Late last year, it was reported that Sony had taken a long, hard look at Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service and thought “yeah, I’d like a slice of that delicious subscription pie, please”.
Now, VentureBeat’s GamesBeat claims the service (likely for PS4 and PS5) is entering its testing phase in the “next few weeks” and it’s possible that a formal announcement will be made as early as next month depending on how well said tests go. Whether or not it’s announcement is imminent, the site has some details on the three pricing tiers planned, and what you’ll get for your hard-earned dollars.
The first tier is called “PS+ Essential”, which is a funny word for something that’s, ultimately, unessential. In any case, it’s basically what PlayStation Plus is now: which presumably means access to multiplayer, store discounts and a couple of free games that can be added to your library and played for as long as you maintain the subscription. It’ll set you back US$10 or around NZ$15.
Next up is “PS+ Extra”, which is — you guessed it — the same, but with a little extra. In this case, the extra in question is a library of “hundreds of older, downloadable games.” GamesBeat speculates that this is just going to be the downloadable games catalogue from PS Now under new branding. This will cost US$13, or around NZ$19.
But like a fast food vendor encouraging you to get the large soda, Sony would rather you paid US$3 more for “PS+ Premium.” The NZ$24 offering features all of the above along with the streaming titles from PS Now, a library of “classic games” and something called “game trials” that will allow you to download and start playing new releases ahead of time like an extended demo. GamesBeat reckons this will have a time limited feature, meaning you can play for a few hours and then Sony will tap you up for cash to play the full unlocked version once you’re hooked.
Thad all sounds pretty promising, though it really depends how half heartedly Sony does it.
With Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is all in: all first-party releases, even the high-profile ones, are included as part of the subscription cost on day one, something that PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has previously said isn’t sustainable. Perhaps that’s still his view, or maybe the fact that Microsoft appears to think nothing of paying 17 times what Disney paid for Lucasfilms on Activision has changed his mind.
Regardless, it’s generally good news for gamers. Though, personally I’ve found the tyranny of choice makes Xbox Games Pass’ exceptional value a bit of a mixed blessing. No doubt lots of exceptional games don’t get a fair shake of the stick when you haven’t got a sunk cost to work with. But if you’ve got the time to enjoy gaming as a pick n mix rather than a full a la carte menu, it’s definitely all pros and no cons.