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Sony Introduces Monthly Subscription Service for PlayStation Now

(Image by SCEA)

These are the PS3 games part of Sony’s upcoming streaming subscription program. (Image by SCEA)

The Sony streaming service of PlayStation 3 games will launch a subscription-based pricing model this month.

PlayStation Now will start a subscription service on Jan. 13 in North America for PlayStation 4 owners, Sony announced Monday. A one month subscription will cost $19.99 while three months will cost $44.99. Subscribing to PlayStation Now for a year based on three-month increments will cost $180.

More than 100 PlayStation 3 games are advertised for the PlayStation Now subscription, including The Last of Us (2013), BioShock Infinite (2013), Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007), God of War: Ascension (2013) and Batman: Arkham City (2011). All games part of the PlayStation Now library can be accessed and played at any time on the PS4.

With PlayStation Now games are played on the supported device without a disc or download through the Gaikai-based streaming technology, a company Sony acquired in 2012. Save data for PlayStation Now games will be uploaded to the cloud and PlayStation Plus subscribers can download the files to their console. PlayStation Now games still have Trophy support the same way disc-based and digitally downloaded titles do.

No release date for PlayStation Now or its subscription service was announced for Europe. Other devices will support PlayStation Now subscriptions in the future, according to Sony.

Sony is offering a seven-day free trial of PlayStation Now when the subscription program launches.

PlayStation Now launched July 31 but is currently only in rental form. Supported devices include the PS3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV and some Sony televisions. PS3 games can be rented from the PlayStation Store in four different durations depending on the title, from four hours, a week, a month or up to a 90 day period. Many prices range from $1.99 to $19.99 depending on the game and rental length, but some do cost more.

Some of the games part of the PlayStation Now subscription like Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (2013), which retails for $19.99, costs $11.99 to rent for a month and $22.99 for 90 days. God of War: Ascension costs $7.99 for 30 days and $14.99 to rent for 90 days. Other rentals are priced higher than subscriptions of PlayStation Now, like the racing game F1 2013 that costs $6.99 to play for only four hours, $22.99 for a month and $49.99 for 90 days.

The other console game subscription service on the market is called EA Access from Electronic Arts, which is $4.99 for a month or $29.99 a year to play EA titles. The service launched in August and is only available on Xbox One. Unlike PlayStation Now, games are downloaded to the Xbox One console instead of streamed. It also has just seven games in its library, which includes Battlefield 4 (2013), Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (2014) and Madden NFL 25 (2013). The subscription also gives early access to game releases and a 10 percent discount for EA digital downloads on Xbox One.

A free PlayStation Now system theme will be available to download early this month for PS4 users. Anyone who downloads it before Jan. 31 is entered to win a one year PlayStation Now subscription.

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