The month was September 2018 and Sony had just announced their PlayStation streaming service now would allow “almost all” PS4 games to be downloaded to your console and played natively instead of relying on a constant internet connection. Almost three years later, the era redesign has lived up to that promise – just about any PS4 game that is part of PS Now can be both streamed or downloaded. The former has always been at the heart of what makes the service work (although most subscribers don’t use the option), but following the current line of PS4 game additions, do we have the first title to completely abandon the feature?
Red Dead Redemption 2 will be part of the service “exclusively via PS4 / PS5 download” until November 1, 2021. We have to assume that this is the result of the deal that Sony managed to make with Rockstar in order to bring the Western epic at PS Now, but it’s interesting to see the service evolve to the point where one of its early titles doesn’t even offer the functionality it was originally built on.
When Grand Theft Auto V was added to PS Now in October 2019 before later leaving the service, GTA Online and the Rockstar Games Social Club were not available in the streaming version. This downside was then updated to include streamers, with the PlayStation blog updated to say, “Online features are now available for the streaming version of Grand Theft Auto V. However, Diamond Casino mode does not. is currently only available in the downloaded version. Would the fact that Red Dead Redemption 2 can only be played through PS Now by downloading it have anything to do with Red Dead Online, then? This is possible given what has happened before with GTA 5.
It’s something we think you shouldn’t read too much about in terms of the future of the service, but it’s an interesting development given the history of PS Now. We think subscribers will be happy it isn’t the other way around, however – only being able to stream Red Dead Redemption 2 may have been criticized.