PlayStation Now: Price, how it works, and what games you can play

PS Now is PlayStation’s subscription service on PS4 and PS5 that gives you access to a generous library of games – with PS2, PS3, and PS4 games available to play via streaming or download. Often regarded as Sony’s answer to Xbox Game Pass, a report from Bloomberg (opens in new tab) suggests we may soon see a true rival to Microsoft’s model. Said to be known under the code name Spartacus, it could very well combine PS Now and PS Plus into one service – not unlike Game Pass Ultimate. 

While we await more news about the supposed changes, we’re here to help you get a handle on everything PS Now offers, including how it works, what it costs, and what you can and can’t do. If you’re thinking about becoming a PS Now subscriber, you’ll find a rundown of the service below. 

What is PlayStation Now?

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

PlayStation Now is the subscription gaming service for PS4 and PS5. It first debuted in open beta in 2014, just a few months after the PS4 was released. On the heels of PlayStation’s acquisition of streaming company Gaikai, initially the service acted only as a game streaming subscription for PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and PlayStation TV, and even select TVs and Blu-ray players, though in 2017 Sony ended support for PS Now on all platforms except PS4. 

In 2018, PS Now expanded not to new platforms, but to old ones – sort of. Sony announced that in addition to streaming PS4 and PS3 titles, players could download select PS2 and PS4 titles with their subscription. In this way, PS4 started to resemble its main competitor, Xbox Game Pass, in a way that fans had been hoping for.

If you want to stream games, PlayStation recommends at least a 5 Mbps broadband connection, and says to go with a wired connection when possible. As always, the faster the better, though. In my experience, all of these streaming services, not just PS Now, stop having issues around 35 Mbps. Below that and your mileage may vary. Above that, and you won’t likely notice a difference at all.

PS Now is available in over a dozen countries. The list includes Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

How much does PlayStation Now cost?

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

It wasn’t that long ago that PS Now’s monthly subscription fee was the highest in the industry. At $19.99 / £19.99 per month, it was a hard sell for the already somewhat streaming skeptical gaming community. Thankfully, in an effort to remain competitive in an increasingly streamable gaming world, Sony slashed the price in half permanently

Today PlayStation Now is $9.99 / £8.99 per month and that includes a week’s free trial for new subscribers. You can also buy access for three months and save a bit. The three-month package sells for $24.99 / £22.99. For those who prefer to buy in bulk, you can prepay for a year’s subscription for $59.99 / £49.99, which is obviously a great deal cheaper over time for those who know they’ll be playing that long anyway. If you find streaming games from the cloud to your console to be a dubious prospect, it doesn’t hurt to try it for a few days. Just make sure to find your way to the cancellation page should you not be impressed with the trendy tech. 

What are the PlayStation Now games?

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Though PlayStation Now has courted neither the good press of Xbox Game Pass nor the more negative impressions of Google Stadia, it does have its own claim to fame: its games list is enormous. While Stadia still struggles to climb above 30 games and Xbox Game Pass proudly boasts “over 100” – and to its credit offers over 200 anyway – PS Now’s library is more than 700 games strong, spanning PS2, PS3, and PS4. 

While no PS3 games can be downloaded directly, plenty of PS2 and PS4 games can be, including PS4 favorites like GTA 5, Killzone Shadow Fall, and Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and PS2 classics like Red Faction, Dark Cloud, and Star Wars Jedi Starfighter. Many of PlayStation’s first-party titles are also available on PS Now, with the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition, God of War, and Bloodborne. You can check out the whole list on PlayStation’s official site (opens in new tab).

Is PlayStation Now compatible with PC and Mac?

(Image credit: Sony)

The short answer for Mac users is, sadly, no. PlayStation Now is not currently available on Mac. If you’re playing on a Windows PC, however, you’re in luck. Any Windows PC works with PS Now, though there is the slight catch that it doesn’t allow for any downloading. That means if you’re playing PS Now games on PC, you’re guaranteed to be streaming them. 

Some of the biggest PlayStation exclusives have made their way to PC in recent months, with the likes the God of War getting an official PC port. But if you don’t want to pay to pick up a copy on PC, many of these games are among the PS Now library. 

Is PlayStation Now worth it?

With all that out of the way comes the most important question at all: Is it worth it? The answer: Yes. Usually. PlayStation Now doesn’t make sense for those playing on the poles of the gaming community. Anyone who plays very few games, like those that just spend time with some sports titles or maybe the annual shooter of their choice don’t need to subscribe to a library of hundreds of games. Likewise, those who already rigorously keep up with new releases month after month may discover even a library this big isn’t hiding many gems you didn’t already find. But for everyone else – and that’s a vast majority – PS Now is a great way to play.

PS Now offers so many games from multiple eras of PlayStation’s history and gives players the option to stream or download games. If PlayStation is where you do most of your gaming and you hope to do a lot of it, assuming you’ve got a decent or better internet connection, PS Now is worth it.  

Stay on top of all of most exciting games coming to Sony’s latest console with our roundup upcoming PS5 games.

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