Got a hankering to take a walk down memory lane and play titles such as the critically-acclaimed Ni No Kuni, Heavy Rain, Papa & Yo and Shadow of the Colossus but don't own a PlayStation 3? Instead of hunting eBay or GameStop for an old system you can simply turn on your PC and boot up PlayStation Now. Sony has finally launched the app and is bringing a whopping 400-plus games with it plus a heaping helping of crow for Microsoft and Xbox.
In a move totally motivated by Xbox's recent push into offering backwards compatibility via the Xbox One and the upcoming Xbox Play Anywhere Initiative, PlayStation is pulling out the big guns with PlayStation Now's subscription streaming service, which offers unlimited access to your favorite games of yesteryear on your PlayStation 4 or PC.
Nostalgia doesn't come cheap, however, as a one-month subscription costs $19.99 while a three-month package will set you back $44.99. In an attempt to lure budget-conscious gamers, Sony is running a limited-time promotion where you can get a year of the Now service for $99.99. For that price, you can buy a full price title ($59) and a mid-tier game or a slew of indie properties.
At least it's a better proposition than the individual rental fees Sony originally wanted to assign to each game during the Now beta. If you'd like to try before you buy, Sony's offering a 7-day free trial.
Before you dive headfirst into the games of your youth, make sure you have the right PC to get the job done. As with most game streaming services, your system has some minimum requirements to meet. In this case its Windows 7 (SP1), a 3.5-GHz Intel Core i3 or 3.8-GHz AMD A10 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5Mbps Internet connection, a sound card and a USB port. Keep in mind that while you can probably get away with a wireless network connection, Sony is highly recommending that you go wired.
While PlayStation Now is best when tethered, Sony is cutting the cord when it comes to its controllers thanks to the new DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adaptor ($24.99). Similar to Microsoft's Xbox One Wireless Adapter, the DualShock 4 device allows gamers to use their wireless PS4 controllers on the PC. However, unlike Xbox One's Wireless Adaptor, this peripheral is Mac and PC-friendly. If you don't feel like shelling out the extra bucks, you can just plug your controller into a free USB port and be about your merry way.
As tantalizing as playing Heavenly Sword or The Darkness may be, Sony's still asking gamers to fork out quite a bit of money. If you're a PS Plus user, you're paying $59.99 (1 year) starting this September, plus another $99.99 for PS Now. That's not including all the new titles you'll potentially purchase this year. There's also the PlayStation Neo and PlayStation VR to consider.
At the end of the day, PS Now is going to depend heavily upon how much gamers are willing to pay for for some of their favorite titles from the late 90's and early aughts.