PS Now is Trying to Compete with Xbox Game Pass…and Failing
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Since its launch in 2014 on the PS4, PlayStation Now has been struggling to be a moneymaker for Sony. Initially, PS Now was supposed to make up for the PS4’s lack of backward compatibility that the Xbox One has. Consumers were predictably not paying the $20 (now $9.99) per month to play older games. It did have a decent catalog though and some people ended up keeping their subscriptions active. However, most PlayStation gamers didn’t give PS Now a second thought. In fact, it only hit 1 million subscribers 5 years after its launch. 114 million PS4s have been sold meaning less than 1% of PS4 owners are subscribed to PS Now. It suffered mostly due to the high price and the fact that it was cloud-based. That means all of the games’ data relies on a fast and stable internet connection which excludes a good chunk of potential subscribers. The service was quickly put to the wayside by gamers, but PlayStation is trying to bring it back to compete with Xbox’s Game Pass.
Microsoft did it the right way with Xbox Game Pass. It debuted early in 2017 and was a smash hit amongst Xbox players. It has fewer games than PS Now, but the value and quality of the content are what really sets it apart. Several AAA titles have been available for Game Pass subscribers right on release. It also has a focus on local play instead of game streaming which comes with some give and take. Game streaming isn’t available for Game Pass with the standard subscription. Players need to download games in full to play them. This has been seen as a nonissue for most subscribers. If you want to stream games instead, you can pay an extra $5 a month for that feature.
The gap between PS Now and Xbox Game Pass really comes down to one thing, and that’s the actual quality of their content. PlayStation just can’t (or won’t) compete with Xbox right now. Microsoft had blockbuster titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Doom Eternal, and a whole lot more available for download. The choice of high-quality games is always great. PS Now has a few solid games and exclusives, but right now Xbox just has more.
What Is PS Now Adding to the Mix?
PlayStation is trying to remedy that with two new major games being added to the service. Subscribers will be able to stream Marvel’s Avengers and Borderlands 3. The Long Dark, an FPS survival game, is also being added to PS Now’s collection. Even with these titles, PS Now still feels like it lacks the qualities of a truly great game streaming service. For now, Xbox Game Pass seems like the way to go.
PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X: Spec Comparison
It’s time to ask the age-old question once again. Which is better PlayStation or Xbox? The console wars have been raging on for the better part of two decades. We could argue about the user interface, customizability, price, and exclusive games, but today we’re here to look at one thing: technical specifications.
The CPU (or central processing unit) is essentially the “heart” of a gaming console. In short, what it does is execute vital calculations to run apps and games. It’s a necessary component and the most important as well.
The Xbox Series X receives the edge in this category. Both consoles feature processors with Zen 2 microarchitecture, but Microsoft has opted for a 3.8GHz variant which essentially means that the Series X can run smoother and faster. In short, it has really great performance.
PlayStation isn’t too far behind though. They went ahead and outfitted their new console with a 3.5GHz processor. You’ll still get solid performance, and truth be told, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference.
Still, the Series X will beat PlayStation in benchmarks and FPS (frames per second).
Graphics processing units are used to accelerate graphics rendering. They’re a specialized processor that are extremely important when it comes to video games and other graphically demanding applications like video editing software.
Again, the Series X has the edge on paper. They have utilized a 12 TeraFLOP GPU which means surprisingly not too much as far as comparisons go. In fact, the Xbox One has more TFLOPs than the Xbox Series S, but the latter offers much better performance. This is possible because it’s more so about how the system uses the GPU power.
PlayStation features slightly less at 10.28 TFLOPs. Xbox has a statistical advantage, but PlayStation’s practical application beats Xbox by utilizing a variable clock speed. As a result, PS5 can operate at 2.23 GHz while Xbox is locked at 1.825.
The win goes to PlayStation this round.
Storage and Memory
As far as RAM goes, the PS5 and XBSX are identical with 16 GB of RAM for both consoles.
One of the biggest debates going on between fans of both consoles was about the SSD or solid-state drives of each console.
The Xbox Series X features a 1TB SSD. The Xbox One had a 500GB version as well as a 1TB version. One terabyte is a pretty good amount of space and should hold plenty of games, especially with the lack of new games coming to next-gen consoles.
The PlayStation lacks the same amount of space with a respective, but lesser 825GB storage device. There’s plenty of space, but it just doesn’t stack up to the new Xbox.
But if you’re a PS5, don’t fret. The PlayStation 5 absolutely smokes the Xbox Series X when it comes to retrieving files and loading games. It’s akin to the instantaneous start-up of older “plug-and-play” consoles. Theoretically anyway, since comparisons have shown that performance is pretty similar which has become somewhat of a trend in this console generation.
If we’ve learned anything this generation, it’s that these consoles are both pretty powerful and strikingly similar. The real test is going to be the console exclusive titles.
The 5 Most Disappointing PlayStation Games We’ve Played
PlayStation has had plenty of hits but is no stranger to absolutely dropping the ball occasionally. This list is a collection of games that were on PlayStation (not exclusives) that really made you feel like you wasted your money. They’re not all complete trash, but they definitely missed the mark, mislead fans, or were actually downright bad.
5. Killzone: Shadowfall
It’s not a real console launch without an overhyped game release that somewhat tarnishes a well-regarded series. Shadowfall just didn’t feel quite right. It was missing a decent story. It was fine for what it was but nothing worth coming back to. Shooting and movement also felt…less than ideal. It was a pretty slow and unsatisfying mixture of gameplay elements. Although, Shadowfall did have some incredible graphics for the time.
4. The Order: 1886
The Order 1886 is another PlayStation exclusive guilty of one of the worst gaming sins you can think of: it’s boring. You’ll find clean graphics and a thick ambiance, but that’s about it. These elements put a little gleam on monotonous and soulless levels accompanied by uninspired gameplay and a mediocre story that cuts off as soon as it looks like anything of merit would come up. The graphics were what was holding it up, but now as we move into the PS5 era even those couldn’t be a reason to revisit this title.
3. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
We had to reach way back in the vault to bring this game up. The Angel of Darkness came out almost 19 years ago and I still have the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth. This time around the story wasn’t a problem. The graphics were fine too. But the controls? Unforgivable. The response was insanely slow and made for a game that was way too difficult as a result of these terrible controls. That’s not even mentioning the camera, which might as well have been actively working against you as you made your way through the game.
2. Duke Nukem Forever
This was supposed to be an epic comeback for Duke Nukem, but like many other series reboots, this game fell flat. It seemed stuck between trying to be modern and old-school at the same time and it just didn’t pan out. The humor was just not great and made me want to mute the game sometimes. It’s just corny and obviously not adapted well to how comedy has evolved. With that said, it’s not horrible to play all the way, but it’s not worth picking up in the first place.
1. Cyberpunk 2077
Well, who didn’t see this coming? This is easily the most disappointing game of the generation. It might even be in a couple of “all-time” lists. People were promised so many insane features and incredible depth. Instead of a solid RPG representing the tabletop game, we had an extremely lackluster game that was completely broken on PS4 and Xbox One. It was incomplete, a mess, and borderline unplayable. It was such a shame that the dev studio went from the Witcher 3 to this.
The Best Indie Games on PlayStation in 2021
Everyone loves a good independently developed game here and there. Some have even become some of the most well-regarded games of all time. These games can be surprisingly well polished and full of heart and the best part is that there’s no shortage of them on PlayStation. Read on to see the best indie titles PlayStation has to offer(in no particular order).
5: Hotline Miami 1&2
The Hotline Miami series is a frenetic top-down shooter with buckets of blood with an intense, droning electronic soundtrack. Pink and light blue hues fill your screen as you play as a mysterious hitman that takes out his foes with a variety of weapons and different rubber animal masks. The pixelized art style lends itself well to this excellent game. The sequel was pretty much on par with the first as well.
If you’re looking for a polished rogue-lite, Hades is your game. It’s filled with deep lore and smooth gameplay that makes you want to play over and over again. You find yourself playing as Zagreus, the son of Hades, trying to find your way through the underworld to get to the surface. Each character is fleshed out with unique dialogue options after each death. There’s plenty to do in Hades like unlocking weapons and upgrading abilities to fortify you for your next run.
3. Return of the Obra Dinn
Pirates, insurance agents, and a murder mystery. What else could you want? Return of the Obra Dinn has you, the player, become a pirate ship insurance agent trying to deduce what went down aboard the Obra Dinn. This is a game full of discovery and one of the best investigative games you can play right now.
2. Disco Elysium
It might not be the game for everyone, but what it set out to do, it achieves with panache. You’ll find yourself in the dilapidated city of Revachol investigating the lynching of a mercenary tasked with controlling union protests. The only thing is that you don’t really know who you are to start out. You’ll discover your identity and beliefs as you play this philosophically intense RPG. Be ready to read though since this game has about as much reading as a small novel.
1. The Outer Wilds
No, not the Outer Worlds. This is an indie game about exploring space and discovering how an ancient race of aliens lived and died out, on the surface anyway. There’s not a game out there that quite captures the wonder of space travel and horrifying ways you can go out. Every 22 minutes, you restart just to do it all again, or maybe you go somewhere else to learn something new. Just try to piece it all together. The beauty of this game isn’t just on the outside, it’s mirrored with a barebones narrative, but an extremely poignant message of doing things just to do them. You won’t find something nearly as touching, at least for a very long time. Well maybe until the expansion coming out later this month!