Playstation Now: Technical Analysis On PC & Console. Is streaming the future? | NX Gamer

Equanimity

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,725
London
In a 2 part video series I take a in-depth look at game on demand service with the biggest so far in PSNOW. With PC and console options I test the best it has to offer and compare all the platforms and options. From speed, input, IQ, Performance and how it works and just what you can expect. Part 1 is ready now with Part 2 coming for my Patrons soon and to follow shortly for all.

Is Games on Demand really ready for prime-time and what is the hidden cost of Cloud gaming?
 

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,705
Thanks for sharing, bookmarking for viewing this in a bit.

Really interested to see how these complementary services are enhanced with the next gen. Also, wouldn't mind at all if Sony starts adding marquee first party titles at or near release starting with PS5.
 

zombiejames

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,295
Oh nice, I was looking for a more modern look at the service the other day. Seemed like most reviews are from 2-3+ years ago.
 

Vashetti

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,730
I'll be interested to see how long it takes them to figure out PS3 BC, it's an inevitability. They can't keep production lines open to replace those PS3 server blades when they fail.
 

Patitoloco

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,530
I'll be interested to see how long it takes them to figure out PS3 BC, it's an inevitability. They can't keep production lines open to replace those PS3 server blades when they fail.
While I hope you're right, I'm 100% sure they have a PS3 BC system already working internally. The thing is that I don't think it's something they can use in consoles because of the power.
 

c0de

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,480
So basically this is still streaming 720p30, no matter how much higher or better the source material is. This is just not right in 2019 but they know that and we know that they are going to use azure in the future. Until then, well, it works but IQ is just bad in my opinion.
 

zombiejames

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,295
So basically this is still streaming 720p30, no matter how much higher or better the source material is. This is just not right in 2019 but they know that and we know that they are going to use azure in the future. Until then, well, it works but IQ is just bad in my opinion.
720p60.

Things will improve once they switch to HEVC.
 

TitanicFall

Member
Nov 12, 2017
3,193
For select games or generally?
HEVC might become an option but will lock out PS4 and Vita as clients.
IQ is definitely the worst thing about it right now, as well as latency.
PSNow isn't supported on Vita anymore. If you're talking about Remote Play, then nothing will change. And it really doesn't matter for PS4 because you wouldn't stream a PS4 game to a PS4, or at least you shouldn't. You'd only be streaming PS3 games so it still going to be 720p anyway because very few games exceeded 720p last gen.
 

c0de

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,480
PSNow isn't supported on Vita anymore. If you're talking about Remote Play, then nothing will change. And it really doesn't matter for PS4 because you wouldn't stream a PS4 game to a PS4, or at least you shouldn't. You'd only be streaming PS3 games so it still going to be 720p anyway because very few games exceeded 720p last gen.
I didn't know Vita was already removed.
Regarding PS4 as a client: I guess one way to make the service attractive would be the possibility to stream also PS5 games. For streaming PS4 games to PS4: why not? If the game is part of the subscription and you don't want to waste bandwidth on the full game download, it's definitely an option.
 

uncelestial

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,545
San Francisco, CA, USA
Stupid question perhaps but why not offer an uncompressed option and bypass using codecs entirely? I have fiber internet and unlimited data. The lag and image softness inherent in encoding is irritating when you have the bandwidth for something better.

Or, how about using lossless (png-based) encoding?

Bandwidth is the easiest variable to solve here so having a "bandwidth doesn't matter" option makes sense to me
 

Youngfossil

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,911
Stupid question perhaps but why not offer an uncompressed option and bypass using codecs entirety? I have fiber internet and unlimited data. The lag and image softness inherent in encoding is irritating when you have the bandwidth for something better.

Or, how about using lossless (png-based) encoding?
To save bandwidth on their end
 
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Equanimity

Equanimity

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,725
London
Thanks for sharing, bookmarking for viewing this in a bit.

Really interested to see how these complementary services are enhanced with the next gen. Also, wouldn't mind at all if Sony starts adding marquee first party titles at or near release starting with PS5.
You're welcome.

Summary would be nice.
Hopefully someone can summarise it for you.

Can you test the streaming quality on PC prior to subscribe?
Nope. But you can do a simple test to see if your internet is good enough to support videogame streaming.
 

sangreal

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,677
Stupid question perhaps but why not offer an uncompressed option and bypass using codecs entirely? I have fiber internet and unlimited data. The lag and image softness inherent in encoding is irritating when you have the bandwidth for something better.

Or, how about using lossless (png-based) encoding?

Bandwidth is the easiest variable to solve here so having a "bandwidth doesn't matter" option makes sense to me
uncompressed HD/4K video alone requires several gigabits a second. It's not realistic and would cost them a lot more money
 

uncelestial

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,545
San Francisco, CA, USA
uncompressed HD/4K video alone requires several gigabits a second. It's not realistic and would cost them a lot more money
4K isn't even going to happen with codecs anytime soon, but for 720p? 24 × 1280 × 720 × 60 = 1.33 Gb totally uncompressed. Just within reach of Fiber. I bet you $10 people would prefer an uncompressed 720p image with less lag to a compressed 1080p picture with lag.

Meanwhile, png compression is 11.2:1 on average. So at a minimum we should not be dealing with image softness.

I realize it "costs them" money, but those costs could be passed on to customers.
 

TheKeyPit

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
2,747
Germany
Yes. If a games requires motion control or the touchpad then you’re out of luck but other than that, yeah, it’s supported just fine.
Care to list the games that wouldn't work with an Xbox One Controller?

I dusted off my ten year old PS account that I only created to reserve my name back then, and I'm thinking of trying out PS Now on PC for God of War and Uncharted. Is Windows 8 okay?

Is there a PS Now OT?
 

TitanicFall

Member
Nov 12, 2017
3,193
I didn't know Vita was already removed.
Regarding PS4 as a client: I guess one way to make the service attractive would be the possibility to stream also PS5 games. For streaming PS4 games to PS4: why not? If the game is part of the subscription and you don't want to waste bandwidth on the full game download, it's definitely an option.
In any case, a switch to HVEC doesn't mean it replaces the old encoding methods. When you stream a 4k movie from someplace like Amazon or Netflix, you get the HVEC encoding if your TV supports it. If your TV doesn't support it you still get to watch the movie, it's just not at 4k resolution.
 

ghostcrew

Spooking
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
9,995
United Kingdom
Care to list the games that wouldn't work with an Xbox One Controller?

I dusted off my ten year old PS account that I only created to reserve my name back then, and I'm thinking of trying out PS Now on PC for God of War and Uncharted. Is Windows 8 okay?

Is there a PS Now OT?
There is indeed a PS Now OT!

I know that Uncharted 4 has some touchpad required thing near the start. PC players have got around it by using third party apps to hotkey the touchpad to other buttons. Haven’t done it myself as I have DualShocks.

I think you’d be fine with God of War?
 

Firefly

Member
Jul 10, 2018
1,750
Can't watch the video right now does he measure the input lag compared to local play?
 

Vintage

Member
Oct 27, 2017
654
Europe
I'm currently playing God of War on PSNow. It's not available in my country, but I selected different region that's ~7000km away from me.

The game is absolutely playable, but obviously, not optimal experience. The connection is stable throughout, no hitches or anything, IQ is very good, only shimmering can be seen in intense action scenes, but it's not noticeable because everything's moving very fast.
The biggest drawback is, obviously, input lag. It's absolutely there, especially in menus where no animation can hide the latency. However, the game was very playable and after 30 mins or so I got used to it and didn't mind at all. I've played a few games locally that had input lag almost as bad.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised, especially without a server being near me. Excited to try Stadia and XCloud when these come out.
 

Defect

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,308
I thought PSNow required a DS4 on PC? Guess people have found a way around this?
DS4 is not required but some games require the use of touchpad or motion controls so an Xbox controller won’t work for that since there is no remapping on the app. But there is a program that was posted in the PSNow OT that allows you to remap the touchpad to any button on an Xbox controller.

Just beat God of War last night with my Elite controller and had no issues.
 
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Equanimity

Equanimity

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,725
London
DS4 is not required but some games require the use of touchpad or motion controls so an Xbox controller won’t work for that since there is no remapping on the app. But there is a program that was posted in the PSNow OT that allows you to remap the touchpad to any button on an Xbox controller.

Just beat God of War last night with my Elite controller and had no issues.
Ah, my bad. I got DS4 info from the recent Podcast Beyond, will double check in the future.
 

gofreak

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,064
This is just not right in 2019 but they know that and we know that they are going to use azure in the future. Until then, well, it works but IQ is just bad in my opinion.
1080p is on the roadmap ahead of any Azure leverage, so I don't think the two are coupled. I guess that will be available this year or early next.
 

Eoin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,886
What are the timelines for Azure and the introduction of 1080p streaming?
There is no timeline for Azure. The majority of people talking about Sony and Azure don't understand it. Sony and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which is an agreement to explore what kind of benefits there would be in PlayStation Now moving to Azure. There isn't a contract for Sony to move to Azure, and there isn't a guarantee that anything will actually happen.

There's no specific timeline for 1080p, other than it's happening. Pre-PS5 would seem like a safe bet since it'd be weird if their streaming subscription service on their shiny new flagship console was still 720p.
 

Adryuu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,270
I tried it this summer and input lag wasn't that bad to me (both on ps4 and pc, both plugged by Ethernet to my router). I played both 60 and 30 fps games. Could play MG Rising and MKX no problem, and also finished Asuras Wrath that has strange controls anyway. I suspect games with ugly input lag by default will be awkward though, like Prey or Rise of the tomb raider.


I'm currently playing God of War on PSNow. It's not available in my country, but I selected different region that's ~7000km away from me.

The game is absolutely playable, but obviously, not optimal experience. The connection is stable throughout, no hitches or anything, IQ is very good, only shimmering can be seen in intense action scenes, but it's not noticeable because everything's moving very fast.
The biggest drawback is, obviously, input lag. It's absolutely there, especially in menus where no animation can hide the latency. However, the game was very playable and after 30 mins or so I got used to it and didn't mind at all. I've played a few games locally that had input lag almost as bad.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised, especially without a server being near me. Excited to try Stadia and XCloud when these come out.
Graphical options weren't available, right? Like performance mode. Servers are base ps4 still, right?

I'd play GoW in 720p if it was 60 fps. And Shadow of the Colossus. But anyway I already used my free trial.
 

Vintage

Member
Oct 27, 2017
654
Europe
Graphical options weren't available, right? Like performance mode. Servers are base ps4 still, right?

I'd play GoW in 720p if it was 60 fps. And Shadow of the Colossus. But anyway I already used my free trial.
I didn't look for them, does the game have 60fps option? Coming from PC, 30 fps felt like garbage. Probably it's the stream also adding stutters, but it does not feel smooth.
 

Adryuu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,270
I didn't look for them, does the game have 60fps option? Coming from PC, 30 fps felt like garbage. Probably it's the stream also adding stutters, but it does not feel smooth.
Don't know if it's really 60 but there's a performance mode on PS4 Pro. Shadow of the Colossus too, I think they're the two only first party games with that option.

I played on regular ps4 and performance, while it's 30, seemed quite fine to me already, no hiccups. But yeah it's 30 (I'm used to it).

The thing is, I think psnow streams the regular ps4 versions and I'm not sure for how long that will make sense while there's enhanced performance modes for 1080p or supersampling or whatever, once the stream hits 1080p.
 
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furfoot

Member
Dec 12, 2017
98
My current impressions with streaming (I am extremely nit picky when it comes to performance and I live 10 minutes away from the Amsterdam Exchange where most services host their datacenters.):

Geforce NOW: Very interesting concept where you have access to most of the PC library on mid range hardware.
Too much stuttering and very inconsistent with its performance. The hardware used hasn't been updated in a long time and it shows.

Playstation NOW: Stream IQ is just too low with the exception being when using native support for local GPU acceleration. There is a very big problem with frametimes when using acceleration though bordering on unplayable with lots of bouts of stuttering. As it's streaming at 30 fps the input lag is just about bearable but I wouldn't try any competitive gaming or fighting games.

Steam Link: Streams the desktop at 30 FPS with huge frametime issues so practically useless for anything not using Steam overlay. Very game/engine dependant on whether you will see smooth frametime delivery or not.

Nvidia Gamestream (Moonlight): So far the best experience by far but also requires you to know how to configure the game properly and use framerate limiters. Also does not play well with internet and RTSP is rather annoying to deal with.
 

Paragraf

Member
May 31, 2019
418
Russia
Shame it didn't become available in more countries, considering big marketing push. MGS 4 is so close yet so far.
 

toad02

Member
Oct 10, 2018
280
My 7 day free trials ends up tomorrow and I've already decided I will sign up.
Streaming works great and the catalog is pretty good to me.
Funny thing is that I live in Poland, where the service is not available yet, but my main account is from the US, so I was able to use it.
The servers I am connecting to are probably German or something.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,707
Finally got around to this. Pretty good breakdown. I hope he's right about having a PS 1 through 5 catalog on there. I took a look at the offerings recently, and there was a paltry number of PS2 games.
 

addik

Member
Oct 28, 2017
333
Wish I could try it out. Hopefully Sony will open it up for more countries.
Just a note on this. You can actually purchase a PS Now pass from a country that has it. I bought a month from Amazon just to try things out and it actually works.

Problem is latency because, well, the servers are pretty far from my country (Philippines). That said, I was able to play Katamari and I'm going through Siren: Blood Curse and Rain now. There are some major slowdowns at points, during peak hours here, but I have a hunch that connecting online via LAN instead if Wifi might actually fix these (since our internet does a steady 75 Mbps so it's above the minimum).