Playstation Now seems to be Sony's answer to their fans for the lack of backwards compatibility on the PS4. Since they bought Gaikai (streaming technology) they have been promising that their game streaming service will be the next big thing and while most of the gaming community has remained optimistic about it (except some video game industry analysts), right now it doesn't look that appetizing and it is not because of technical issues, but because of the pricing showed for the Playstation Now beta.
The example that everybody is talking about is Final Fantasy XIII-2. As shown on some popular gaming pages, the pricing for been able to "rent" this game go as follows:
5 dollars for 4 hours of gaming
This is pretty much like paying 5 dollars for a long demo, sort of like the ones found on those classic "Jam pack" demo discs of the PS ONE days, not to mention that those discs could be found on retail stores for like a buck. Only that on this occasion the demo vanishes after 4 hours.
8 dollars for 7 days of gaming
It seems pretty fair if you consider playing the game non-stop for those 7 days like some sort of gaming pilgrimage (including the hand lotion for cramps and the magic bucket like in that south park episode).
15 dollars for 30 days of gaming
It seems like a good deal until you realize that some of these games can actually be bought for a similar price and nobody is going to take them from you after 30 days.
30 dollars for 90 days of gaming
Half the price of a new release for approximately 3 months of gaming. It is very likely that you will be able to finish the game before reaching that time (games are a lot shorter nowadays) and considering that this is an rpg, there not much replay value to talk about. So this is more like "ok I paid 30 dollars I must finish this game no matter what" and there will still be a lot of wasted time/value.
Wrapping things up
Now keep the game in mind as we see how much it would cost you to buy it online:
Ebay: 16-18 dollars
Amazon: 18 dollars
Gamestop: 15 dollars
This means that actually buying the game is 50% cheaper than renting it, which means that unless prices get a little more competitive, you are better off keeping your PS3. It is important to say that not all games will have the same rental fees, but if Final Fantasy XIII-2 is to be an example, this doesn't look so great. Hopefully Sony will implement some sort of subscription service and that will level the field and make it all worthwhile.There is also the possibility that these are just some test prices for the beta phase and it is subject to change for the official version, so don't count Sony's streaming service out just yet.