PlayStation owners will have their own version of Xbox Game Pass in June, kind of.
Sony said earlier this month that its PlayStation Plus subscription service will change on June 13 to incorporate its separate cloud gaming service, PS Now. Whether you just got a PS5 or are a long-time PS4 owner, here’s what you need to know about the service change.
Game subscriptions like PS Plus and Microsoft’s Game Pass offer a sizable library of games for a monthly fee. They can also get a bit confusing due to frequent changes in features and available games.
PS Plus is required to play many multiplayer games online, and subscribers get access to new games each month at no extra cost. The lesser-known PS Now is the originator of modern console cloud gaming, although it’s not up to snuff when compared to its newer competitors. Starting in June, the two will be known as just PS Plus, with one monthly fee.
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New PlayStation Plus
Essential tier: $10 a month, $60 per year; Extra tier: $15 a month, $100 per year; Premium tier: $18 a month, $120 per year
In June, Sony will overhaul PS Plus to be more competitive with Microsoft’s Game Pass. The revamped subscription service will come in three tiers.
Essential is the base tier for PS Plus at $10 a month, or $60 per year. This tier is largely the same as the old PS Plus and includes:
Two monthly downloadable gamesStore discountsCloud saves Online multiplayer
Current PS Plus subscribers will transition to this tier when the change happens in June.
Extra includes the benefits of the Essential tier while adding a catalog of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games available for downloading. The catalog will include first- and third-party games including Death Stranding, God of War, Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11 and Returnal. This tier will cost $15 a month, or $100 per year.
Premium will have the features of both tiers and add an additional 340 classic games to cloud stream from the PlayStation 1, PS2, PS3 and PSP. Current subscribers to PS Now will see their subscriptions automatically convert to the Premium tier when the new PS Plus goes into effect. There will also be time-limited game trials available for players to try some games out before they buy.
The Premium tier will cost $18 a month/$120 per year.
To compete with Xbox Live Gold, Sony created PS Plus in 2010 for the PlayStation 3. The subscription allowed for online multiplayer, discounts in the PSN Store, cloud saves and monthly extra games. Initially, PS Plus free games included PS3 and PSP titles. Eventually, it included Sony’s other devices such as the PS Vita, PS4 and most recently, the PS5. Extra games included with the subscription are only available while a PS Plus subscription is active. Stop paying, and you lose access to those games.
In June, current PS Plus subscribers will officially change to PS Plus Essential subscribers.
Cloud gaming may be hot right now with major players like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming beta, but it was Sony that first tried to make cloud gaming mainstream with PS Now in 2014. Earlier pioneers like OnLive and Gaikai (the latter eventually purchased by Sony) are now largely forgotten. More than 800 PS2, PS3, PS4 and PS5 games are available to stream or download on the PS4, PS5 or PC.
But lag remains a factor, like with other cloud gaming services. Game resolution has been recently updated from 720p to 1080p for some games, but that falls behind the 4K offered by Stadia. There’s also a lack of newer titles in its library. Even major titles published by Sony such as The Last of Us Part II aren’t on the service, nor is there any indication that they will be added. Those games that are added sometimes don’t stay in the library for that long, with some available on PS Now for as little as three months. On the plus side, many of the PS4 games on the service can be downloaded rather than streamed, and there’s a PC client for cloud gaming on computers as well.
PS Now will still be available up until June. When the PS Plus changes happen, PS Now subscribers will automatically convert to the Premium tier.
What will change in June if I prepaid both PS Plus and PS Now subscriptions?
For those who are subscribed to both services and prepaid for them, Sony will convert subscribers to PS Plus Premium with the expiration date being whichever of the two is the farthest out. This means a person subscribed to PS Now until December 2022 but to PS Plus to December 2023, the December 2023 will be the new expiration date for their PS Plus Premium subscription.
Can I extend my current subscriptions?
As of April 29, no. Sony says those with existing memberships won’t be able to redeem vouchers that could extend the expiration date of a service. Subscribers will have to wait until their service expires and deactivates or until the new PS Plus launches.
Should I sign up for PS Plus and PS Now or wait until June?
PS Plus will change in June, but there are deals still available for the service.