Sony was kind enough to let IGN try out thebeta of their PlayStation Now streaming game service. As we’ve told you before, PlayStation now will let you stream a selection of PlayStation 3 games to your PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita systems, offering several pricing tiers depending the title, and the length of your rental period.
For example, we began our test with Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was available for four hours for $4.99, seven days for $7.99, 30 days for $14.99, and 90 days for $29.99. Sony told IGN that they are still working on their pricing tiers, and they are subject to change.
It’s important to note that we had our PlayStation 4 connected to our robust internet at IGN through an ethernet cable, rather than WiFI, ensuring we had the best connection possible.
Once we selected the game, and rental period from the PlayStation Now menu, the service tested our internet connection, and then took about 15 seconds to launch – which, honestly, is quite impressive considering what is happening here.
When Final Fantasy XIII-2 started, we were quite pleased with the video quality. While it was clear that there is some video compression (which is understandable), the video was clearly HD with a resolution that appeared to be 720p, though we can't say for sure.
After going through the opening cut-scene and tutorial, we jumped right into battle. The controls felt tight and responsive, as if you were playing the game natively on your console. We noticed no lag with this title – which is going to be an important selling point for PlayStation Now.
We also tested Big Sky Infinity, and found the video quality to be crisp and more than acceptable. The controls were, again, responsive with no lag.
Lastly, we took Deus Ex: Human Revolutionfor a test spin. This is when we ran into a few issues. While the title still looked as good as it did on the PS3, we noticed some lag in the controls – about a half-second delay between our input, and the response of the character on screen. We waited it out until we got to our first action scene to see if things tightened up, but they didn’t. This could be something Sony is aware of, and might be fixed in the final build. However, lag could be problem if it rears its ugly head in a fighting game, or twitch shooter.
We also encountered an issue after our character died. Once we started from our checkpoint, the connection nearly fell apart, with the screen becoming very blurry. A warning box appeared on screen which read, “The internet connection is not sufficient for PlayStation Now.” Eventually the picture cleared up, but it wasn’t quite the quality we had when we launched the game. Whether our internet had a hiccup at the same time we died, or an actual glitch, we can't say for sure.
Our time with Deus Ex: Human Revolution wasn’t indicative of the overall experience we had with the beta. We come away feeling mostly optimistic, considering it's still a work in progress. Other than fixing the few quirks we encountered, and taking another look at their pricing structure -- even possibly introducing a subscription-based plan -- we have to say PlayStation Now is a promising new service from Sony that has serious potential.