The PlayStation Now Beta has finally arrived in Europe. The cloud-gaming service was originally developed by Gaikai before being acquired by Sony in 2012, and finally announced in January 2014 at CES.
The closed beta trial began in North America last May, and us Brits are the first country in Europe to get our hands on the service, with beta codes being rolled out from 15th April. I got my code on Friday and spent the weekend mulling over the new system.
The service currently streams PS3 titles to PS4, PS3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV and selected BRAVIA televisions. Upon full release, you’ll have the option of a subscription-based and Pay-Per-Play payment models.
For now, PlayStation Now is only offering PS3 titles but there are plans to offer PS4, PS One and PS2 titles in the near future. But the current selection is far from below par. Upon entering the PlayStation Store, you’ll see a great range of classic AAA titles such as Batman: Arkham City, NBA 2K14 and Saints Row The Third. It’s s great ploy by Sony to provide games that most users will have already played, so that they can focus on the PlayStation Now service instead of getting wrapped up in a brand new title.
You can choose to rent PlayStation Now titles for a period of 2 Days or 30 Days. I decided to revisit Arkham City, one of my all-time favourite PS3 games, for my first streaming experience. With no data to be installed, I was in the game in a matter of seconds, following a quick Internet connection test.
The first thing I noticed is that the games are streamed at 720p, not 1080p. The streaming quality is great, but there’s a noticeable downgrade in the visual finish. It’s not enough to distract you from the gaming experience, but it’s still there in the back of your mind. I didn’t get any massive lag but still noticed a drop in frame rate every now and then. Being on Fibre Optic broadband, this isn’t a big problem but I can see this causing some major issues for areas with slow broadband.
I waited patiently to test the multiplayer capabilities with F1 2013, but gave up after around 15 minutes because of a lack of players. There are a few teething problems, but so far I’m impressed with what the service has to offer.
No prices have yet been announced for the UK’s full release, but it currently goes for $19.99 a month in the US, which equates to just over £13.
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