There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are addicted to Netflix and those who are far more productive because they have yet to get Netflix. Okay, that’s not exactly true; but you have to admit in recent years Netflix has become a powerhouse in the TV/Film industry. Now what if the same approach could be taken to the video game industry?
Well that is exactly what is going on right now as both Sony’s PlayStation Now and the Xbox One’s EA Access battle it out to be known as ‘The Netflix of Gaming’. So who’s winning? I wish the answer to that question was cut and dry; but the fact is both systems have their pros and cons. As for which is better – or worse –, let’s look at these two services and find out for ourselves.
EA Access was just announced to give gamers “a totally new way for you to play more of the games you love, for less”. For just $4.99 per month, EA Access will allow gamers to download and play some of EA’s biggest games. Sounds like an awesome deal right? WELL, small problem.
The service right now is in Beta and will only allow you to play FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4 and something called Peggle 2. So if you don’t like any of these games, you’re pretty much out of luck. Now once the Beta period is over more games will obviously be added; but think about it. EA Access won’t give you access to any Xbox games; but rather access to only EA games.
There are tons of Xbox games that are obviously not made by EA. So why get a console exclusive service that doesn’t support your console? Well that’s because EA Access wasn’t some special ace in the hole acquisition by Xbox. EA Access had already approached Sony for a partnership; but Sony turned them down because they felt “it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect.” – OUCH
In addition to these limited game choices and being ‘sloppy seconds’, EA doesn’t actually have a good track record with online functions. Remember all the problems with Battlefield 4’s online systems? Yah. So what does the competition Sony have to offer?
Unlike EA Access, PlayStation Now would offer gamers access to tons of games from PlayStation 3 and back all the way to some PlayStation originals. No specific game developers to worry about. If it was popular on PlayStation, there’s a strong chance it’ll be on PlayStation Now. In addition to this, Sony has more experience with online than EA could ever dream of having. So what’s the downside?
The downside of PlayStation Now just happens to be the very thing EA did perfectly: a simple subscription price. Right now Sony charges the same price to ‘rent’ a game for several hours. That’s right, you could download and play FIFA 14 for $4.99 a month or you could ‘rent’ it for 4 hours from PlayStation Now for the same price. Add in talks that Sony might add an addition subscription fees and there is a clear victor in the price battle.
One final caveat is that contrary to initial reports when PlayStation Now was first announced, now Sony is rather silent on offering PS1 and PS2 games. As of right now, PlayStation Now only offers PlayStation 3 games. Whereas this is a drastic and heartbreaking change, there is still a much larger roster of games to choose from than just ‘EA titles’. Also, like EA Access, PlayStation Now is still in testing phases too so in the future old PS1 and PS2 games might become available.
So there you have it. As for which is better, I personally side towards PlayStation Now for their increased options and more experience. Though something has to be done with their payment services. It’s sad really. When PlayStation Now was first announced, many though it would be the Netflix of gaming by giving gamers an entire library of games to choose from and stream as they wish for a flat monthly subscription fee.
In reality, PlayStation Now is starting to seem more like Blockbuster with all their individual fees – and we all know how well Blockbuster is doing (yes, sarcasm). This oversight by Sony makes the title of ‘Netflix of Gaming’ elude them for now; and gives other services – like EA Access – an opportunity to try to fill the void.
In the end, Playstation Now and EA Access represent two opposite sides of the same coin: better range of choices vs better payment method. If only these two sides could become one, then we might truly see a Netflix of Gaming take shape. Until then, which will you choose: Variety or Pricing?