Time & money. Everyone barely has these, but wants endless amounts of them. Jobs, families, societal obligations, hobbies even. Everything takes up time. Watching TV versus playing video games. Reading a book versus writing one. You have to pick and choose what you do wisely because you only have so much time (and money) in a day.
I initially got PS Now because:
- The yearly subscription was on sale for a steal.
- The featured time-limited game for that time was Control, which up until that point I hadn't gotten around to playing but really wanted to. Long story short on that, Control is now one of my favourite games ever and you can read my review about it if you'd like.
A major factor in why I've barely touched PS Now since then, is time & money. A bit obvious for some reasons, but maybe less for others. Would this be the case if I was subscribed to Xbox's Game Pass? Maybe. But we'll talk a bit about that too.
My work schedule is very sporadic with very little consistency so I have to pick and choose my hobby time carefully. Yes I may get home one night at 10:30pm, but after standing on my feet for 8 hours interacting with people the entire time, I usually don't have the energy to do anything. Taking into account my terrible time agnosia (time blindness), it can be hard to motivate myself to start a TV show or boot up a game when I feel like I barely have any time before I head into work. So while there is a pretty interesting (albeit niche) variety of games on PS Now, I honestly just don't feel like I have the time to sit down and sift through them, let alone booting up something to try for a few hours. A game I've purchased on the other hand, I usually try to designate a specific time I'd like to start since, well, I used my money to purchase specifically that individual game.
I am a person who puts a fair amount of stock into how much time I get into a game. It isn't a make or break thing for me, but if I'm spending money on a game, I like to at least know how long the experience will be. That being said, I'm absolutely willing to pay a high-ish price for a game deemed short in completion time, but outstanding in storytelling, narrative, etc. I'm very methodical in my video game spending; I do a fair amount of research, wait for reviews or friend feedback, as well as waiting for specifically priced sales for things I don't want to pay full price for. Because of that, I feel like I'll always put stock into the games I purchase versus the games available in the subscription because I spent money on that game specifically versus one that is just... being made available to me.
For example, Slay the Spire was recently added to PS Now in the last month or two and this is a game I have been dying to play since it came out. The word deckbuilding and roguelike don't normally mesh well with me so I've been waiting around for a sale that has yet to come, which is ok! I was content with waiting until I saw the news about the PS Now availability and was pumped I would be able to finally give it a shot! Cut to me writing this now, having downloaded the game but not booting it up once. The reason? I've been telling myself "I'll beat this game I bought before I start it" over and over and over again.
While I do have this subscription, there doesn't seem to be enough for me personally yet to slow down my game purchasing enough to allow me the time to sit down and try anything on it. It’s an endless cycle that feeds back into itself that I can’t really seem to break myself out of.
Now I'd be surprised if anyone disagreed that PS Now doesn't come close to comparing to Xbox's Game Pass, but beyond Sony's terrible and non-existent marketing for it, here's why the Game Pass-style structure doesn't work for Sony (at least to me).
Game Pass allows you day-one access to Xbox first party IPs. Big named game series and titles that normally smack you in the face with a $59.99 USD/$79.99 CDN price tag. This is a HUGE draw for people who like these IPs because why the hell pay that giant price tag when you get access to that game plus thousands more for about 4 months or even more? Especially if you don't care about owning physical copies or replaying titles, the one and done consumption style of players thrives in the Game Pass architecture because once they're in, there's no need to leave. Microsoft seems like it has a very swift and efficient pipeline (probably lined with many dollar bills) that gets a lot of new and even (third party) exclusive games on the platform right away. There's little waiting around for a new game when you're using Game Pass, unlike the Playstation competitor that usually seems to take its sweet, sweet time.
Yes, PS Now has some Playstation exclusives, but to anyone who is keeping up consistently with new industry releases, the service provides little to nothing beyond a potential chance to catch up on a backlog title you might have missed. There are some big blockbuster Sony first party titles, but ones that were added once that title's time to shine had unfortunately passed.
Don't get me wrong, there is a market for this service. It's a great deal if you don't want to worry about purchasing games, and don't mind not being up to date with the newest content. PS Now trudges behind slowly, eventually catching up to what was popular long before, and unfortunately for being a platform in an industry that is too quick to consume its media and move on, it just doesn't compete.
I tried to frame all of this in a constructive manner, as I don't want to dunk on the service as it helped me experience one of my favourite games to date. However Sony really needs to step their game up in order to even consider being a competitor to Xbox's Gamepass, let alone make consumers care about the service at all!
And that's that! Thank you so much for reading. Have you ever considered subscribing to PS Now? Do you have PS Now?? Did you even know what it was before reading this post??? Let me know over on twitter at @atlaspolara!