Sony will now allow PlayStation Now subscribers to download dozens of full PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 2 games for offline play.
Previously, the $20 per month PlayStation Now service only streamed games to users, requiring a constant internet connection to play.
The change makes PlayStation Now a direct competitor to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription service, which allows players to download a large library of Xbox titles on both Xbox consoles and Windows computers.
Starting September 20th, PlayStation Now subscribers will have the option to download full PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 2 games to their console for offline play, giving them access to a huge library and a more enjoyable playing experience.
Prior to the announcement, players were limited to streaming games from the PlayStation Now library, which required a constant internet connection. Because of the bandwidth required to stream games, image quality is less consistent than when installed, and the controls can be slightly delayed.
Saving PS Now titles to their home console will give players the ability to purchase additional downloadable content and add-ons, expanding playtime on individual games. If a player started playing a game using the streaming service, they can transfer their save, download the title for offline play, and continue where they left off without having to log back into the PlayStation Network.
PlayStation Now has undergone a number of significant changes since it firsts entered open beta in 2014. The service was once available on the PlayStation 3, Vita, and even some Sony and Samsung televisions, but has since been limited to just PlayStation 4 and Windows. PlayStation Now normally offers streaming to 12 countries at $19.99 per month, but new subscribers can join for one month at $9.99 or three months at $44.99. PlayStation Plus subscribers can get three months of PlayStation Now for $30. A full year subscription costs $99.99.
The ability to download full titles with PlayStation Now gives Sony an analogue to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service, which launched earlier this summer for Windows and Xbox consoles. Game Pass owners can download as many games as they want to their computer and Xbox with no limits so long as their subscription is live. The Game Pass is $9.99 a month and offers a library of more than 100 Xbox games for download. PlayStation Now hosts more than 650 titles for streaming, but the number of downloadable titles is closer to the size of the Game Pass library.
Most importantly, PlayStation Now's option for full downloads gives PlayStation 4 owners a low-cost option to access dozens of games without having to compromise their playing experience.