Sony’s answer to backwards compatibility is about to get a little better. PS Now, its streaming service for select PS2, PS3, and PS4 games, is getting the ability to locally download a sizable portion of the service’s library locally on player’s hard drives. This feature only includes PS2 and PS4 games and will be rolling out to PS Now subscribers (on PS4 only) in the next few days.
On the PlayStation Blog announcement post, Sony claims that “almost all” of the PS4 games on PS Now will be ready to download but the number of PS2 games was not specified. These PS4 titles will support all forms of DLC, take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s boost mode, and require a PlayStation Plus subscription for online play. Essentially, they will behave like regular PS4 titles that you have purchased or own through PS Plus. Even though this move was likely made to reduce lag and enable offline play, you will still need to connect to the PlayStation Network “every few days” to confirm your subscription.
You’ll also be able to keep your save if you are currently playing through a PS4 game on PS Now but want to download a local copy. Just upload your save to the cloud then download that save onto your PS4’s hard drive.
Sony is also currently holding a promotion for PS Now that ends on September 25. New subscribers can try it for a month for $9.99 (only if they don’t do the free week trial first). A full year is $99.99 and PlayStation Plus subscribers can get three months for $29.99.
PS2 titles only showed up in May 2018 and PS4 games joined the service in July 2017. It’s a little ironic that the service started for PS3 games but is the only library of titles that the PS4 can’t locally download (yet). Kotaku’s original report of this rumor in June implied PS3 downloads but that was likely just an assumption based off how the service’s original function was to deliver PS3 games to PS4 users.
First announced at CES 2014, PS Now was Sony’s answer to backwards compatibility. The PS3’s architecture made it difficult for the PS4 to enable true backwards compatibility, hence why Sony opted for a catch-all streaming approach. But with streaming, comes a bit of lag, which is something Microsoft hasn’t had to deal with since the Xbox One can natively play Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles.
While the PS2 titles look to the past, PS4 games lets Sony compete more directly with the Xbox One’s Game Pass, which allows subscribers download any title on the service.