While American PlayStation owners have had some time to get to grips with the rental options for Sony's PlayStation Now service, today it was announced that its much-anticipated subscription service will go live later this month.
From January 13th, North American PlayStation 4 owners will have access to the service, which promises access to over 100 PlayStation 3 titles. We'll have to wait a little longer for the monthly plan to become available on other PlayStation Now enabled devices, but Sony maintains that other platforms and regions will be updated in due course.
Games shown in the newly released trailer for the service include PlayStation brand heavy hitters Ratchet and Clank: Into The Nexus, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and The Last of Us, as well as third party offerings including NBA 2K14, BioShock Infinite and XCOM: Enemy Within.
These games would certainly flesh out any PlayStation 4 owners library, but some would argue that a paid subscription service is hardly a replacement for true backwards compatibility, especially for loyal PlayStation consumers who already purchase these games before. It's old games bundled together — and that might not be enough to justify the questionable pricing structure that PlayStation Now has in place.
When the rental wing of the service launched last year, there were widespread complaints about how high its prices were. With a monthly subscription being priced at $19.99, with a three month bundle reduced to $44.99, it remains to be seen whether we'll see a similar backlash here.
Sony has a difficult job to do in balancing the subscription-based PlayStation Now service with PlayStation Plus. Both services have major differences in terms of pricing, the library that they offer and added benefits on top of the games themselves — but, at the end of the day, they're both a monthly subscription that gives users access to PlayStation games and content... but there's no discount for getting both.
However, it may well be that the PlayStation Now monthly subscription isn't aimed at PlayStation console owners directly. It's only available on PlayStation 4 for now, but will soon make it's way to other devices like Samsung Smart TVs, a potentially untapped audience of lapsed video game players who may have missed out on the last generation of consoles entirely.
Giving those users access to some of the best and brightest of last gen, potentially straight from their television with no console required, could well be the endgame for PlayStation Now. Meanwhile, launching the service on a PlayStation console is a smart way to iron out the kinks before its ready for a broad release — not to mention an opportunity to at least outdo the Xbox One in terms of backwards compatibility.
The PlayStation Now subscription program will be available on PlayStation 4 consoles in the United States from January 13th, with one month of access priced at $19.99. More devices and regions are set to be added at a later date.
Source: PlayStation Blog