Sony is hoping that its ever-developing game streaming service PlayStation Now will slow down the rapid turnover of titles in the industry.
The service was recently updated with a new look, designed to make the catalogue's 125-plus titles easier to discover for users, plus new categories and themed sections.
Speaking to [a]listdaily, senior director for the service Jack Buser expressed hope that players being able to stream games of days gone by would help titles extend their value for publishers.
"[PlayStation Now] speaks to the lifecycle of the game in our industry,” he said.
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.
"[It] 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."
While uptake of the platform was initially slow, passing through various beta and invitation-only phases, it seems that streaming titles is quickly becoming a hot desire for gamers.
"If you look at some of the engagement metrics recently on the service, you can see that users are highly engaged,” explained Buser.
Year over year, we've seen a 300 per cent 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 four 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.”