The Xbox One doesn’t have many features that the PlayStation 4 lacks, but one significant exception is the ability to stream games from the Xbox One to the PC. Microsoft has made cross play a significant component of its branding initiative and it’s pushed for titles to be both Windows 10 and Xbox One compatible, often with mixed results. Sony doesn’t have the leverage to offer an analogous service, but the company does have its own game streaming business — and it’s bringing that service to the PC market.
That’s the word from Sony, which formally confirmed earlier rumors and announced a Dual Shock 4 wireless adapter kit for PC as well. The kit will allow full compatibility between the Dual Shock 4 and all of Sony’s titles on the PlayStation Now service. While it’s currently possible to use a Dual Shock 4 on the PC, you’ll need some user-created drivers and a bit of know-how to get the device working, and it’s not guaranteed to work with every title.
So what does PlayStation Now have to offer?
As of this writing, the PlayStation Now service offers more than 400 games, all of them drawn from the PlayStation 3 era. The service isn’t cheap — it costs $19.99 per month (recurring) and $44.99 if you pay in three-month blocks. Sony has offered a yearly subscription for $100, but it’s not clear if this deal is still widely available or not.
Not all games are included in the monthly subscription plan — some are only available to rent for a period of time ranging from four hours to three months. Pricing on these is hit-and-miss — some are a great deal, while others are a significant percentage of what you’d pay for a used disc copy.
On the whole, PlayStation Now seems like a great way to experience certain specific games from the PS3 era that you might have wanted to play. But it’s probably less than ideal if you’re a collector who wants to maximize your value per dollar. Renting old PS3 titles at fairly high cost isn’t a winning business model if you want to build a Netflix-like library and there aren’t any PS4 titles to pad things out. If PlayStation Now wants to offer something special, it should expand its back catalog into the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 era and offer a flat-rate subscription model that doesn’t limit some titles to temporary rentals with additional costs stacked on top of the monthly service.
The company may be hoping that this announcement offsets user anger from yesterday, when it disclosed a $10 rate hike for PlayStation Now by editing an old blog post and “accidentally” forgetting to update the headline.