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Report: Sony’s PlayStation Now rental fees are outrageous

Some insiders participating in the closed Beta have leaked Sony’s purported rental fee structure, which reveal some outrageous prices and rental periods.

PS Now E3 2014

PlayStation Now has been seen as a major advantage for Sony, essentially giving PS4 owners backwards compatibility with a catalog of yesteryear classics.  If managed properly, the Japanese gaming giant could have a significant weapon in their next-gen arsenal against the competition. At E3 2014, Sony announced that a free open beta for the streaming service would begin for PS4 owners at the end of July starting with PlayStation 3 titles.

But before we start celebrating, it appears the beta is anything but free: you’ll need to break out your digital wallet to even test out the service.

A few participants of the closed beta have revealed some pretty exorbitant and outrageous fee structures for the service, not to mention ludicrous rental periods that include a paltry four hours of playtime.

It appears that games will be offered on a limited-time rental basis, broken up in periods of 4 hours, 7 days, 30 days and 90 days with varying prices per title.

PS Now Beta Deus Ex HR
(Photo Credit: PS4 Daily)

The structure for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for example, is priced at $4.99 for 4 hours, $6.99 for 7 days, $14.99 for 30 days and 90 days for $29.99. Considering gamers can just buy a copy for a mere $15 from Amazon, these prices are hard to justify.

This was one of the major worries that kept gamers dubious of PS Now, and it appears they were right to be skeptical: these rental structures will undoubtedly be a thorn in Sony’s side until they become manageable. These unbelievable rates have earned the ire and disdain from many publications and gamers across the globe, who see them as exploitative and unfair.

The absence of any sort of discounts or freebies for PlayStation Plus users adds insult to injury, especially gamers who have been long-time subscribers.

But how did it get this far? Four hours for five dollars?

Rather than regulating the fees themselves, Sony is allowing developers and publishers to maintain the fee structure for their games. This in theory is a great move on Sony’s part, but without proportionally weighing the retail value of certain older games into their respective digital PS Now prices, the fees become quite skewed.

PS Now Beta FF13 - 2
(Photo Credit: PS4 Daily)

It’s also worth mentioning that these pricing structures may change when the open beta hits in July, especially after the huge wave of negative feedback that has caused the PlayStation community to get up in arms over the topic. Furthermore the whole purpose of the beta is to test the waters, but realistically Sony won’t be getting any real testing done with prices like these.

SCEA President and CEO Shawn Layden confirmed that the PlayStation Now beta would feature more than 100 of the best-rated games in the PS3 catalog, but I wince when I think about each game’s fee structure.

Layden also mentioned that Sony is mulling over a subscription-based model for the streaming service, which will hopefully be reasonable and feature some sort of PS Plus integration, but those plans haven’t been revealed.

If Sony can smooth out the rough edges of PlayStation Now it will assuredly be a mighty asset for the company. As Sony has seen its sixth consecutive annual loss in the last seven years, the streaming service could bolster PS4 sales and lead to a more prosperous, unified PlayStation ecosystem. Right now, though, they certainly have their work cut out for them.

Source: PS4 Daily


Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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