User experience and app interface needs a complete overhaul
Questionable connection stability and lack of troubleshooting tools to fix it
At the end of the day, PlayStation Plus on PC is a paid service running through a poorly run app that sometimes lets you play amazing games. Unfortunately, it still feels like the service is in beta and has serious issues to fix. If he can overcome these problems, he will have a lot to offer.
Price when reviewing
Best Prices Today: Playstation Plus
PlayStation users have had access to the PlayStation Plus service for quite some time, and now Sony is bringing its cloud gaming services to PC users as well. The entire PlayStation Plus service has been revamped recently and now provides access to a large and ever-growing catalog of games similar to Xbox Cloud Gaming. One of the new elements of this change was the addition of a subscription service called PlayStation Plus for PC, which gives subscribers access to Sony’s excellent library of games to stream directly to their PC.
PlayStation Plus on PC: the plans
Exclusively a feature of the PlayStation Plus Premium subscription at $17.99 per month, PlayStation Plus on PC is a component of the “Cloud Streaming” feature of the PlayStation Plus catalog. The rest of the benefits of a PlayStation Plus membership are playing and accessing games on PlayStation consoles, including access to online multiplayer on those consoles, monthly free games for subscribers, and more. For PC users, this is exclusively the PlayStation Plus component on PC Cloud Streaming.
PlayStation Plus on PC: Game Library
An oddly assorted list of games is available to stream to your PC through the PlayStation Plus app on PC, spanning the PS1 to PS4 eras, plus a few PSP titles. There are modern PS4 hits such as Spider-Man Miles Morales, Red Dead Redemption IIand Ghost of Tsushima right next to various older gems like dark cloud, Patapon 2and Final Fantasy IX.
The variety of games is both surprising and impressive. There are plenty of really amazing games included with this service, all available to stream on your PC, although there are some interesting shortcomings. For instance, Spider-Man Miles Morales is heavily featured in the service at the time of writing, but the predecessor game, Spider Manis not found. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is advertised in the app as a PlayStation Hit, but the rest of the Uncharted series looks notably absent given the age of some of the games available on the service. However, even trying to see what games are and aren’t available for streaming is an adventure in itself.
PlayStation Plus on PC: UX/interfaces
The overall user experience of signing up and using PlayStation Plus on PC is, frankly, pretty poor. When we were ready to dive into the research for this review, we had no trouble finding where to sign up and pay for PlayStation Plus on the web, but after that there was no clear navigation for access the PlayStation Plus service on PC.
Besides some account management options, there is simply no web portal or service menu for PlayStation Plus that we could find. Even when you’re signed in with an account that has an active PlayStation Plus subscription, the main PlayStation Plus website still has a button in the top right for you to join PlayStation Plus, a button that’s just below the your connected account.
Eventually, we found our way to a start page and a support article that identified that we needed to download and install the PlayStation Plus app. Upon launching the app, it asks for a date of birth and an email address, apparently like a signup form. There was a link under the birthday and email fields asking to log in if you already have a Sony account, as well as a button at the top right of the app’s menu bar.
We first logged in with the bottom link and the app loaded onto a PlayStation Plus splash screen, where it stayed for a few minutes. We thought the app crashed at this point because it didn’t seem to be doing anything, but after a few minutes the splash screen turned into a games library screen. However, the button at the top of the app still said “Login”, so we clicked that and went through the same login process with a slightly shorter wait at the splash screen before reaching the games library.
The PlayStation Plus app simply lists games in rows based on different categories, such as genre, remasters, and possibly alphabetical order once you scroll far enough. To navigate the rows laterally, you need to hover your mouse over the right and left sides of the row and it will start scrolling. The more you hover your mouse over the edge of the line, the faster it scrolls through that line. A controller icon in the top right next to the minimize button lets you browse the games library with a controller instead, losing the fast, smooth scrolling provided by mouse navigation.
That’s all there is for navigation. There doesn’t seem to be a search bar, genre filters, or even a single gallery where games can be browsed and sorted by genre or alphabetically. Alphabet rows are apparently based on number of sets per letter, which goes something like “AB” for one row, “CD” for the next, then “EG”, “HL”, and so on.
However, the gender classifications and the actual alphabetical rows are apparently incorrect or incomplete. FIA World Rally Championship WRC 10, a car rally game, is in the “Sports” category, but not in the “Driving and Racing” category. However, games like slime breeder are in multiple categories, so listing a game multiple times is out of the question. The games in these non-alphabetic category rows are also not sorted alphabetically, or in any other seemingly logical way.
Also, the alphabet lines do not include games listed under “PS3”, “Remasters”, and “PSP, PlayStation, and PS2” categories, but some games like Final Fantasy VII are described as PS4 games and appear in the corresponding alphabetical line. In short, if you’re looking for a specific game to play on PlayStation Plus on PC, you might have to scroll down each line to see if it’s there.
Once you have found the game you wish to play, all you have to do is click on its thumbnail which will then open additional details about the game. Interestingly, the “Learn more” part of these details includes descriptions about the games part of the now defunct PlayStation Now service, which was shut down and replaced by PlayStation Plus on PC this year.
Inside these game details screens there is a “Start” box to launch the game. This opens a new application window where the game is loaded to be played with your connected controller. In our testing, this window does not automatically appear in the front of your desktop view, so the main application window and any other windows you have open will initially interfere with your gameplay.
If you’re not using a PS4 controller on your PC, you’ll receive a set of instructions and warnings when you load a game, noting which functions aren’t compatible and how the button labels don’t match. Otherwise, your PS4 controller will act the same as on a PlayStation 4 console.
PlayStation Plus on PC: Gaming Performance
Our tests of the games were both very impressive and disappointing. In our tests, our typical connection speed was around 445 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up on a wired connection in the central US. Despite exceeding Sony’s recommended minimum connection speed of 5 Mbps, our games were fairly frequently hit by random periods of lag, including in-app notifications about an unstable connection. There are no diagnostic tools or other information to help identify the cause of these connection issues, and external tools did not report any general connectivity issues on our internet connection. However, even when the game feels smooth, we noticed noticeable input lag periods – the time between when a button is pressed on the controller and when the game we’re playing shows us the response to that input. .
During these stable periods, the visual aspects of games look exceptional, even when scaled to a 4K display. The sound quality matched the visuals, sounding no different than if we were playing these games locally on a console. Usually that was enough to keep us immersed in whatever game we were playing until we got a bunch of visual compression artifacts before the app gave the “unstable connection” notification.
We tested with a PS4 and Xbox One controller, and both worked without too many issues. There have been times when a PS4 game would want to use the center touchpad, which the Xbox controller can’t replicate, but the app warns you of this risk every time you launch a game without a PS4 controller detected. . We’re missing mouse and keyboard support for some titles we knew natively on PC, and with more PlayStation exclusives getting PC releases, it’s worth the call.
PlayStation Plus on PC: Conclusion
PlayStation Plus on PC feels like a beta program exclusively tied to a premium membership and the premium user experience just isn’t there. While the game library is unique and exciting, finding the game you want to play is a much bigger struggle than it has any right to be by today’s standards.