Back in 2014, Sony debuted a new, Netflix-like game streaming service dubbed PlayStation Now. The service was expensive, at $20 per month or $45 per three months, but it supported a wide range of hardware including televisions, Blu-ray players, the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation TV, the PlayStation Vita, all 2013 – 2015 Bravia TVs, and all Samsung television models. Strangely enough, PlayStation Now support for all of these devices will be turned off in August 2017, except for the 2016 Bravia televisions, which go offline on April 1. Why the latest televisions go offline four months before everyone else hasn’t been explained. When our own Grant Brunner reviewed the service in August of 2014, he came away impressed.
Here’s how Sony’s Brian Dunn, Senior Marketing Manager for PlayStation Now, describes the change:
After thoughtful consideration, we decided to shift our focus and resources to PS4 and Windows PC to further develop and improve the user experience on these two devices. This move puts us in the best position to grow the service even further…
If you do not wish to continue your subscription, please remember to disable auto-renewal in your account settings so that your subscription ends by April 1, 2017 on 2016 Sony Bravia TVs, and August 15, 2017 on all other devices. For 3 months subscribers, depending on when you joined the service, your subscription may auto-renew a month or two before the service discontinuation date if you do not turn it off.
The first thing to note is that despite canceling its service, Sony isn’t going to cancel your subscription. You’ll have to deal with that yourself. But the second is this argument that focusing on some platforms necessitates canceling service on all the others. Sony has been treating the PlayStation Vita like a third-rate also-ran for years (mostly because it has been, but Sony’s actions haven’t helped anything). That said, Sony’s blog post has comments from multiple readers indicating PlayStation Now support was a major factor in either their Vita purchase or in the type of TV they’d bought. Was it really so hard to support TVs and other devices that made such a big deal out of launching with your streaming service less than two years ago?
Evidently, yes. Vita gets even less useful thanks to this decision, since it’ll now be limited to Remote Play, and that requires a good local network and a local PS4. Sony claims that it wants to focus exclusively on the PS4 and PC, but there’s no word on any service expansions the company might be planning. We’d like to see Sony add PS2 or PS4 games to the service as well, though it’s unlikely to add PS4 titles when that console is still selling quite well.