One of the biggest complaints about the PlayStation Now service (aside from the pricing of course) was the inability to play games conveniently offline. The always-on requirement really put a hamper on how gamers were able to engage with the streaming service, which mirrored the likes of other services such as Gaikai and Onlive. Of course, it should come as no surprise that it mirrors Gaikai given that Sony bought out the cloud streaming service in order to use it as the platform for which PlayStation Now was based. Sony, in recent times, has actually looked into elevating and evolving the platform beyond simply allowing gamers to stream through PlayStation Now. In fact, gamers are now able to download PS2 and PS4 games and play them offline... but there's a catch.
Over on the PlayStation Blog the senior marketing manager for PlayStation Now, Brian Dunn, explained that gamers can download select PS2 and PS4 games from PlayStation Now... right now.
The ability to download games is definitely a useful feature, but it does come with a caveat: games downloaded for offline play are only accessible offline for a couple of days. After that you will need to log into PlayStation Now again via going online.
This is very similar to how it was originally going to be setup with the Xbox One's 24-hour check-in. The big difference of course was that in the Xbox One's case that would have applied to normal everyday use as opposed to games streaming through the service.
The new offline feature makes PlayStation Now more akin to the Xbox Game Pass, which also allows users to download and play games from the comfort of their Xbox One without having to be online at all times.
The downloaded games from PlayStation Now also support trophies, add-ons, expansion packs, DLC packs that have been purchased, and in-app microtransactions. Additionally, there is also support for the PlayStation 4 Pro, which allows for HDR and some upscaled 4K gaming, but I'm not too sure how well that will translate across a streaming service.
Sony has also implemented the ability to copy over your cloud saves from online and use them locally when playing offline. This is a neat little feature that Valve had implemented into Steam some time ago. Microsoft also allows you to capture saves in the cloud through your Xbox Live profile, and when it's time to play offline you can do so with no worries.
The ability to play PS Now games offline will likely be a huge boon to the appeal of the digital service given that not everyone has a stable internet connection, or sometimes the connection gets shoddy depending on the time of day or when the weather is bad. Being able to bypass the streaming option and just download the game straight to your hard drive.
This definitely makes Sony's service look a lot more palatable for those who may have been eyeing it but didn't want to take the $99 a year plunge due to an unstable net connection or an unreliable ISP.
Now that the option has been added to download games, will you buy into PlayStation Now?