The answer is YES! But...
Sony have finally introduced subscriptions to PlayStation Now -- the PS4 streaming service for older games that was, as we previously suggested, laughably overpriced. Here's what we said about PS Now back in June:
"There are a number of things to notice straight away, not least that some of the 90-day rental prices match or even exceed the asking price to buy the games outright on PSN. While it's true that PS Now does come with some added benefits, such as being able to play supported games across PS3, PS Vita, PS4, and PlayStation-enabled Sony TVs, alongside account-based cloud saving to allow for one game to continue across those multiple devices, these prices seem seriously steep."
The biggest criticism of the service by far, though, was the lack of an all-you-can-eat subscription model, something that Sony have moved to rectify as the service launches fully in the US. The companyt announced that PS Now will launch on PS4 in the US on January 13th, costing $19.99 per month or a discounted $44.99 for three months. That money will get you unlimited access to over 100 PS3 games available through the streaming service, with PS Now appearing on other devices "in the future". Apparently, there'll also be a free seven-day trial when the services launches.
I'll be honest, the list of games isn't much to write home about at this point, it has to be said. Mass Effect 2 is on there, but none of the others, Call of Duty is of course absent,, and so are the Souls games. There are some cracking titles on there, but Sony have clearly kept their own marquee exclusives back, perhaps in the hopes of flogging more HD remasters. The Uncharted titles will surely be cobbled together into a trilogy boxset just before the fourth game comes out, and there's no room on that list for Heavy Rain or God of War 3. And what of Puppeteer and Motorstorm and the Resistance titles? What about Ni No Kuni and Jak & Daxter? It's a better roster than PS TV's Vita lineup, but it's still missing some rather key titles that matter when it comes to offering an all-encompassing last-gen experience.
That being said, there'll surely be plenty of people for whom PlayStation Now is an attractive proposition, but it seems as though Sony are really targeting tow sets of gamers that one might consider to be polar opposites. On the one hand, PS Now is clearly designed for Sony fans with every device. If you have a PS4, a Vita, maybe even PS TV as well, and you value being able to play (modern) legacy games, PS Now seems like great value, especially when Sony roll out support for devices other than the PS4. But PS Now will also prove attractive to PlayStation newcomers, giving gamers who made the jump from Xbox 360 to PS4 a banquet, rather than a taste, of what they missed out on last-gen.
PS Now does at least breathe a little more life into PlayStation TV, too, making the microconsole a more attractive proposition with Now support, and delivering a hefty library straight out of the box. The Vita TV, as it's marketed in the States, already has a complete SKU package with a memory card and controller bundled in at a discounted price, and this will only help shift units for long-term fans and newcomers alike.
But there are still kinks to be ironed out. EA Access, perhaps the most comparable service at the moment, is more limited than PS Now in terms of its offerings, but its vault is far more current, the pricing far cheaper, and the games are downloaded rather than streamed. The server-based infrastructure of PlayStation Now is yet to be tested fully, and it'll be interesting to see what happens when the service launches fully next week. The value proposition served up by what is still a pretty steep subscription on top of PS Plus will plummet sharply if the streaming quality is inconsistent. On paper, $15 a month (if you buy the 3-month package) seems fairly reasonable for unlimited access to the service but, again, this is something for which the value will largely be determined on a subjective case by case basis.
That price point would be a lot more attractive if PS Now was a true legacy service offering access to a vast array of PS2 and PSOne games, and Sony told Kotaku that their "long-term vision is to bring classic games from PS1 and PS2 to the service" but that they are "focused on PS3 content for now." It's too steep for me, to be honest, offering too little in return right now. There are lots of games in that list of compatible titles, but the few that I'd want to play can probably be bought for around £15 all told at the moment. It's disappointing in a way because Sony have had years to think about this, and once again it seems like their releasing something before it's quite ready, as it was with PS TV in the first place.
For now at least, PlayStation Now has the markings of the streaming legacy service so many of us want, and it could certainly become that in time. But it doesn't look like it'll be giving as much as we'd hoped back for that $19.99 a month subscription when it drops next week.