Xbox Game Pass exposes just how underwhelming PS Now offering is.
Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service announced yesterday is surprisingly great. There’s no catch, there’s no hidden fees, it’s just exactly what it looks like- a really good deal. For $10 a month, you get unlimited access to a vault of over 100 Xbox 360 and Xbox One games, and it’s not like the selection is anything to sneeze at, either- it’s basically like EA Access, but across other third parties.
Comparisons have been drawn to Netflix, and they’re not wrong at all, actually, with one difference- unlike with Netflix, you don’t stream these games. You get to download them. Given how data intensive games can be, and how some of them rely on frame specific inputs, this works better for the medium. This, coupled with the amazingly great costs, and the selection of games that also includes current generation titles, actually puts to light just how underwhelming PlayStation Now’s offerings are.
Now, I do think that PlayStation Now is sound conceptually– I’ve said so before. But the problem is, even with the best internet infrastructure, it’s not suited to all games, given the fact that it relies entirely on streaming. Throw in the fact that the selection is solely limited to PS3 games (with no current generation titles), and its absurd costs – $20 a month – and you’re left with an offering that looks decidedly underwhelming.
Xbox Game Pass is unlikely, however, to make Sony want to offer something equivalent- not only does Microsoft’s push towards games as service not align with their long term strategy and vision for games, but they are also in the driver’s seat for this generation, and they don’t have to respond, unless Xbox Game Pass suddenly causes a mass spike in Xbox One sales. We also have precedence on our side here- remember, EA Access is already available on Xbox One, and it did not make Sony suddenly have a change of heart, nor allow it on PS4.
No, what I do hope this does is to prompt Sony to have a look at the price offering of PS Now, and try and make it a bit better in the long run- reduce the prices, improve the game selection, maybe throw in Vita or PS4 games on there, maybe have added perks for PS Plus subscribers. Because as it stands right now, PS Now is decidedly inferior to what Microsoft is offering here.