For a good while PS4 owners have had access to PlayStation Now, a service that allows subscribers access to a wide range of back catalog PS3 titles. Not wanting to be left behind, Microsoft will soon provide Xbox One players with their own equivalent of the service called Xbox Game Pass. Both subscription-based services have their similarities, but which one is better? To answer that question we need to look closely at what each service offers. Let’s compare the two, award them points, and see who comes out of top – PS4 or Xbox One!
Who can use these services?
- PlayStation Now allows users to play games by downloading an app on PS4 or PC, or both.
- Xbox Game Pass allows users to play games by downloading an app on Xbox One.
1 point to PlayStation Now because even though PS3, PS Vita and various Smart TVs no longer support the service, PS Now still provides broader access to its games by not restricting them to just PS4 players, but allowing PC gamers to get in on the action too.
What does each service offer?
- PlayStation Now allows users to stream games directly to their console or PC.
- Xbox One allows users to download games directly to their console.
1 point to Xbox Game Pass because being able to download your games directly to your console rather than stream them means you don’t have to worry about having a high-speed internet connection and lag. It also means that folks with especially tight data caps don’t need to worry with their game grinding to a halt at a crucial point, either.
What games can you play?
- PlayStation Now gives players access to hundreds of PS3 games.
- Xbox Game Pass gives access to over 100 games for Xbox One, and also features backwards compatible Xbox 360 games.
1 point to Xbox Game Pass because Microsoft is offering this-gen games, whereas Sony offers PS3 titles only. That said, it’s completely within the realms of possibility going forward that Sony could offer PS4 titles on the service; something for E3 2017, perhaps?
Buying the games you like
- With PlayStation Now, if you like the game and want to buy it, you need to go to the PlayStation Store and buy it at full price.
- With Xbox Game Pass you can buy the title with an exclusive discount if you like it.
1 point to Xbox Game Pass for giving players the incentive of a discount if they really like the game. A wise move indeed.
What about the subscription fee?
- PlayStation Now has a variety of different options. You can rent a game for four hours for $1.99, get a one-month membership for $19.99 or a three-month membership for $44.99.
- The Xbox Game Pass will cost users $9.99 per month for unlimited access to games.
1 point to Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft simplifies its option, offering one price for all, and it’s cheaper than PlayStation Now, and you seemingly get better value.
Final Score: Xbox Game Pass wins by 4 points to 1.
On paper, Xbox Game Pass appears to provide the superior service, though it’s worth taking into account that PlayStation Now features some fantastic PS3 exclusives such as The Uncharted series and The Last of Us, in addition to a library of over 300 games to choose from. What’s evidently clear though, is that Sony needs to amend its plans for PlayStation Now.
What can Sony do to compete with Xbox Game Pass?
There are numerous ways in which Sony can tweak PlayStation Now and bring it on par with Xbox Game Pass, taking inspiration from Microsoft’s new service in the process. For instance, such changes might include
1. Improve the pricing structure; allowing for different tiers of subscription.
2. Open up access to a selection of PS4 games. This should also allow users to use saves for PS4 titles on PS Now with their retail bought equivalents
3. Allow subscribers to download the games.
4. Offer discount incentives on those who wish to purchase games they’ve played on PS Now.
5. Merge PlayStation Now with PlayStation Plus. Scrap the PS Now subscription and offer it as incentive for PS Plus members.
6. Offer PSOne titles at no extra cost; especially as Sony seems in no rush to allow PS4 consoles to emulate PSOne games natively.
7. Offer a longer trial period. Many streaming service offer a one month trial service, and PS Now should do the same.
What changes do you think Sony need to make to the PlayStation Now service? Are there any long-desired features that you feel should be included in the service, and now, in the light of Xbox Game Pass being announced, how do you think Sony should respond?
Let us know in the comments!