playstation now

Playstation Now beta prices are not as dreadful as they appear

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.

playstation now beta 1

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).

Sean Davies

Heart Failure Analyst by day, Review Editor by night. Co-Founder of PSGamer.co.uk, father to 3 and avid trophy hunter.

22 Comments

  1. With the physical option you have the option to keep the game forever or until it stops working. Comparing that physical price to the rental price of the same game for a month just doesn’t work. It may be a better option to get the rental option for the month but what then happens when you want to play it again in the future? You’ll have to fork out more dosh.

    I can understand the majority of your argument and I do like some of the advantages this service offers but unfortunately with the price so high just for rentals, I don’t see this being a big hit. Steam can currently stream to every device in your house, no matter the clients power, that is part of the same service without the high rental costs. Other companies will do this for a lot cheaper, even Online is better than this, price wise compared to how many games you get access too.

  2. You can try to defend this pricing as much as you like with made up bus / fuel prices etc, but the fact of the matter is Sony are charging people to beta test the service. Some people may live 30 seconds away from a store where they can go buy discounted games or even rent them for far less than they can form Playstion Now. Also you are missing the point that it would cost £10.99 plus whatever traveling expenses lets for arguments sake call it £16 to OWN the game and not just rent it for a month!!

    Trying to say the pricing is good value for money and discount online shopping from your wacky clickbait of a thread is nuts!

  3. Sorry, meant OnLive, not Online.

  4. My local bus prices -http://m.firstgroup.com/ukbus/staffordshire_cheshire/farestickets/tickets-return_fares/a
    Check out any NCP website for the parking charges.

    Now that you know I am not lying,
    I agree, it is not right that Sony are asking people to pay to test the service in a beta – that is not good and a personal bugbear.
    The prices however, I stand by. If these prices were the same as release, I would use PSNow all the time. In hotels when I am on business trips. When I need something to keep the kids occupied when I have a hangover. There are a lot of situations where paying less than £1 more to get the game for a month makes total sense.
    This was never going to replace traditional sales but complements them by offering instant access at a tiny premium.

    • Jason
    • June 25

    You can’t just convert the price to British Pounds based off of currency conversion right now. Don’t forget the EU gets ridiculously taxed on digital downloads. If a game is $59.99 on the US store it will be £59.99 on the UK store. Going by these rates PS Now could be a very expensive program for users in the EU. This has bugged me a lot this generation as I’m trying to go pure digital yet paying more than going to the shop (middle man) buying a blu ray disc with packaging. I’m not sure who to be mad at really…

  5. Yes, the EU is a total d%*k to us regarding digital downloads but I think the comparison still stands. The only reason I converted to Sterling was because I knew the price of physical games, fuel, buses and parking here. You do raise a valid point though – will there be a price difference between the EU and US? Scary thought.

    • Adam
    • June 25

    Bias much……So your not going to the store for anything else…, Also that price of the used copy is still costly and you can pick games up for like $7-10 Australian dollars used which is like 5 pounds, Also why not compare it to a rental service,,,,Its hard for me to judge because im for Australia but i can hire 2 games a week for $30 a month, So like 8 games a month for like 17 pounds where as one PlayStation plus game is 17 pounds for month…I’m sorry but this isn’t a instance where you should pay a premium for something, If its priced like this then the masses will not buy into it, I support Sony and gladly spend my money on them but this pricing is unapproachable and if this is going to be the future of gaming ill stick to outdoor activities,

    At the end of the day it will only have a small marginal audience at this price, This isn’t convenient its pure laziness from people who cant put together a few games and plan ahead.

  6. It should have been like netflix, pricing is ridiculous right now.

    • Andy
    • June 25

    Yeah, you have to take into account that the longer you play the pre-owned game the less it cost per month is where as renting a game for 5 month has a constant monthly rental price that doesn’t go down.

    • Jason Bateman
    • June 25

    Uh yes they will and the prices ridiculous. Sony overhyped and overconfident again. Their hubris will be their downfall soon enough.

    • RussellGorall
    • June 25

    Another hard-hitting fanboy fodder bit.

    I can just imagine your sister site for Xbox’s reaction to always on DRM… “It actually is great news”

    • InUrShower
    • June 26

    The math in this article gives me cancer.

    10.99 + 4.00 – 2.00 = 12.99 not 16.99

    Not to mention it based its argument on an the insane decision that anyone would trade in a game for $2.00 afterwards.
    There is no argument that the Playstation Now Beta prices are ridiculous but I assume that each company will further adjust the pricing of gaming rentals later on.

    The PSNow is a good concept but there are definitely weaknesses that will impact the gaming industry negatively even with future prices changed. If a large portion of Playstation customers use PSNow instead of buying hard copy games, this will destroy a large section of profit for game shops and game producing companies profiting from limited edition hard copy sales.

    From my point of view, I really can’t say that I support the PSNow, if this is what Sony invested in the past few months in then we might be seeing the end of it’s momentum from last year’s E3.

    • Dirk
    • June 26

    The prices as seen in the shots are total crap. At a minimum every single 1 of these games would be under $30 (USD) and it would take me less than 8 minutes round trip to go my local gaming store and pick up a copy. I think at least 2 of them were part of the subscription service you can play for free because you’re a PS+ member. PlayStation Now might work as a rental service to see whether you want the full game, but the games would have to be a lot newer than 2 years old. If these prices stand I can’t see the service succeeding, but I have been wrong before and maybe Sony thinks they have information that I don’t.

    • Bobbo Sanchez
    • June 26

    How exactly do you play your game on the way to work? Cell phone internet isn’t going to be anywhere strong enough to stream games. And playing at work? That really depends on your work, but most business internet access isn’t really setup for that kind of bandwidth to individual clients. They’ve been spreading this image around of gaming “on the go” (such as when the Vita was first announced, pick up your ps3 games and take them with you!) but I have yet to see anything actually deliver on that. There is no internet access while you’re out and about that is up to actually streaming games. The only benefit of this service is a slight convenience factor to play older games. That being not having to drive to pick the game up or not waiting two days for free two day shipping with Amazon Prime. I’d much rather drive a little bit to be able to own a game for less than a subscription for however many days. Not to mention, these are older, outdated games. It’s like they took the idea of backwards compatibility and turn it into something profitable.

  7. 10.99 + 4 (to buy the game) + 4 (to trade the game back in) – 2 = 16.99.

    Your maths is horrible.

    • Andy
    • June 26

    Actually i’m still not sure how this adds up.
    £10.99 for the game + £4 for bus fair = £14, then you’re saying you have to pay £4 to trade the game back in? Or do you mean £4 to get a bus back to the shop to trade the game in? And then £2 for the game
    As you’d be in no rush to trade it in surely you would use an online tradein with free delivery?
    Either way, as I said before, working out a cost per month is a much better way of doing this.

    • Alex
    • June 26

    what a joke. I also love sony but there is a limit on how blind one can be.

    1st of all, u can get Saints Row the Third for 0.99 +shipping from ebay.
    or 3-5pounds from amazon.
    why would ANYONE go be skinned alive by the obscene prices of Game?

    2nd, seriously u dare to think that renting a game for a month is the same as owning a hard copy for life? REALLY? And on a SANDBOX game where people get stuck and keep on playing for months / years?

    like I said, many people love sony. but we love gaming more. and we shouldn’t blindly shallow all the idiotic moves they serve us.

    • Me
    • June 26

    So you’re saying you would pay £4 bus fair for the sole reason to trade in your game for £2?!! No offence but you’d have to be a complete idiot to do that. The prices are a rip off, there really is no defence.

  8. No, you wouldn’t. You would more than likely hang on to the game, put it in a cupboard and never play it again.

    Personally, I have not played a game for longer than a month since Skyrim. I agree, the prices are higher than most would like but I don’t think these prices are aimed at the people who would be most intersted in the service.

    • dragonrider
    • June 27

    you wouldn’t mind using it all the time if the prices stayed the same? you stand by the prices?

    Can i come over to your place and pick from your money tree? 🙂

    maybe you should stop getting hammered, and start using your brain.

    (if you have any brain cells left) 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • dragonrider
    • June 27

    fuel, buses, and parking are way over priced also. that’s why my family moved out of the
    city. the whole place is like a public toilet, and should be treated as such.

    Please keep living in the crap hole big city’s. your making life easier for the smart people.

    thank you for your sacrifice. 🙂

    • dragonrider
    • June 27

    why do any of you care about this beta, or it’s future, when gamefly, and redbox are around?

    sure you have to wait a few days for delivery with gamefly, but so what. just plan ahead of your schedule. if you need instant access to a game you crave either buy it digital (Rip Off), or buy a physical copy, or get a life.

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