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Streaming on PlayStation Plus – How well does it work?

by | Feb 1, 2022

The PlayStation Now is no more!

It has been replaced by the PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium offers.

Here are the new PlayStation Plus subscriptions:

PlayStation Plus Essential

The new branding for the PlayStation Plus subscription.

  • United States: $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly
  • Europe: €8.99 monthly / €24.99 quarterly / €59.99 yearly
  • United Kingdom: £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly
  • Japan: ¥850 monthly / ¥2,150 quarterly / ¥5,143 yearly

PlayStation Plus Extra

Essential + access to 400 PS4 and PS5 games.

  • United States: $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly
  • Europe: €13.99 monthly / €39.99 quarterly / €99.99 yearly
  • United Kingdom: £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly
  • Japan: ¥1,300 monthly / ¥3,600 quarterly / ¥8,600 yearly

PlayStation Plus Premium

Extra + access to 340 PSOne, PS2, PS3 (streaming only), and PSP games + the possibility to try AAA games for a short time.

  • United States: $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly
  • Europe: €16.99 monthly / €49.99 quarterly / €119.99 yearly
  • United Kingdom: £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly
  • Japan: ¥1,550 – monthly / ¥4,300 – quarterly / ¥10,250 yearly

Having said that, the concept and technology remain the same. Read the review for more.

The Xbox Game Pass is revolutionizing the video game industry. From $/€9,99 a month, console and PC gamers get access to hundreds of games, including all Xbox exclusives from Day One, at no extra cost. And the latest acquisitions from Microsoft (ZeniMax, Activision Blizzard) make it even more appealing.

In fact, the Game Pass is such a success for Xbox that it’s now at the center of its strategy to outcompete Sony and its PlayStation.
But did you know that Sony also offers a somewhat similar service called the PlayStation Now (or PS Now) that lets you download games and stream them?

  • What is the PS Now?
  • Is it interesting for PlayStation players?
  • Is the streaming experience satisfying?

I gave the service a try and now share my subjective experience in this post.


What is the PS Now?

The PS Now is a subscription service for PS4, PS5, and PC that lets players access hundreds of games.


How does it work?

The PS Now lets you download or stream games, depending on the platform you play from, and the platform you wish to play.
In comparison, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass only gives you the possibility to download your games.

Does it sound complicated? Here’s a breakdown of what you can do with a PS Now subscription:

If you play on a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, you can:

  • Download or stream a catalog of PS4 games.
  • Stream a catalog of PS3 games.
  • Download or stream a small catalog of PS2 games (running as PS4 applications).

From a PC, the only option is to stream your games. Note that the PS Now is not available for Mac users.

Downloading is the best way to enjoy the titles available on the PS Now. However, downloading requires time and storage space, when streaming is instant. Of course, there are a couple of things to consider to stream games in acceptable conditions, starting with your bandwidth.


How fast should your internet connection be to stream games via the PS Now?

The faster, the better.

What’s more, if you don’t want to bother downloading games and would instead stream them on your machine, favor a wired internet connection.

WiFi vs. LAN: does it matter to get a good streaming experience?

Sony recommends a 5mbps connection or higher. But let me tell you that 5mbps is NOT enough to stream games.

To provide a little more context before diving in, know that I currently have a theoretical 50Mbps bandwidth access.


It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s way above Sony’s recommendations.

Now, after testing both WiFi and LAN from my PS4 and PS5 consoles, I would not recommend streaming games using a wireless connection, even if your theoretical WiFi speed seems decent on paper.

WiFi results

After streaming a couple of games (GTA III, Assetto Corsa, Uncharted 2, Heavenly Sword, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Killzone 2) using WiFi, I observed similar results on both consoles; the game runs, but you will suffer sudden stutter and observe a lot more artifacts on screen than you would from a wired connection.

LAN results

Using a wired connection, I have to say that I was positively surprised.

If I did observe slight stutter here and there, the streaming experience was almost seamless when using a LAN cable. The games looked great, and artifacts were a lot less noticeable.

However, regardless of your setup (wired or wireless), you will observe a tiny input lag. It’s nothing dramatic and shouldn’t prevent you from completing your games. Of course, racing simulations and fighting games might prove this wrong as they require quick reflexes.

Here’s a short comparison video showing how good the streaming experience is when using a LAN cable versus playing original games on a PlayStation 3.


To sum it up: streaming works, but (…)

While it is an exciting alternative, streaming comes with a couple of shortcomings I’ll address in this post:

  • The resolution is currently limited to 1080p (subscribers can choose between 720p or 1080p, depending on the games they stream and the quality of their bandwidth).
  • There is a noticeable input lag.
  • You can observe a lot of artifacts, especially when using a WiFi connection.


How many games can you play on the PS Now?

The exact count is not communicated clearly by Sony, but the PS Now lets you play hundreds of PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 titles. Find the complete list on PlayStation.com.

Can you play all PlayStation exclusives from Day One?

No. Sony’s subscription service is not quite similar to the Xbox Game Pass in that sense. Both constructors are following two different strategies.

Simply put, Sony doesn’t need to be as aggressive as Xbox is. They won the previous generation confrontation and benefited from an anchored pool of gamers ready to buy full-priced games. As a challenger, Xbox needs to attract gamers with a very aggressive strategy. The Game Pass, giving access to all Xbox Exclusives titles from day one at no extra cost is the illustration of it.

As a consequence, the PS Now only gives access to a handful of PlayStation exclusives such as God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ratchet & Clank, or Detroit Become Human. But it does not yet give you the possibility to play PlayStation exclusives from Day One at no extra cost.


How much is a PS Now subscription?

There are 3 ways to subscribe to the PS Now service; monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The longer the subscription, the lower the monthly price.

  • 1 month: $/€9.99 or £8.99
  • 3 months: $/€24.99 or £22.99
  • 12 months: $/€59.99 or £49.99


Try the PS Now for free!

If you are curious about the PS Now but are unsure about the catalog and/or would like to test your ability to stream games in acceptable conditions, Sony lets you test the PlayStation Now service for 7 days, after which your subscription will continue if you don’t cancel it.

My recommendation? Start your 7 days trial if you know you’ll have time to try the service and unsubscribe right away to eliminate the possibility of you forgetting to cancel a service you might be disappointed by. And if you happen to like it – subscribe again!


So, is the PS Now worth it?

It depends on what you’re after.

If you’re not interested in playing PS3 games and don’t mind downloading titles, the PS Now is an excellent service that will give you a chance to enjoy hundreds of games from $/€5 (or £4.15) a month.

If, however, you’re most interested in streaming, make sure that your internet access is speedy enough and that you can play using a LAN cable. The alternative, of course, would be to purchase a PlayStation 3. Nowadays, you can easily find a PS3 for under 50 bucks and most games for under 5 bucks.

Have you tried the PS Now yourself? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments section below!

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