Sony’s often-overlooked Playstation Now subscription service just received its biggest update yet. In an attempt to compete with Microsoft’s popular Xbox GamePass service, Sony is allowing players to download its library of PS4 and classic PS2 titles directly onto their PS4 hard drives.
Before this point, players were forced to stream each of the 650+ titles available in the library that they wanted to play. The lack of accessibility for those without strong enough Internet made the barrier of entry too high, and the Xbox Gamepass’ ability to let gamers download titles to both the Xbox One and the PC proved to be its most prominent selling point.
Now, with a single PSNow subscription, gamers can play locally and offline with almost all of the PS4 titles as well as the remastered PS2 games. Downloaded titles will have access to the full game plus any user-bought add-ons such as DLCs and microtransactions, and those with PS4 Pro systems will also see the graphical enhancements. It’s important to note, however, that the PS4 system has to be connected to the Internet every few days to validate the user’s PSNow subscription. Those worried about potentially losing save data already saved on streamed titles can simply transfer the save files over to local storage through the cloud.
With subscription services now the norm for much of the entertainment industry, making it easier for subscribers to retain membership is crucial. The one weakness of the PSNow service had always been its reliance on streaming resource-demanding titles, and with Nintendo now diving into the online market for the first time, Sony has to catch up to Microsoft in terms of software infrastructure. One of the unique aspects of PSNow is the ability for those with a PC to also access the Playstation library. Though the download option is limited to the PS4 for now, the PC route is one avenue that Sony can take advantage of, since console exclusives have long frustrated those that have not invested in the proper consoles.
While the PS4 is having a heyday with its myriad of high-quality, first-party titles, Sony is looking towards its subscription market to draw in addition revenue and perhaps push for more hardware sales.
Playstation Now is available for a limited price of $9.99 for the first month, or $99.99 for the year. Normally, the subscription is priced at $19.99 a month. For the full breakdown, check out the official Playstation blog for more details.