As the official launch of PlayStation Now draws closer, one thing has remained exactly the same: the prices are still ludicrously high. This is not OK.
When it was first announced, PlayStation Now, (from now on entitled as PS Now) was greeted with general optimism. In theory, it is a great idea: who doesn't want to have a Netflix for video games? Sony looked like it was leading the way to a new type of thinking for the gaming industry, and it is definitely a market that has been relatively untapped, disastrous OnLive experiment aside. The previews were positive as well, with the performance cited as being as relatively solid, and gamers started to become excited for PS Now, myself included.
That was until the news broke that the prices were... high, to say the least.
Now I'm not saying that the prices as shown above are uniform, but for even with relatively ancient games like Saints Row 2, you have prices like this:
Saint's Rows 2 came out in 2008. Let me say this again so it sinks in: Saint's Rows 2 is nearly seven years old. Why are the prices so high?
Browsing on Ebay quickly shows that the physical copy of the game is going for 15 dollars. If you were to choose, what would you decide? $15 for a game that you only own for a limited amount of time, or $15 for a game that you will own for as long as you want? I think the choice is relatively easy.
Now I'm not saying that this system is fundamentally flawed. From all accounts, PS Now is something that could herald a new beginning for the industry as a whole. The interface is slick, there is little lag, and the selection is only going to grow. It's only the exorbitant cost for renting a game that you will never own that is holding the service back at the moment.
To fix this, Sony should first lower their prices and at least double the amount of time for each rental period. $1 for an eight hour demo should be more then enough for people do decide if they wish to keep paying for it or not. Or even just include a free demo with each game. It's being streamed, so I don't really see the problem with providing a half-hour demo for players to try out the game before renting it. Better yet, why not a subscription service? I think people would be down for a $10-15 subscription per month. You could even set aside a few games for PS Plus subscribers to play each month, just like on the PS Store.
For all the kerfuffle about used games and talk of trying to get the best value for gamers, Sony sure seems to be nickel and diming consumers here, just like they infamously accused Microsoft of doing back at E3 '13. Hmm...
Honestly, there are many ways to fix the prices on PS Now, and I am reasonably confident that they will be fixed by the time the Open Beta is concluded. I mean, it's still Beta. Sony always makes the right decisions, right?
Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more updates.