I have been experimenting with the premium tier of PlayStation Plus which allows streaming a limited selection of PlayStation 3 and 4 games to a PC. This allows non PlayStation owners to experience some of the platform's highly regarded exclusives.
The up front cost involved the purchase of a second hand PS4 controller (€20) and a one month subscription to PlayStation Plus Premium (€16.99). The lower tiers of PlayStation Plus do not allow streaming. Although other controllers can be gotten to work the PS4 controller is highly recommended for maximum compatibility. Apparently even owners of newer PS5 controllers need hacks to get them running with the service.
For some reason the PS Plus app requires the controller to have a wired connection even though I can connect it to the PC via Bluetooth and Steam recognises it just fine via wireless. Google and Reddit sent me down several rabbit holes trying to get the wireless connection to work but in the end I gave up and just went with the wire. Another niggle is that the app seems determined to route sound through the controller whenever possible (it has an earphone socket). This caused confusion as to why there was no source until I figured out what was going on. Once I figured it out it was easy enough to select the correct sound output via Windows sound settings but it is a nuisance having to do this every time I run the app.
The app itself seems a lot more basic than Microsoft's Xbox. It just throws you into the list of games with very few settings or other features. However once I selected a game it loaded up pretty quickly and the streaming worked fine. I am on wifi but my connection is fairly solid 350 down, 50 up, Ping 10ms.
Using Ghost of Tsushima as my test game it appears to stream in full HD and I guess the framerate is 30fps. It feels smooth and playable and the visuals are what I would expect from a PS4 era game. Ghosts uses the additional touch pad on the PS4 controller so it is a good test game to make sure everything is working.
The selection of games feels smaller and less up to date than Microsoft's Game Pass service but there are some classics from the PS4 generation including Ghosts of Tsushima, Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West and The Last of Us remastered. It also has a good selection of classics from older generations especially PS3 games. You can play a bunch of older God of War and Ratchet and Clank games for example even though the more recent entries are not available.
As a PC gamer without a modern PlayStation I am pleased with what I have seen of the service so far. I do intend to try some of the platform exclusives during my one month subscription. Depending on how I get on I will either renew or let the sub lapse after that. The relatively basic app and its fussiness about controllers makes me think that PC gamers are not a key target for this service. It is just a bonus for PlayStation owners who might enjoy the added flexibility of playing some games on their PC. Nevertheless it does offer a rare opportunity for PC gamers to sample some otherwise exclusive games.