Sony Still Learning Right Model for Consumers for PlayStation Now

Sony Still Learning Right Model for Consumers for PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now Vita

PlayStation's European Boss admits they're still learning the best pricing structure for PlayStation Now.

PlayStation Now is a streaming service that allows customers to access a large collection of PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 games on a rental basis. It will be compatible with Sony's gaming platforms and some televisions, and it's currently in beta for the PlayStation 4. There are four different rental price models available, but President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Jim Ryan says that it's still a learning experience.

"We're learning every single day the beta's ongoing," he explains, "We're learning about what the right model for consumers is: we're starting off with rental, and what's the right period to rent, what's the right price for the rental, playing with these things. We haven't got them quite right yet, but we will do, and we'll just take learnings from it and do stuff differently as appropriate." PlayStation Now's current rental options are 4 hours, 7 days, 30 days, and 90 days. Four-hour rentals can be as low as $2.99 for games like Twisted Metal, and 90-day rentals range from $14.99 to $24.99.

Ryan elaborates that while renting seems like an attractive option for some consumers, others might prefer a subscription-based approach, which is a route Sony is keeping in mind as they continue to test out the service. "'Learning' is the right word, because this is a new business for us and we have to be kind of humble and accept that we don't understand it yet, and learn quickly."

Here's hoping Sony figures out the right pricing structure for PlayStation Now. There are still analysts who don't believe in the success of the subscription system.

Source: CVG

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Here's a wild idea: how about allowing customers to buy shit off your store? I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it might work.

RealRT:
Here's a wild idea: how about allowing customers to buy shit off your store? I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it might work.

What are you talking about?

With the pricing structure they are offering it sounds a lot like "its not a good value for their players", I know if that pricing structure stands it won't attract me to their service.

Blockbuster and such died for a reason. The model will fly or die depending on the consumer, if the consumers dumb, then nothing will change, if the consumers savvy enough, it might actually improve. Granted the whole streaming thing is a mute point in my country with it's network from 1995.

I still think its all dependant on the streaming technology because if they cant deliver it for a cheap price then no one is going to buy it. Maybe it is still too soon even though I certainly like the idea (it will be Onlive all over again).

LaochEire:

RealRT:
Here's a wild idea: how about allowing customers to buy shit off your store? I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it might work.

What are you talking about?

There are STACKS of old games on the PS store which are unavailable in my region (AUS) or don't seem to be listed at all. This is especially ridiculous for PS1 games.

Translation:

"We're trying to figure out the maximum amount of money people are willing to pay for this, and then we'll charge them that."

The only way I'd pay any money for PSNow is if they offered unlimited access to games I already own (for example, pay $5 to unlock the use of a game I bought digitally on PS3 on PS4), or let me pay for a game outright and, again, have unlimited access. Otherwise ... well, there's a reason I've still got my PS3 hooked up next to my PS4. This is not the service for me.

I have no real issue with the current rental time lengths but the rates need to be lowered and there should be low price renewal and purchase options once your period expires. Even the 4 hour rental length has a purpose if you say have friends over or just want to try a game.

My biggest issue with the service, though, just remains that I'm not confident a streaming service of any kind will be a playable choice for all types of game. I'd rather have the service be a download, or partial download, of the game to my system so that I can play it natively even if use of the service requires I be online while playing for authentication purposes.

StriderShinryu:
My biggest issue with the service, though, just remains that I'm not confident a streaming service of any kind will be a playable choice for all types of game. I'd rather have the service be a download, or partial download, of the game to my system so that I can play it natively even if use of the service requires I be online while playing for authentication purposes.

I do agree the service is going live or die based on the streaming technology, but I think they want to try and avoid anything that might be remotely called DRM with a console service with how people reacted to aspects of the Microsoft announcement.

MrHide-Patten:
Blockbuster and such died for a reason.

Blockbuster died because it went all in on competing with Netflix and Gamefly and lost. Not only is this not a make-or-break sort of deal for Sony, but the lack of competitive models may in fact save Now even if the consumers are lukewarm to it. Especially since they're not going to allow competitors on their network (say what you want about EA, EA Access was not allowed based on it being competition, not quality).

I have no interest in it at all really. There is no way I am going to pay to "Rent" a digital game. If I'm going to pay you for something I plan to pay once, and then it's mine to use whenever I want.

To me it seems like a scam to try and find a way to make more money off of old games than they can by just putting their back catalog up for digital download. I'm guessing their way of thinking is that if they give people no other choice, they will show up to rent a lot of their old favorites as the only way to play them, which means their lack of support for backwards compatibility will pay off big if it works. Especially as more and more PSX, PS2, and PS3 systems finally fail.

Now, I suppose if they were to do a subscription service for all games, as opposed to be paying a rental for each one (as they are mentioning) that might be worthwhile, as long as it was competitively priced with things like Netflix. Of course I'm sure Sony thinks they are more than justified in trying to charge more than a mere "movie" service given what some of these games initially retailed for, but if they got more expensive than that I wouldn't be interested, nor would most people I imagine.

Of course in theory if Sony got savvy enough and say managed to get a huge catalog of movies, TV shows, etc... to compete with Netflix and then threw in free access to downloadable games with the membership as well, they could potentially kill that service and make a killing through a volume of customers, assuming of course they only charged as much (or less) than Netflix.

At any rate, I could be wrong, but from all that I've seen and read I expect this service to be the biggest failure since the attempt to launch a WWE-centric service. In part because Sony is pretty much trying to create a service for an even more limited audience. The audience for something like this is basically people who are old enough to remember and want to play these old games, and yet stupid (or grotesquely rich) enough to digitally rent them individually. That's a very small group of people given that the whole "digital products" thing is already getting a lot of flak for the fact that companies are taking real money and giving you nothing tangible in return, making you dependent on their distribution platforms continued existence, combined with all the spyware, DRM, and everything else that goes with it. Sony is basically looking for older folks, who are going to give them real money in exchange for the very temporary use of very specific non-tangible things.... Maybe I have too much faith in humanity, but I just can't see many people falling into this niche... people like that existing in large enough numbers seems like some kind of corporate CEO's wet dream. With the WWE I kind of understood the idea, but as popular as it is, I just didn't think there were enough wrasslin obsessives to support a service like that by paying a separate fee for a very limited, highly specialized, form of content being focused on one place (content which is still obtainable by other sources... and anyone obsessive enough to want to subscribe to a WWE network like that to watch Wrasslin 24/7 probably owns most of the stuff they would want to see from the archives by this point).

I have to say that, while I'm not too impassioned one way or the other, in a way this is a big slap in the face to people who were counting on accessing their back library through PS Now. I mean, they came up with all these reasons we couldn't have any kind of backwards compatibility and for the most part, I'm willing to go along, but man this service just seems awful. Streaming tech has finally gotten to the point where video is ok for most of the time, but with rentals since time is an issue, if your internet craps out on you, for an evening right after you made your 4 hour rental of Deus Ex, they better have a damn good system in play for getting you your money back.

But honestly, beyond that I just don't like these rental services. Game rentals were cool once upon a time, when I was a kid, money was tight, and having friends over was a very regular thing. For the games I like, this will never be a service that speak to me. For fighters, input lag is unacceptable, and for RPG's a 4 hour rental period is ludicrous. But even for things like shooters, I can't imagine fluctuating frame rates not being an issue.

When I thought this was more of a cloud service for streaming a back catalog, I was all pumped, but in Japan PSN's video content is all extremely over priced rental garbage, and I have no interest in seeing their game content go that way too...

Who, in their right mind, would pay 25 frickin' dollars for a bloody RENTAL? That seems almost insulting to me- you can just flat-out buy a lot of PS1-3 games for that price (unless prices are just that dramatically different in Europe.)

The kind of person who's going to want to play a lot of older titles, is the kind of person who's probably OK with just keeping their older systems handy for that reason. It's not even that hard to get them all set up at once- I have 10 frickin' systems hooked up, plugged in, and ready to go right now. The only reason that number isn't 3 or 4 higher is there's only so much shelf space/outlets you can get on a power strip. (Well, that and good manual a/b/c coaxial switchers aren't easy come by so I can't hook up the Atari and the Intellivision at once.)

Either these prices need to come way down, or they need to find a way to make this work on a portable. They won't, since they've basically abandoned the Vita, but I know I'd be a lot more inclined to pay money for a rental of a game I already own when I'm bored in a hotel room or stuck at a busy DMV... and I imagine I wouldn't be the only one who'd do so.

Kameburger:
I have to say that, while I'm not too impassioned one way or the other, in a way this is a big slap in the face to people who were counting on accessing their back library through PS Now.

I don't see why. Did they ever claim it was? The FAQ would seem to indicate otherwise:

Can PlayStation Now be seen as a backwards compatibility feature on PS4?

No. PlayStation Now is a complementary platform with many new features.

DuelLadyS:

Either these prices need to come way down, or they need to find a way to make this work on a portable. They won't, since they've basically abandoned the Vita, but I know I'd be a lot more inclined to pay money for a rental of a game I already own when I'm bored in a hotel room or stuck at a busy DMV... and I imagine I wouldn't be the only one who'd do so.

From the FAQ

What devices will be supported and when?

PlayStation Now will be launching Open Beta this summer. Open Beta will come first to the PlayStation 4, followed later by PlayStation 3, 2014 BRAVIA TVs, PS Vita and PlayStation TV later in the year.

Subscription or nothing.

Here's the thing - people don't like paying where they don't have to, but if they do have to, they want to either keep what they are buying or feel like the value they get from it completely justifies the cost.

You'll be hard pressed to find success selling digital copies of games outright, because frankly it feels like an incredible rip off. Even if it isn't. Therefore you need to sell games for pennies, OR, sell a subscription service that's packed full of stuff, like Netflix.

For those in doubt, the development of all games from PS1 and PS2 era (and nearly everything from the PS3 era) have been completely paid for, so the money that Sony would make on these would be pure profit (with maybe a fraction going to some licensing somewhere). $25 is insane in today's world for those kinds of product, especially when you're not getting a physical copy which may retain some physical value in the future. I approve of the "Now" project if it increases revenues for future development, but the truth is that it'll be mostly be cushioning the company bottom line.

I'm not a donor or volunteer to help Sony's profits, I'm a customer. Sony needs to appeal to ME, not the other way around. Those prices do not grab my attention.

popa_qwerty:

DuelLadyS:

Either these prices need to come way down, or they need to find a way to make this work on a portable. They won't, since they've basically abandoned the Vita, but I know I'd be a lot more inclined to pay money for a rental of a game I already own when I'm bored in a hotel room or stuck at a busy DMV... and I imagine I wouldn't be the only one who'd do so.

From the FAQ

What devices will be supported and when?

PlayStation Now will be launching Open Beta this summer. Open Beta will come first to the PlayStation 4, followed later by PlayStation 3, 2014 BRAVIA TVs, PS Vita and PlayStation TV later in the year.

Sounds great! (Let's just hope they, y'know, actually DO it- considering Sony's stated they're backing off on Vita games,I fear they may decide not to bother... I mean, right there they list putting the service into smart TVs first. Could be an arbitrary order, could be an indicator of just how much Sony thinks of the Vita.)

I wonder what they mean by "Still". YOu should be learning constantly through entire service lifetime. Otherwise your going to be left in the dust when the next big thing comes.

As far as it is now, i can buy more games for the amount they ask to rent me, so no thanks.

Zachary Amaranth:

MrHide-Patten:
Blockbuster and such died for a reason.

Blockbuster died because it went all in on competing with Netflix and Gamefly and lost. Not only is this not a make-or-break sort of deal for Sony, but the lack of competitive models may in fact save Now even if the consumers are lukewarm to it. Especially since they're not going to allow competitors on their network (say what you want about EA, EA Access was not allowed based on it being competition, not quality).

There is OnLive. It would be a good competitor if the companies would actually allow them to have thier games in the library. as it is now pretty much every major publisher banned streaming gameplay of thier games. Lets see how much publishers sony can handfist into it. If they suceed it may actually leave to a precedent for actually good streaming services to emerge, ala how Netflix wasnt the first but did the best.

Strazdas:

There is OnLive. It would be a good competitor if the companies would actually allow them to have thier games in the library. as it is now pretty much every major publisher banned streaming gameplay of thier games. Lets see how much publishers sony can handfist into it. If they suceed it may actually leave to a precedent for actually good streaming services to emerge, ala how Netflix wasnt the first but did the best.

And that's the thing. They could be competition, but they're not and they're unlikely to be. It's more likely we'll see publishers try and pull their own "EA Access" style services, and/or we'll see platform-based services. OnLive has interesting potential, but it looks like virtually nobody wants to play ball with them. Well, at least on a major level.

Zachary Amaranth:

Strazdas:

There is OnLive. It would be a good competitor if the companies would actually allow them to have thier games in the library. as it is now pretty much every major publisher banned streaming gameplay of thier games. Lets see how much publishers sony can handfist into it. If they suceed it may actually leave to a precedent for actually good streaming services to emerge, ala how Netflix wasnt the first but did the best.

And that's the thing. They could be competition, but they're not and they're unlikely to be. It's more likely we'll see publishers try and pull their own "EA Access" style services, and/or we'll see platform-based services. OnLive has interesting potential, but it looks like virtually nobody wants to play ball with them. Well, at least on a major level.

yep, Online certainly started with big promises but quickly learnt that noone is willing to cooperate. i tried it and its quite ok (in terms of responsiveness, the quality of image is poor, as will be ANY streaming service, because to stream full image 1080p you would need 230+mbit internet, so they compress it to hell, just like youtube and netflix.). the problem is theres nothing to play in the service, just like for decades you were unable to buy music on the internet legally (and you still cant if you want good quality and not shitty 256 kbps itunes quality).

That being siad i highly doubt publishers will play ball with Sony either, so this very likely may turn into first party titles only and indies that want exposure.

However if they suceed in talking publishers into it, and the publishers see it profitable, they would be more willing to play ball with things like OnLive, and thus the next OnLive may just blow PSN out of the water.

Zachary Amaranth:

MrHide-Patten:
Blockbuster and such died for a reason.

Blockbuster died because it went all in on competing with Netflix and Gamefly and lost. Not only is this not a make-or-break sort of deal for Sony, but the lack of competitive models may in fact save Now even if the consumers are lukewarm to it. Especially since they're not going to allow competitors on their network (say what you want about EA, EA Access was not allowed based on it being competition, not quality).

I was more referring to how its services lost out to like likes of Netflix due to the ease and cost of the later. There was the point I made about whether or not the consumer is savy enough, if it survives then it will only be the idiots who are vested in its stupid pricing scheme that pay for it.

Competition or not I'm glad Sony put the foot down on EA access, I'm already paying for PS+, EA Access is just another layer of stupid on the cake. It wouldn't take long for Ubisoft or Square Enix to follow suite if people fell for that crap.

Strazdas:

That being siad i highly doubt publishers will play ball with Sony either, so this very likely may turn into first party titles only and indies that want exposure.

I sort of wonder if the pricing wasn't what it was as an attempt to mollify other publishers. I mean, the problem with Netflix streaming is that some of the companies want ALL THE MONEEZ and Netflix isn't playing ball. I have no illusions that this is a solely altruistic move, mind, as previous price changes have bordered on suicide for Netflix, but for whatever reason, they're not making it a 100 dollar a month service or adding ad spam all over the place or tiering off content (side note: screw Hulu).

I have trouble thinking even Sony could come up with this price model on its own, so I suspect mitigating factors. Though I don't know that.

I'm wondering what the next service will look like, because I'm sure one will come.

 

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