As new iterations of consoles keep releasing, the more user friendly they get (after a few system updates at least). We now have the ability for instance to instantly capture a screenshot or even footage with a press of a button, or hell, livestream our gameplay to the world to watch. We even get to talk to our console, telling it to snap a TV channel to the side of our screen, without us ever needed to get up from the couch. With all these advancements to user friendliness, it's jarring just how backwards PS Now seems to be to Sony gamers.
In the last year before the PS4 came out, I made the conscious choice of making most of my PS3 library digital. As much as I used to love the physicalness of discs and their covers, I've grown accustomed to the ease of having all my games at the ready right on my system. I didn't have to worry about them getting lost, or having them thrown around if they by some miraculous reason got in the hands of my 1 year old. But I also assumed (at that point didn't yet know) that if by any chance the PS4 wouldn't be compatible with PS3 discs, I should at least be covered with digital copies. I assumed wrong.
Browsing the PS Now library, I can't help but feel completely cheated. And I'm not even talking about the prices. I would have no problem whatsoever paying $6 to play Darksiders for a week. What does grate on me is the fact that Sony expects me to still pay a rental fee for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, when I've already shelled out money to 'own' the game digitally. Am I really expected to think I'm paying a convenience fee just to
play stream a PS3 game on my PS4, so I won't have to plug my PS3 back in? That seems ludicrous.
What's even worse for people like me, who have such a huge digital library, is seeing most of those games on this list, and still being expected to pay $2.99 – $4.99 for a measly four hours. Sadly, the subscription plan that Sony seems to be working on isn't really all that ideal for me either, since once again, I'm expected to pay money for a service that's offering to let me stream games to my PS4 I already own.
Granted, I get the consumer that PS Now is really going for; the new Sony adopters. Gamers who have made the switch from the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 4, never actually owning a PS3 before. And for those people, PS Now might just be the best and easiest way to experience last-gen games they might have missed out on. But I don't fall into that category, and I imagine there are plenty of gamers like myself who feel equally cheated.
But there is one problem which I didn't address; exploitation. If PS Now worked the way I wanted it to, there would be nothing stopping the average Joe going on the PS Store, buying a digital copy of a game available on PS Now, and then being able to play it without restriction, probably for the same price they'd pay for a 90-day rental. I have two possible solutions to circumvent that, and ensure that Sony wouldn't get screwed over (even though that's how I'm feeling now).
Firstly, PS Now could recognize everyone's digital library before the actual Open Beta. Meaning, if you've ever bought a digital copy of a game before July 31st, that game would then be recognized by PS Now (assuming it's on the list of compatible titles) and able to be streamed for free. Any digital games purchased after that wouldn't apply. Thus making sure that gamers aren't circumventing the rental times. But that sounds like its screwing over the new users right?
Well, here is the real money idea. Scratch the 90-day rentals completely, and turn them into full purchases. I can't be the only one thinking that paying $49.99 for 3 months worth of F1 2013 is a bad deal, right? So why not just offer users to outright buy a game as the last option, and give them unlimited Streaming rights? Having these two ideas built into the foundation of PS Now would give both old users and new users incentive to use the program.
Before I get criticized for criticizing a program that hasn't technically even launched yet (open beta), I fully realize that Sony is still finalizing their strategy, but I want this program to be fair and worth using for everyone, not just the ones without a legacy Sony console.