We Tried PlayStation Now -- Here's How It Went

Back in January, Sony announced PlayStation Now, a system that lets you stream older Playstation games. It's in beta now, so you can finally watch it in action.

The overall Now experience was really smooth. You can skim through the library and get games up and running really quickly, and they work well once they're up. All this comes with the big caveat that the service only works when you have a wired internet connection.

The first thing you see when you boot up Now is a reminder that you need a wired connection, so it's no secret. You can try and connect with a Wi-Fi connection, but as you can see in the video above, (around 1:40) trying to connect with subpar internet just isn't even worth trying.

The video quality is actually surprisingly good. I tested it out with Dead Island: Riptide, which maxes out at 720p with the original PS3 disc version, but it ran in 1080p on Playstation Now.

We Tried PlayStation Now—Here's How It Went

The biggest question with streaming game services is response time. Normally there's an almost imperceptible delay between when you press a button on your controller and when something happens on the TV. Since this game is running on a server, your controller inputs have to go through the internet, and the video signal has to be sent back to your TV. This can drastically increase the delay between when you press a button and see the result.

The response times on the PlayStation Now are pretty good. At first, I barely noticed any lag at all. I missed some of the quicktime events when being grabbed by a zombie in Riptide, but for the most part felt OK about it. Then I went to the PS3 version and that was when I really noticed a difference. After playing the first section of the game on PS3, I did it again on Now. I could really feel the sluggishness, especially when going for headshots with guns instead of wildly swinging sticks.

It will definitely work well for a lot of games, but the more quick reactions a game requires, the more you'll want to find another way to play it.

Check out the video to see more of Playstation Now in action, and you can sign up for the beta yourself here.


    This is unfortunately going to be a useless feature for users in Aus :(

      And anybody depending on wifi to connect their PS4 to the internet.... sounds like they might be limiting their audience a bit too much there. Although I guess I don't have any numbers on how many people use wired vs wifi connection... I assume Sony probably do have those numbers and are happy enough with them.

        I have been researching about this. There is a plug you put in your power and another close to your PS or cpu. Plug ethernet cables to it and bam wired connection. It basically turns your home electricity cables into a LAN connection. Not sure yet how much better it would be tho

          Wired connection, but about the same speeds/lag as a wifi connection. :(

          Powerline ethernet adapters. I use them for my TV/Xbone, works great.

            Powerline are good if you can't get a strong WiFi signal (particularly 802.11n or ac) to your console (or other device) but they aren't faster. Even the devices rated at 500Mbps are lucky to get constant throughput of 100-150Mbps.

            Im actually confused by the authors comments here. Are Sony saying that you need a "wired" not "wireless" internet connection, or you need to use the "wired" ethernet connection on the PS4, not the "wireless"?

            I understand a wireless/3G/4G type internet connection will generally have performance issues over a ADSL/Ethernet based internet connection, but its pretty poor if they are saying you can't use the WiFi in the PS4 itself. Then again, Sonys WiFi implementation on the PS3 (can't say 4 yet, I haven't used one) was really poor compared to the Ethernet connection.

      This. Ugh and it's going to be a pain if it only supports a wired connection properly >.<

      Is Aus internet really that bad? on 130mbs connection here in NZ

        Even before Liberal cut it's balls off, the NBN, AU's network of the future, was only going to be 100Mb.

        There's a few people with 100Mb connections, but most are on DSL, like myself. I'm lucky to get 6Mb :(

        How much does a 130Mb connection cost in NZ?

        Last edited 21/06/14 5:08 pm

      I think Sony knows this - i doubt they will even bother launching it in Aus to be honest.

      Exactly. I'm still on ADSL1 because I can't even get ADSL2+ where I am. Let's not even go into how the Coalition is setting Aus back into the dark ages by canning the NBN...

      Have you seen the prices? I don't think it's even worth it.

    Probably a Stupid question but do you unlock Trophies while playing PS3 games this way through PlayStation now?

    They should of just done backwards compatibility to be honest, I know it has it's flaws but at least you don't have to worry about internet connections, speed, delay etc. It might not look as good but that'd be fine.

      It probably would have added ~ $100 to the price of the console though. There is no way they could emulate the Cell chip on top of the PS4's CPU in real time. It just doesn't have the single threaded performance to keep up.

      The price would have been pushed skyhigh if they did. That's why the original fat PS3 was so expensive at launch. It also wouldn't have been as sleek physically for the same reason.

      I think they should have!! It may have been more expensive, but if it had been the price of the X1 with backwards compatibility? Great!

      On a side note, including the Cell could have done wonders. I remember watching somewhere that Naught Dog used the PS1 parts that were in the PS2 for backwards compatibility to do some low cost stuff to give the Jak and Daxter games a bit of a competitive edge.

      Plus IMHO PS2 emulation, with higher resolutions, should be possible on the PS4 through software emulation. PS1 should have been there from launch too cause it was even on the PSP!

      But they really want to push the subscribe to re-buy and play your old games thing...

      Last edited 20/06/14 2:53 pm

        Note that the PSP could emulate PS1 games because it used the same MIPS CPU architecture as that console. That limited how much software emulation was needed.

        That said, a PS4 should have no trouble at all doing software emulation for everything up to the PS2 and PSP. It's a simple matter of code. Whether they will or not is another matter: if they can get people to rent the old games on PS Now, why go to the expense of letting them play for free?

          I am aware of the hardware being included, I should have mentioned that, I'm sorry.

          But yes, my point was that at this stage it should have been a given to see PS1 emulation available from launch, and it's not a big push to think PS2 emulation MAY be possible.

          But as we have both said. Why let you play you old games for free when you could rent them. It's something that I really don't support actually.

          Edit: Perhaps it is worth noting that the PS3 had a basic PS2 emulator homebrew made for it later in it's life span. Perhaps it wouldn't be too much to hope for PS2, or even some Vita emulation on the PS4 through homebrew later on. (If/ when it gets opened up naturally.)

          Last edited 20/06/14 4:12 pm

            Going back to my final point in my previous reply: while direct PS1 emulation with support for existing game discs should certainly be possible, what's in it for Sony to give that away for free? We seem to have been conditioned to accept systems without backwards compatibility, so why should they go to the expense of providing an emulator for free?

            Sony eventually built a PS2 emulator for the PS3, but they didn't provide a way customers to use it with their existing game discs: instead you needed to purchase the games again on the PSN Store. Custom firmware showed that this emulator worked for many other games, but that didn't change Sony's position. Does it really make sense to expect different on their new console?

              I'm not disagreeing with you. My point is: Why did we let it be taken out in the first place and only have to the option of playing them at an additional price given to us later on? I do not understand how we, the gamers, are OK with that.

              If I want to play an old PC game that I played on an older system I can put in the disk and play it. Without buying it again. Same premise:

              If there is any form of backwards compatibility, which there is, they should offer us the ability to play OUR old games without additional costs, still giving us the option to buy the digital versions of those games/ games we haven't played if we so choose.

              Last edited 20/06/14 4:54 pm

                Sony gave us backwards compatibility last gen (PS3.) We replied to them with our wallets, that we'd rather pay for old games and have a cheaper console focused on new games (i.e. Xbox360 tranced the PS3 in most markets). Sony is still reeling from the loss, so they replied to our "demand" in the most logical fashion. They copied MS in the areas that sold well. They asked for a subscription (we gladly payed on the 360), they resold us old games digitally (We gladly payed on the 360).

                So in the end, all Sony did was what we asked...

    Is it just me, or is the level of detail roughly the same on the 720p/1080p screen shot? They look like they're both rendering at the same internal resolution, but using different scalers.

    IIRC, the PS3 could also upscale your games to 1080p if you told it your TV couldn't handle 720p.

      Yea it could, looked mildly better, smashed the framerate lol.

        does it? I know I did it with xbox 360 before that I forced it to be 1080p and the game didnt suffer frame drop but suffer from heavy input delay.

          I remember playing I think either Modern Warfare or Modern Warfare 2 with it, you could manage it in single player, made it look better and with the rate of play it didn't really cause issues, but multiplayer was unplayable.

          I remember trying it because a game said 1080p on the back of the box and my TV dropped to 720 when I played it. So I went into the settings and disabled 720.

          Last edited 20/06/14 1:43 pm

            Must definitely try it tonight. Just got my Drakengard from the states.

        I believe this only made a handful of games run in actual 1080p (Games like Resistance 1 if you had the US version) but the frame rate went from 60fps to about 30fps in Resistance.

        The other games were just upscaled and sometimes looked blurrier in 1080p mode than 720p. I tried it when the rummers went around years back that the PS3 could render at 1080p if you forced it too... in the end... Not really.

        Only games that were made to support a 1080p mode will actually play in native 1080p regardless, but will normally (With a few exceptions) default to their 'native' or preferred resolution of 720p if you didn't force 1080p.

        Last edited 20/06/14 2:58 pm

      actually, i think some games defaulted to 720 despide being capable of 1080 so switching 720 off would force the 1080. i don't think it's upscaling. i could be wrong.

        I doubt it. Most games for PS3/X360 were struggling to render at 720p (sometimes needing to upscale to reach that resolution), let alone 1080p.

        Try clicking on the screenshot in the article and look at the blue line on the floor close to the centre of the image. The stair-steps are clearly lower than native 1080p resolution, and look roughly the same on the 720p side. You can see the same on the pipe at the top of the far wall.

        I also suspect that the 1080p upscaling is happening locally rather than remotely: it would be stupid to send upscaled video over the network when you could save bandwidth and perform the scaling locally.

    This service is so far from being useful that I’m not even interested that it exists at this stage.

    Even in unfeasibly perfect conditions this system is still going to be shit compared to processing locally.
    Conditions in the vast majority of the market are far FAR from perfect, Sony would be better off spending their time developing an emulator.

    I don't understand why this was posted on the Australian version of this site? Don't you guys have control over which versions of the site your articles are posted on? I mean, Australia hasn't even been confirmed to be getting Playstation Now AT ALL.

      i'm still interested in hearing about it despite it probably never coming here.

      We have a morbid fascination with tech we'll probably never get.

    kind of sad that Microsoft didn't add original Xbox compatibility to the XBone, since they both used X86 chips. Only the 360 was PowerPC based... With PS4 I just wish Sony would have PS1/2 emulation builtin and leave PS3 for the PS5 to emulate.

      The PS2 and PS3 had the PS1 chip built into the console (used as something else, but it was there) so they could play PS1 games. Not sure why they wouldn't just bung it into the PS4 seeing as it would be a dirt cheap component nowadays.

    Yeah its really crappy when you have gigabit 5GHz wifi and your PS4 cant even use it - bit of a disappointment there.

    It would be better if you could pre-cache (download) the game in full while renting it - pity because of how it works you cant - as its just an extended version of "remote play"

    I'm a bit disappointed I don't think this service will be all its cracked up to be (Speaking as an Australian).

    It's an interesting looking service, but that lag will be so bad on Aussie internet.

    Why are they streaming games! that would mean everytime you play say modern warfare 3 you would be downloading 30GB per game session!! WTF why isnt it d/l and rent style?? what fools thought of streaming a game!

      That's not how this works. The game runs remotely so the the bandwidth requirements are similar to video streaming.

    Yes I still don't understand the excitement people have over this thing. You basically have to live next to the whitehouse' internet modem in order for it to be worthwhile. I'd rather just buy a ps3 on the cheap and play the games that way. I specifically bought my TV because it has one of the lowest input lags on the market for a mid-size television, so even if I lived in America and had godly internet, I wouldn't want to use this service.

    yeah, tried to sign up for Beta, but will not ley you put a ZIPCODE in, because its not ment for Australia yet, only America, well even only parts of America, as in north America cant sign up either. so Posting this on a Australian Kotaku site is just plain useless guys, give us info about links we can actually use, so many Geo-Blocked sites / videos you post, and whats with the animated Gifs, you use them way too much, it distracts from reading the actual article.

    This is just constructive feedback by the way.

    this could be the most useless thing sony has come up with in a while

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