PlayStation Plus Streaming Review

PlayStation Plus

Streaming games through PlayStation Plus is an exercise in patience, passion and desperation. But the end result is still compelling. What Sony provides through their online platform is more tantalizing than perhaps any other cloud service. But among cloud services, this one is also the most needlessly confusing. Given the general movement of all the gaming giants towards cloud gaming, it makes sense to revisit their progress regularly. And, since this is a platform of sorts, breaking down the various aspects is necessary. For this review we will go into detail over the library, overall accessibility, and of course the quality of the play experience that Sony offers through PlayStation Plus Premium.


In Short, it’s amazing. But, it is also not nearly as amazing as it could be. Sony’s offering here is a great big bag of third-party games from all the major publishers, plus some of the greatest first party titles Sony has ever made. Many cloud services will headline their library with a couple of classic AAA games to entice new customers. If Sony did that, you would be scrolling through AAA releases for ten minutes before getting to the indies. There’s a ton of amazing games on offer. At the time of writing, PS Plus has a collection of 5 Final Fantasy’s, 9 Lego adventure games, and 8 Assassin’s Creeds. To list more franchises would be to just scratch the surface. There are more high quality games to play here than you will ever have time for.

PlayStation Plus Games
PlayStation Plus Games

Yet for the strength of third party offerings, some inclusions and exclusions are just baffling. There are two Harvest Moon games available to stream, but neither of those are the PS2 offerings, which are higher rated, more fondly remembered, and readily available to download on PlayStation Consoles-for free with PS Plus. Yet they aren’t available to stream? Mafia 1 and 2 are available to stream, but not Mafia 3, which is also available to download on PlayStation consoles with the subscription. I can stream Deathloop on Xbox Cloud Gaming, but I can’t Stream it on PS Plus, even though its available to download for free as a subscriber.

What Sony is doing here seems to be deliberately choosing what games to make exclusive to physical console owners and which games to make exclusive to the cloud. It is a strategy that is frankly senseless, and frustrating even as a PS5 owner. That some of the most well-loved games on Sony platforms are locked down to physical consoles suggests that Sony is arbitrarily stifling their cloud services to pressure consumers toward console purchases. It is the kind of tactic that is employed by old, dried-up leadership that can think of no other clever ways to innovate with their products than to make it as hard as possible to enjoy them in any way except the most expensive way possible.

If this is indeed the case, it’s a baffling lack of direction and ambition from a platform that has clearly gotten used to being #1 in the industry. That even first party games can be downloaded to a PlayStation system (or even purchased on a PC) but can’t be streamed despite being a part of the same subscription service, seems to amount to nothing more than greed and/or laziness. I spent several hours in preparation of this review going back and forth from my PlayStation to my PC, comparing titles that were available on PlayStation with PS Plus, but not available to Stream on PC. Sony has published a list of games on its website, but there is no clear messaging about what is available to you as a subscriber if you don’t have a console. The messaging is clear: Console owners eat like kings. But if you don’t have a PS5, you’re getting the table scraps.

While these apparent tactics are regrettable, it is necessary to defend that there are still a ton of great titles here. Thankfully, almost every major first party franchise has games available to play. The breadth of Sony’s history comes to bare here, and the true value of the service becomes clear. If you only streamed first party games, you would still have more games to play than you could ever reasonably finish. There are so many masterpiece titles that picking which one to play is almost overwhelming. Spider Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Bloodborne are among the greatest games of their generation, and they’re not even the best of what’s here. Patapon, Ico, Dark Cloud and Ape Escape are beautiful, unique experiences that are never going to show up on other platforms. Going through the list, it’s difficult to not be floored by 20 years of exclusives suddenly being at your fingertips.

Yet, again, despite the accessibility that we now have to these lost games, some titles that would seem obvious are nowhere to be found. You can stream the full range of the Sly Cooper games, every Infamous title, 5 God of War games and 5 Ratchet and Clank games, and yet not a single title from the Jak and Daxter trilogy is here, despite it being playable natively on console. Uncharted 4 is here, but not the Nathan Drake Collection, which is available to Essential subscribers at half the cost-if they own a PS5. Bloodborne is here, but not Demon’s Souls. So your favorite franchise is likely here in some form, but there’s a good chance that at least one game from the series will be missing.

PlayStation Plus Extra Games
PlayStation Plus Extra Games

The service also seems to have a strong bias against certain platforms. The service could be held up on its own by the hundreds of PS3 titles, yet there are fewer than twenty PS2 titles, even though they’re natively compatible with modern PlayStation hardware. PS One titles are only now becoming available, but there are less than a dozen at the time of writing. This is to say nothing of PSP, Vita, or PS5 games. Sony has dozens of exclusives that are still locked away on old hardware. Since they’re adding titles to the service every month, it’s to be expected that we see these one day. However, the first few months of PlayStation Plus have only given us one or two PS One titles at a time. Seeing an old favorite eventually show up could seemingly take years, if it ever happens at all. Sony has so much untapped potential here that its almost maddening.

To summarize, there’s an outstanding library here. But the library could be even better if Sony cared about having consistency in its subscription services. For now, it’s still the best offering of any streaming service currently available and well worth the asking price. But, it must be said: if you don’t own a PS5, you’re getting half the value.


Unfortunately, streaming is only available on PS4s, PS5s and Windows PCs. You won’t be playing on your Mac, in your browser or on your phone or tablet. You also won’t be playing on a Smart TV or platform like AndroidTV, FireTV or Roku.

And… many people don’t know that you can stream PS Plus on your PC, and it would seem that Sony prefers it that way. The download link to install the PS Plus client is buried in an instructional FAQ article on Sony’s website, with no indications other than a blue-text hyperlink. After my first installation of the program, I couldn’t log in to my PlayStation account, though I was able to get it working after a re-installation and some fiddling.

The UI exists and that’s about it. The games are loosely organized by genre, but I would discourage browsing that way since a game could be under the Action section but its sequel is only in the Adventure category. No, I’m not joking. You’re better off searching alphabetically. But you’ll need to scroll down to the respective letter that your game starts with because the PC app doesn’t have search functionality. The PS5 does though. Why don’t you just buy one of those? (sarcasm)

Loading times are understandably bad, but still inexcusable. When you start up a game, you’ll see hints of the respective PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 UI’s as the game boots. This suggests you’re playing with actual PS4 and PS3 hardware (or via SW emulation) that are running in a server room somewhere. So, the loading times for the same game on any other cloud services would be a fraction of what they are here. As an example, Batman Arkham Knight is available on both PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass. It loads in 25 seconds on PS Plus, while it only takes 8 seconds on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Every game on here loads slowly, but the PS3 games load notoriously slow – coupled with the sluggish UI of the PS3 being displayed when you start up a game as the system searches for a save file. It’s nostalgic the first time you see it. On the second time, you’ll be thankful we live in an era where solid-state drives are standard. At least, they’re standard in PS5’s. Again, Sony wants to know why haven’t you bought one yet?

If it seems like I’m harping on Sony, it’s because I am. I’ve owned every PlayStation console on the year of its release. I have never bought a single Xbox in my life. Yet, for the quality that is being displayed here, I cannot recommend PlayStation Plus over Game Pass. It’s not because Game Pass has better games. It’s because Game Pass is infinitely easier to use. Sony’s execution of cloud gaming is simply lazy and that is so baffling when the company has been doing cloud gaming longer than any single competitor in the industry. After ten years of promises, cloud gaming took off in 2020. Two years later, Sony has somehow managed to become the least relevant player with the most experience. Even Nintendo is making more efforts in this arena. And, when Nintendo is further along in technology than Sony, you know you’ve landed in the wrong dimension.


Once you get on PlayStation Plus streaming, you’re generally going to have a good experience. I remember trying PS Now a few years ago and was moderately satisfied with performance. Today, I would readily compare the quality to that of Game Pass. Cloud gaming still has room for improvements. I still see occasional frame skips, I still see occasionally muddy textures and I still have random internet issues that are typical of a home in the U.S. But, by and large, its a perfectly competent solution for enjoying games. It’s worth mentioning that many old PS1 and PS2 games have been buttered up to look better, but PS3 games are completely untouched. In a strange way, the PS3 library (which makes up the bulk of the games) are actually the worst looking of the lot, as many run at resolutions less than 1080p in order to achieve a good framerate on the native system. In that way, other cloud services are likely going to give you higher frame rates and higher resolutions.


PlayStation Plus Classic Game
PlayStation Plus has the Classics

The closest competition to Sony is Microsoft. If I had to recommend one over the other, I would pick Xbox Cloud Gaming. With cleaner UI, search functionality, upscaled resolutions, faster load times and the ability to play on phones, Xbox is both simpler and a better package. But there is one caveat! Even if the competition has better “specs” the most important point must be reiterated: that the PS Plus library consists of some of the greatest games ever made. It’s not the prettiest, the cheapest, or the best performing, but it is undoubtedly a lot of fun.


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