Why PlayStation Now's new 1080p streaming is great for PC gamers
- 23 April, 2021 04:37
It might not get the same attention as Nvidia’s GeForce Now or Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, but Sony offers a longstanding cloud service of its own, PlayStation Now. The company just announced that PlayStation Now will soon start streaming select games in 1080p resolution. Believe it or not, the news may be a bigger deal for PC gamers than PlayStation owners.
That’s because PlayStation Now is the best way for PC gamers to play Sony’s deep backlog of exclusives, like God of War and Uncharted. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has been hesitant to port its console stars over to the PC (though Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC success may foretell a strategy shift). PlayStation blockbusters stand as titans of the industry but are almost completely unavailable to PC gamers—unless you stream them via PlayStation Now, which supports Windows PCs. It works shockingly well as long as you have a strong network connection and Sony’s DualShock controller.
“After eight or nine hours I finished God of War though, completely through PlayStation Now,” we said in our PC-centric evaluation of PlayStation Now. “That includes all the annoying quicktime events the series is known for, reflexively hitting Triangle or Square on command with only a second leeway. I thought for sure those would be the sticking point, the feature that would make God-of-War-over-the-internet a nonstarter, but with the exception of one or two ‘I could’ve sworn I pressed that button in time’ moments I didn’t have any issue. I even made it through the infamous spiked columns section without taking any damage.”
One of our biggest issues was the service was its 720p resolution cap. That’s fine, especially for older PS2 and PS3 games, but part of the reason PC gamers chose our beloved platform is its support for more delicious eye candy. The upcoming 1080p resolution support—which is rolling out “over the next several weeks across Europe, US, Canada, and Japan”—is a welcome addition indeed.
The announcement states that the support will enable “streaming 1080p capable games,” and Sony didn’t clarify what that means. Don’t expect it to come to every PlayStation Now game. Most of the games available through PlayStation Now are older-generation titles, because the service operates as a stand-in for Sony’s lack of backward-compatibility for new consoles. I wouldn’t be surprised if PS2 and PS3 games stuck to the more modest 720p resolution. But even if just the (paltry) selection of PS4 titles on the service got 1080p support, it would still be a huge upgrade for PC gamers hungry to devour PlayStation classics for the first time.
PlayStation Now costs $10 per month or $60 per year—half of what it used to be. If you’re planning on picking it up, maybe spend a few months bingeing on your favorite PC no-shows (like Bloodborne or The Last of Us) and then let it lapse. That said, there’s plenty on offer with PS Now. This list shows all 800-plus games available via the service.