a competitive advantage over its rivals is the support to play on PC. Many enthusiastic gamers have been waiting long for the availability of PlayStation games on PC.
PS Now could target this particular aspect to gain an advantage over their competitors.
It also has to focus on resolving low streaming quality issues and the input lag, which have a substantial influence on users’ gaming experience.
Its streaming quality is also another disadvantage that presents the limitations on its potential for gaining popularity in the gaming industry’s online streaming services.
It is essential to note that all the PS Now games are locked at 720p resolution, and from there, the streaming quality reduces according to the quality of your connection.
However, playing the PS Now games on 4K displays is not a favorable option for a good gaming experience. You’ll find muddy textures, and the age of the games would become noticeable.
On the other hand, you don’t have any clear option for adjusting your resolution using PS Now.
Furthermore, you would have to compromise with streaming quality on specific titles while using PS Now for PC because you cannot include any personal add-ons or DLC.
The present status of PlayStation Now, six years after its launch in 2014, is in a gray area. The growth of PS Now has been comparatively slow, and it has not been able to gain adequate media traction it deserves.
The main reason for this could have been the initial pricing mishap with its launch and the lack of a comprehensive and robust infrastructure. The short-term plans of PS Now for sustaining its competitive advantage in the industry should primarily focus on offering value to the customer.
Customer requirements should be the topic of focus on short term plans of PS Now.
On the other hand, the long-term plans of PS Now must focus on the expansion of its infrastructure and address the pricing concerns for ensuring more straightforward and effective access to PS Now.
PS Now should also improve its streaming capabilities to ensure that users can play the highest quality games. Simultaneously, the gaming experience on PS Now should also look at revisions in the form of features for improving latency.