It was a bit of a shock when the Playstation Now prices were leaked online. Sony, a company with a growing reputation for providing exceptional value for money, seemed to have made a huge misstep with the pricing structure of the rentable games available on the service – but is it really as awful as it appears?
On the surface, the games currently in the Playstation Now beta do seem over priced. The general pricing structure is $2.99-4.99 per 4 hours, $5.99-$7.99 for a week, and $14.99-$29.99 for a month. This price varies between downloadable PSN games and full retail release but either way, the Playstation Now prices do feel inflated – especially when you can pick up a pre-owned copy of some of the games for as much as renting it for a month via Playstation Plus.
But is Playstation Now really that expensive OR is it worth the price of admission? Lets take a look at what you actually get for your money.
The Playstation Now beta is currently running on the PS3 and PS4 but the service will eventually span to the Vita, certified mobiles and tablets and personal computers. This will offer an unprecedented level of connectivity – start a game on your Sony TV, continue the same session on your tablet on the way to work, get a quick session in on a laptop during lunch and finish off on a PS4 at your friend’s house. The games you want, instantly, on almost any device you own. This is an incredible service and one worth paying a little extra for.
One of the main objections to Playstation Now in general is the lack of ownership of the games you pay for. Several of the main Playstation Now naysayers claim it is much cheaper to just buy a second-hand copy of the games and then trade them in. As a comparison, here is the math.
To rent Saints Row The Third via Playstation Now, based on beta prices it will cost £17.68 (current conversion from US$ to Sterling) for a month.
To buy a second-hand copy of Saints Row The Third from GAME, it will cost £10.99.
Add to this £4 for return bus travel/parking & petrol per trip to the store. Saints Row The Third is worth £2 as trade in value at GAME. All of this equates to a total of £16.99 (once the trade in value has been deducted).
The result? Playstation Now is 69 pence ($1.17) more expensive than going to a store to pick up the game. A small price to pay for such convenience.
Of course, this is the beta and we do not know what the final rental periods, prices or Netflix-style subscription fees will look like but is Playstation Now really that expensive? No. In fact, for a service that will eventually be revolutionary in its flexibility and availability, Playstation Now seems like a bargain.
EDIT: I did not include online shopping as I did not see it as comparable to Playstation Now. The idea was to compare the service to the quickest alternative. Waiting for a package to arrive can take several days Paying for over night or same day delivery does not impact the result – Playstation Now is cheaper in this instance (by £4.18).