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What I think of the PlayStation Now beta – Reader’s Feature

PlayStation Now - hopefully summer 2015 for the UK

PlayStation Now – hopefully summer 2015 for the UK

A reader gives his verdict on the PlayStation Now streaming service, despite using less than the recommended Internet speed.

Morning fellow GCers. Thought I would share with you my experiences testing the forthcoming PlayStation Now feature on the PlayStation 4.

I was lucky enough to be sent a beta code for PlayStation Now on Friday evening, so I’ve had a few hours to get acquainted with the software. As some of you will no doubt be aware, PlayStation Now is Sony’s foray into the streaming games market. All you have to download is the software to run PlayStation Now (a tiny 2.5MB) and away you go. You will also (obviously) need an Internet connection.

Once downloaded PlayStation Now launches pretty much like the PlayStation Store. All the options on the left hand side of the screen and all the relevant information about said options on the right. There’s a brief welcome screen explaining what Playstation Now is all about, along with system requirements to stream the games.

As PlayStation Now streams games, there’s no need to download or install any game data. There’s a recommendation of a minimum broadband speed of 5Mbps, a wired connection and apparently use of the service will limit the use of other network connected devices.

One of the menu options lets you test your Internet speed. Initially I was concerned as my Internet speed runs at approximately 5Mbps, however everything ran smoothly for me.

Moving on to the games. As this is a beta, there were (only) 54 games listed to play. These were all PlayStation 3 games ranging from Batman: Arkham City to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, taking in the heady delights of Vessel and Dead Space 3. A varied mix to start off with.

On clicking a game, you are presented with the option of renting the game for either two days or 30 days.

For the beta trial both these options are marked as ‘free’. Obviously when PlayStation Now comes out of beta, this is where we will find out how aggressive Sony are prepared to be in their pricing strategy.

After selecting your required rental period you get the purchase confirmation screen, notification that your chosen game is now in the PS Now menu, and then the ‘game start’ screen appears.

As the PlayStation 3 controller has a slightly different button layout to the PlayStation 4 pad, the right of the touch pad is now designated as the PlayStation 3 ‘Start’ button, and the left had side is designated as ‘Select’.

The DualShock 4 PlayStation button now brings up options to either return to game, close game, to display a cut-down PlayStation 3 XMB menu so you can see who’s online and what Trophies you have earned, an option to return to the PlayStation 4 home screen, and finally controller settings.

That’s pretty much it. Your chosen game plays as it would have played on a PlayStation 3, and any Trophies earned attach to your account in the usual way.

There is a disclaimer stating that PlayStation Now games may differ from or lack some of the features that can be found in downloaded or disc-based games.

So far I’ve toyed with Batman: Arkham City, Dead Space 3, Vessel, and Heavenly Sword. All of them ran as I would expect a PlayStation 3 title to run.

The game library will obviously fill up, giving even more choice and gaming diversity to the growing number of PlayStation 4 owners.

As a service I can see this being nothing but a fantastic supplement to the PlayStation 4. As long as Sony don’t go crazy with the pricing, then PlayStation Now has smash hit written all over it. Maybe market it as a subscription service that could be added to the current PlayStation Plus.

As I stated above I was surprised that PlayStation Now worked for me as I’m only running a 4Mbps wireless Internet speed. This is a huge bonus for everyone not running a speedy fibre connection. It seems Sony has found a way to bring game streaming within reach of most of the gaming community. Obviously if you don’t have access to the Internet then you won’t be able to stream games…

To summarise, as a beta, PlayStation Now works as a game streaming service, and as a gamer, that’s all I really need to know.

By reader Sir_Monkeyballs (PSN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

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