PS Now on the PC isn’t just worth it in 2020, I’d argue that it is essential for all PC gamers who want to play Sony’s exclusive games, but cannot justify buying a PS4 (or PS5) and games. It is that good.
I’ve been a PC gamer for nearly a decade. Before then, I wasn’t loyal to a brand – I jumped from Sega, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft consoles, determining which console to get next by looking at who was producing the best exclusive games at the time.
There is only one thing that I miss as a PC gamer and that is console exclusive games. In recent years, I have found that most of the Xbox One “console exclusives” tend to come to PC, and there are very few Nintendo games that I would like to play that aren’t out on Wii U (which I picked up after pirating Nintendo games, but that is another story). It is the PlayStation 4 exclusives (and now PS5 exclusives) that I have wanted to play the most, but could not justify paying for a Sony console to play second-fiddle to my PC. That is even more true after I managed to snag an Xbox Series S.
Enter PS Now on PC.
PlayStation Now was launched in America in 2014 and the rest of the world in 2015. I’d been put off picking it up for myself because I thought it looked too expensive and had heard reports of poor lag (as games are streamed to PCs, rather than being run locally).
I eventually picked PS Now up on the PC not for myself, but for my daughter to play kids games after her PlayStation 3 died (I poured out some liquor, don’t worry). My daughter loved playing the Little Big Planet series and Disney Universe and was devastated when she couldn’t play them any more. After seeing that they were on PS Now, I decided to try the 7-day free trial, which also coincidentally coincided with Sony dropping the price of PS Now on the PC significantly.
How Good Is PS Now?
PS Now on the PC isn’t perfect, but it is still great and one of the best gaming purchases I have made in a long time. After the 7-day free trial, I picked up a year’s subscription for £40 and the value has far exceeded that relatively low initial outlay.
My daughter and I have played through Little Big Planet and Disney Universe as expected, but she has also loved playing Disney titles like Brave and Bolt. We’ve also had a great time playing Overcooked 2 as a family. There are a bunch of great kid’s games on PS Now. Seeing my daughter have fun with video games is worth the price of admission alone, but I have also loved finally having access to the PlayStation exclusive games I’d missed out on for the past decade.
I quickly completed The Last of Us, God of War (2018), Heavy Rain and Journey, and tried Uncharted 4 and Persona 5. Then, Sony added Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which I have also completed. I’ve played Control, completed Spider-Man and also Days Gone. The Last of Us, God of War, Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn are three of the best gaming experiences I have had in a long time.
There are 800+ games on PS Now, which includes PS4, PS3 and PS2 games. Sony also adds another collection of games to play each month while rotating off a handful of games at the same time, so there is always something new to play. Having a date for the headline games leaving the service is also encouraging me to actually play the games, rather than adding them to my growing backlog and forgetting about them. I find that I spent less time procrastinating about what to play and more time actually playing, which can only be a good thing.
I have already added a list of other games to play once in the coming months, including Uncharted 1, 2 and 3, Yakuza 5, Mafia 3, Ico, Beyond: Two Souls, Until Dawn, Prey, Doom, Shadow of the Colossus, and more. They aren’t all PlayStation exclusives, but as they are all included in my subscription, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay to play them anywhere else. And, that is excluding any other big-name titles that might come to the service (I’m holding out for Death Stranding, personally).
Okay, but How Good Is PS Now on the PC in 2020?
As I have said, I have got enormous value from PS Now on the PC – but it isn’t perfect. For those who are tempted, it’s important to note that there are some significant downsides to take into account, particularly if you’re a PC gamer who prides yourself on playing every game at the highest possible settings.
For one, PS Now streams games to your PC. This means that you’re at the mercy of both Sony’s servers and your internet connection. I’m fortunate to live in an area with good internet and have never had a problem with lag, however, I have experienced visual artefacts when exploring dark areas in The Last of Us and Control, which almost rendered the game unplayable at times. These were rare occurrences, often at peak times and they swiftly passed, but they are worth mentioning.
Update: While my experience playing games on PS Now in the PC via a wired connection has been great, I have recently tried playing on a low-end laptop on a wireless connection. To say that it was unplayable would be an understatement. At best, the screen was filled with artefacts and the gameplay was choppy, but at worst the screen was just a hazy mess. Admittedly, the laptop cost less than £400 2 or 3 years ago and it was over a wireless connection (Virgin Media’s super-speedy wireless internet, but wireless all the same), but I had expected more. If you only have a low-end device to play PS Now on and are likely to play it more on a wireless connection, you may wish to look elsewhere. If you’re in any doubt, definitely use the free trial first.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that you’ll only be able to play games at 720p.
*PC gamers close the article immediately*
Hold on! I have a 1080Ti graphics card and a 4K monitor – I like my games to look pretty and expect my hardware to keep up with me. Despite that, the drop to streaming PlayStation games at 720p hasn’t been as significant as I’d feared, and it certainly hasn’t damped the enjoyment of finally having access to the huge library of PlayStation games. Truth be told, I’ve found myself hooking up a long HDMI cable from my PC to the TV and enjoying the Sony titles from the comfort of my gaming beanbag, something I haven’t in years. Yes, I’m a big kid.
Streaming games rather than running them locally and having to play games at a lower resolution will be deal-breakers for some. I get it and I’m sorry.
If you’re a PC gamer and you can live with 720p visuals and have a consistent wired internet connection, you simply have to try PlayStation Now for the PC. The 7-day free trial can be easily cancelled (and may even be enough time to complete a game or 10 before pulling the trigger, depending on how much free time you have).
PS Now on the PC is a must-buy for me. I have loved playing the games I have already completed and eagerly look forward to Sony adding some fresh titles each month. The £40 I paid to use the service for a whole year has represented exceptional value, and it will be interesting to see how the service evolves in the coming months and years as gamers move onto the PS5.
If you’re on the fence, definitely try the free trial. You might be surprised at how good PS Now on the PC really is.