Sony today delivered on a promise is made at CES this year, going live with the PlayStation Now open beta for all PS4 owners. The PS Now program is a game-streaming service through which PS4 owners can stream PS3 games to play them on a PS4.
The PlayStation Now open beta follows a limited-invitation PS Now private beta that had been running since January.
Sony has no immediate plans to use its PlayStation Now service to stream older PS2 or original PlayStation games to the PS4. With that said, most gamers will likely be more interested in streaming and playing PS3 games than the much-older ones.
Because the PlayStation Now open beta is now available to all PS4 owners, the decision may sway PS3 owners who don’t currently own a PS4 to purchase the next-gen console. Although the PlayStation Now service doesn’t include the PS3’s full library of games, it does enable PS4 owners to stream and rent more than 100 titles.
To Sony’s credit, the company will add more titles “regularly” during the PlayStation Now open beta.
To be clear, PS Now does not allow subscribers to actually download and own the titles outright. Instead, it’s essentially a game-rental service with rental periods varying based on the game. Some games may have a seven-day rental period, while others may have 30- or 90-day rentals.
The service also offers a four-hour rental option to give PS4 owners the chance to try the game before committing to a full-on rental.
On the PlayStation Store you’ll see a clear breakdown of what’s included with game rentals, which is important since several titles in the PS Now game lineup include DLC. In a few weeks, you’ll start to see reduced pricing ($1.99) on some of the four-hour rentals.
PlayStation Now features cloud-based game saves and supports PlayStation Trophies, friend lists and online leaderboards. Multiplayer games can be played seamlessly online with other people on PS Now as well as players who have a non-PS-Now version of the game.
If you’re participating in the PlayStation Now open beta, we’re curious to hear your thoughts on the experience. You can offer them in the comments section below, or you’re always welcome to submit an opinion piece to our Executive Editor via email for publication on the main site.