If you’ve always wanted to experience the best of what PS4 has to offer, but don’t want to invest in the console just yet, there’s good news — sort of. PlayStation Now, Sony’s game-streaming service, now offers PS4 games as part of its library. Playing them is just as simple as playing any other PS Now game. Just be warned that the selection, at present, isn’t as good as it could be.
First and foremost, you’ll need to download and install the PlayStation Now client, if you haven’t already. Visit the Windows PC section of the PS Now site and follow the instructions; the program installs just like any other Windows executable.
From there, you’ll need to connect a compatible PlayStation controller to your machine. You can use a DualShock 4, DualShock 3 or a handful of third-party peripherals. We have a guide on how to connect DS4 controllers — which are, naturally, the ideal choice for PS4 games.
For whatever reason, you can’t navigate PS Now’s menus with a controller on PC, so you’ll have to use a mouse instead. From the main menu, simply scroll down until you see a section for PS4 games. At the time of writing, there are 20 games, and Sony promises that many more are on the way.
On the other hand, precious few of these titles are big-budget PS4 exclusives. You can play Killzone Shadow Fall and God of War III Remastered, but a lot of other titles — Ultra Street Fighter IV, Darksiders II, Broken Age, Super Mega Baseball — are also available on PC. Granted, your PC may not be powerful enough to run them natively, but if it is, you may be better off on Steam.
During our tests streaming PS4 games on PS Now, we noticed that the video quality topped out at 720p, and that there was a fair amount of screen tearing during intense action scenes. (The lag may be a function of our office’s Internet, which is crowded and not optimized for gaming, but all of Sony’s PS4 streams cap at 720p.) The games were playable, but not with the same kind of seamless fluidity that PC gamers are used to.
Still, as Sony expands its library, PC gamers may find that a handful of PS4 games at 720p is considerably better than no PS4 games at all. In the meantime, PS Now offers a seven-day free trial if you want to give it a shot for yourself — and that includes dozens of PS3 classics as well.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.