Thanks to half dozen Bloomberg stories, we’ve heard that Sony was going to be revealing its new PlayStation Plus subscription service overhaul any day now, and that day is today. Sony has published the details of the new three-tier service that merges PS Plus and PS Now, and it turned out we know most of those details already too, thanks to the leaks.
The bad news up front, none of the tiers contain day one releases of Sony’s first party games, which would echo Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass strategy. And yet the monthly prices are…comparable.
So, here’s where we’ve landed in terms of what’s being offered:
Tier 1 – PS Plus Essential ($9.99 a month, $59.99 a year)
This is effectively the same as the current PS Plus subscription in every way:
- Two monthly free games
- Exclusive discounts
- cloud storage
- online multiplayer
Tier 2 – PS Plus Extra ($14.99 a month, $99.99 a year)
- Everything from the Essential tier
- A catalog of 400 PS4 and PS5 games, though again, not day one releases.
Tier 3 – PS Plus Premium ($17.99 a month, $119.99 a year)
- In addition to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 benefits, this final tier offers 340 more games which include PS3 titles you can cloud stream, and classic games from PS1, PS2 and PSP. Cloud streaming will work where available under current PS Now setup.
- Time-limited game trials will be in this tier so players can try before they buy.
This grand rebrand rollout is supposed to be in most PlayStation regions by the end of the first half of 2022, though no specific dates are given yet.
This will no doubt be fuel for console wars fodder given that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $14.99 with its day one releases and cross-PC functionality, while that’s just Tier 2 of PS Plus now, and there’s a more pricey tier after that which still doesn’t contain that. Again, from all the rumors we heard about PlayStation Spartacus before this, it always seemed more like a reshuffling of PS Now and PS Plus so it was less confusing to have to parallel services, and I think it at least achieves that end. What it does not achieve is creating something as attractive as Xbox Game Pass, but it is no surprise that Sony does not want to give up its never-ending parade of huge first party sales for all its top series. The market could force their hand someday, but today is not that day.
I mean all of this sounds okay, I guess. A large library of free games is good and this will probably attract more people than PS Now did on its own. But pardon me if I can’t get too excited about game demoes as a tier 3 feature, which frankly should just exist for free from developers in the first place.
We’ll see what the reaction is to this online, but it doesn’t really seem like that much of a leap forward for PlayStation, more of just a reorganization. Sony does not need to offer everything Xbox Game Pass does because of how strong the PlayStation brand is, along with its string of first-party must-have releases. But will that last forever? I guess we’ll have to see.
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