PlayStation Now, Sony's "Netflix for gaming" service that rolled out last year, hasn't changed dramatically since it launched. The company added a much-needed subscription option earlier this year to help fix the otherwise crazy pricing structure PS Now had for game rentals, but there otherwise hasn't been much in the way of updates to speak of. That changes today — a major user interface update has just been pushed out to PlayStation Now on the PS4. The update was included in last week's PS4 software update, but Sony is just now turning it on.
The old PS Now update was quite reminiscent of the design in Sony's PS Store on the PS3 and PS4, but the new design pulls a lot of visual cues from the PS Vue TV service that launched recently. The old PS Now interface featured some truly giant game tiles that only let you see a few options when you started the service up, but now there's a much more information-dense view. You'll see a set of featured games up top as well as recently added titles right below, and as you scroll down you'll see what's available in each genre of games PS Now features. From there, you can scroll horizontally to see all the games in that category.
If PS Now is going to be the Netflix of games, it'll need more games
It really does feel a lot like browsing Netflix — it's a much simpler and more streamlined interface than what existed before. There's really only three parts to it: the main grid view, a game's details, and then the screen that shows up when you actually launch a game. The game detail pages are much more visually interesting and modern-feeling, with huge artwork, nicely blurred backgrounds, and full-screen screenshots.
It's worth nothing that some of PS Now's somewhat confused history is still on display here — this new UI is available when you launch the PS Now app on the PS4, which only lets you try games if you're subscribed to the $19.99 monthly service. The rental aspect of PS Now is banished to the PS Store; it's confusing, but also probably for the best. The pricing for the rental model of PS Now remains completely broken, while the subscription service may offer enough value to find some traction. Sony just needs to keep adding more games — PS Now's subscription service has hovered around that 100 game mark for a long time now. And with the Xbox One's planned backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, PS Now is probably Sony's best tool at giving PS4 users similar capabilities.