PRICE PRICE PRICE
It’s a really big idea, but so was Netflix when it started. The thing about Netflix is they had one major key asset going for them, it was dirt cheap. When Netflix first started doing their digital service they bundled it with their regular DVD service. For one low price you got DVD’s AND digital streaming. Eventually they broke it into two groups, but the digital side stayed cheap. For a measly 5-7 dollars a month, you get unlimited movies and for the longest time a ton of movies to choose from.
Now I’m not saying Sony needs to team up with Gamefly and offer a bundle deal. While it’d be cool, it isn’t needed. However looking at digital prices elsewhere, it’s a massive weakness to the digital market. Digital titles are full price (with the exception of Vita) and offer no real value to make up for the lost asset of holding a physical disc in your hand. The digital market of gaming never listens to the fans, again with the exception of Vita (and Steam, look who is successful there!)
Now you are basically lending out a license and people are well aware of this. They will not pay full price for something they literally do not have at all. When it comes to renting a game, Sony needs to look at the competition. Blockbuster (before Redbox killed it) would offer 7 day rentals for 10 dollars. On another hand Redbox offers 1 night rentals for 2 dollars. Stand along rentals need to be in this area. What they don’t need to follow is “On Demand” which basically charges movie theater prices for one night rentals at sub quality. As for the subscription model, it needs to look at Gamefly and Netflix, and be priced anywhere from 7-20 dollars a month with a possible discount for PS Plus users.
This isn’t PS Plus, we are paying for a service that offers games and only games. PS Plus offers a lot more than just free games, especially with the online component for PS4. With that being said, when PS Plus offers a lackluster lineup of titles for a few weeks, who cares. PS Now on the other hand needs to constantly be up to date with new titles and new selections. Even Netflix takes a lot of heat for a lackluster lineup, and they constantly make new deals and add new movies.
In my opinion the subscription model should allow access to pretty much the entire PS1 and PS2 library, and a majority of the PS3 library. Perhaps the subscription model limits games to play per month, similar to Amazon’s Prime book rentals. (One free book per month) Newer PS3 and PS4 titles could be available at select times. We could even dive into some restrictions to create a more advanced demo of games.
Without a doubt Sony will be fighting the same battle as Netflix when it comes to licenses. There will be publishers that want the price raised and Sony won’t. There will be other services that sign stupid exclusive deals. The thing is Sony gets a head start here as not many other services are big enough to compete, at least until Microsoft jumps fully in.
The idea of streaming games is nothing new, it’s been around for years. The reason it never really took off is due to one simply problem, quality. Companies like OnLive have come really close to offering a great service, but overall a lot of people with standard internet (or wifi) had too many issues to be comfortable with it.
Vita streaming from the PS4 works amazingly well, but does have its hiccups. Now we are streaming games to other devices though, and not all of them are of Vita’s capability. Not all of them have controls attached to them. Sony needs to make sure that this streaming service is as close to flawless as possible, otherwise people will beat it to the ground before its given a shot. Hopefully the upcoming beta will take care of these issues.
Overall it is an exciting idea to stream games via a service. I’m not a big fan of buying games digital, but a rental service or subscription service that revolves around it sounds awesome to me! I’m excited to see how it intertwines with the PlayStation world as a whole.