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PlayStation Now will give new long tail to industry, says Sony

"It's like this breath of fresh air into a franchise," Sony's Jack Buser commented

PlayStation Now isn't making a huge splash currently the way VR is, but the continued growth of the cloud-based streaming service could have a noticeable impact on the overall business nonetheless, Jack Buser, Sony Computer Entertainment of America's senior director of PlayStation Now remarked to the [a]list daily. For Buser, what's so enticing about the cloud is that it's giving publishers an opportunity to generate further revenue from their catalogues.

"This...speaks to the lifecycle of the game in our industry. In the games industry, we've been very focused on the first few months after a game is released. Unlike our friends in the movie and music industries, there wasn't as much of a long tail for the game industry. I think PlayStation Now has an extremely interesting role to play as the lifecycle of the game industry matures," he commented.

"This gives publishers the chance to rejuvenate the ability of a title to generate revenue. When we release a title into the subscription, we create quite a bit of buzz around a title that may not have been advertised for a year or two, even three years in some cases. Now because it's coming into the subscription, gamers are talking about the title, they're curious about the title, and it's like this breath of fresh air into a franchise or even an individual title that previously was very difficult to do in this industry."

There are over 300 PS3 games on the PS Now currently, and Sony is continually adding more. Eventually other PlayStation platforms will be added to the streaming service, but even with just PS3 games, the platform has seen considerable growth in the last year.

"If you look at some of the engagement metrics recently on the service, you can see that users are highly engaged. Year over year, we've seen a 300 percent increase in PS Now users - this is largely due to the subscription being so compelling. If you look at usage per week, average usage is going to be about 4 hours, which is a very high engagement metric. If you look at it per session, we're looking at about 45 minutes a session, and for popular games over an hour. You can see that people are coming in, playing for very long sessions, and then they're playing multiple sessions per week to get to that very high average per week of four hours. That's where that new user experience becomes so important, because when you have such a large growth in your user base and they are so engaged in not just one but several games, it's important to give them a rich user interface to help them more easily transition to other games they might not have otherwise checked out," Buser added.

Sony is slowly but steadily adding other devices to support PS Now as well, most notably Smart TVs. Gaikai's chief product officer Robert Stevenson commented, "We think Samsung is a major step forward, it's a massive consumer electronics company that has huge market share at retail. We're already starting to see people coming in through the Samsung channel and playing through that, on top of the Sony Bravia users. We'll continue to do that kind of thing for the foreseeable future... And it's a consistent access and experience. The same 300+ games are available as rentals across all those devices, the same thing with subscriptions. This is really a new way of thinking in terms of videogames. You can step through your day playing on a console, playing on a television, playing on your Vita, you can have multiple touch points but still experience the same great games with no limitations."

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.