Sony has officially revealed its revamped PlayStation Plus subscription service, essentially combining the best parts of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into one tidy package. It’s split into three tiers – Essential, Extra and Premium – with each offering a slightly different experience. The question is, is it enough to compete with Microsoft’s popular Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription?
We outline all you need to know about the new redesigned PlayStation Plus service – the Xbox Game Pass competitor – right here, including release date, pricing, and what each new tier will provide.
When will the new PlayStation Plus be released?
As predicted, Sony revealed the new revamped PlayStation Plus service on 29 March 2022, but there’s a catch. While Sony confirmed that the service is coming, it’s not due to be released until sometime in June 2022, with a specific release date for PS4, PS5 and PC players yet to be announced.
We’ll update this section with more information as it becomes available.
How much will the new PlayStation Plus cost?
As rumoured prior to launch, Sony’s new PlayStation Plus service is split into three tiers.
That starts with Essential, which is essentially the equivalent to PS Plus as it currently stands, and as such, it’ll cost the same at £6.99/$9.99 per month or £49.99/$59.99 per year.
The next step up is the Extra plan, which will cost £10.99/$14.99 per month or £83.99/$99.99 per year, and nets you a library of PS4 and PS5 titles available to download.
For those that want the ultimate PlayStation Plus experience, the Premium tier is the one to go for. Essentially a combination of PS Plus and PS Now with cloud functionality, it comes in slightly cheaper than the current combined prices for the services at £13.49/$17.99 per month and £99.99/$119.99 per year.
Latest PlayStation Game Pass equivalent rumours
So, what will the new PlayStation Plus subscription offer that’ll allow it to better compete with the popular Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service?
As mentioned, the new service is split into three tiers – Essential, Extra and Premium – ranging from a package that’s essentially PlayStation Plus as we know it currently to a combination of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now with cloud gaming capabilities.
PlayStation Plus Essential
PlayStation Plus Essential is the entry-level tier to Sony’s new subscription service and, for the most part, it’s essentially PlayStation Plus as we know it – but there is one key downgrade that Sony failed to mention during its reveal.
While you’ll still get access to online multiplayer, exclusive discounts and cloud storage for game save files, you’ll only get two free games per month instead of the three games currently offered.
It’s also the tier that existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will be automatically moved to at launch in June.
PlayStation Plus Extra
The next step up in Sony’s new subscription service is PlayStation Plus Extra, which will net you the same benefits as the Essential plan with an extra added benefit: a large library of games to play.
While specific games in the service are yet to be confirmed, Sony has teased that Extra subscribers will get access to a library of “up to” 400 PS4 and PS5 titles, including both first- and third-party releases, and these can be freely downloaded to consoles at any time. Given the £5/$5 difference between the Essential and Extra tiers, that’s not a bad trade-off – though it will depend on the games available at launch.
PlayStation Plus Premium
The top-end plan in Sony’s new offering is PlayStation Plus Premium, boasting a combination of PS Plus and PS Now including cloud gaming capabilities and even backwards compatibility.
While you won’t be able to play your own classic PlayStation games, Sony is offering the same 400-game PS4 and PS5 game library as the Extra tier along with an additional 340 PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and PSP games. Crucially, unlike the Extra tier, you’ll be able to cloud stream these titles to your console, negating the need to wait for the game to download – simply select it and play right away.
In regions where PS Now game streaming isn’t currently available, it’ll be dubbed PlayStation Plus Deluxe and it’ll come at a slightly cheaper monthly cost.
An additional benefit comes in the form of time-limited trials that’ll allow subscribers to try “select” games before they purchase.
Will the new PlayStation Plus get new games on release day?
There is an air of uncertainty about the games included as part of the subscription, with a list yet to be provided by Sony. One of the biggest features of Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate is the ability to play platform-exclusive titles at release for no extra cost, and it’s the big feature PlayStation gamers are hoping for too.
However, a GI.biz interview with SIE boss Jim Ryan from September 2020 suggests that might not be the case.
The PlayStation head said that a subscription-type model would be unsustainable for PlayStation Studios (which creates most PS platform exclusives) as the budgets quickly grow “well over $100 million”, and those comments were echoed by former PlayStation exec Shawn Layden earlier this summer.
Layden questions the long-term prospects of Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate business model, stating that “it’s very hard to launch a $120m game on a subscription service charging $9.99 a month”.
Doing the math, the former exec suggests that “you’re going to have to have 500 million subscribers before you recoup your investment” and explains that “if you only have 250 million consoles out there, you’re not going to get half a billion subscribers”.
That’s seemingly backed up by Sony itself, which outlined the kind of games you should expect on the service on the PlayStation Blog. “At launch, we plan to include titles such as Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal” – all games that are at least a year old, if not older.
The good news is that new content should be added fairly regular, with Sony “working closely with our imaginative developers from PlayStation Studios and third-party partners to include some of the best gaming experiences available with a library that will be regularly refreshed”.
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